Yoga for menopause

7 yoga remedies for menopause symptoms


Gillian McGhee
@AVogelUK


22 August 2017

How yoga can help menopause

Practicing yoga can help restore the nervous system and improve the functioning of the endocrine system. One study found that regularly practicing yoga can have a positive effect on menopausal women, it can help to stabilise symptoms such as hot flashes and sleep quality.Practicing yoga can help to balance out the fluctuating hormone levels that occur during the menopause.

7 yoga remedies for menopause symptoms

Hot flushes

Hot flushes are thought to be one of, if not the most common symptom of menopause affecting around 80% of women. Yoga has been shown to help relieve this symptom; one study found that practicing yoga resulted in a 66% decrease in hot flushes in menopausal women who were prone to 3 or 4 hot flushes a day.2

If you want to reduce hot flushes through yoga I’d recommend avoiding hot yoga for obvious reasons! Swap high intensity, heat building poses that involve core work in favour for more restorative cooling poses. Try using blankets, bolsters, and pillows to support your body which will encourage it to relax. 

Anxiety and irritability

Menopause is thought to cause anxiety as a result of fluctuations in hormone levels. Oestrogen is thought to play an important role in managing chemicals in the brain. As oestrogen levels drop during menopause symptoms of low mood and anxiety can occur. 

Forward folds can help to relieve anxiety as placing the head below the heart sends fresh oxygenated blood to the head which signals the brain to relax. Deep breathing exercises, particularly ones in which the exhale feels longer than the inhale, can help to counter stress and anxiety. 

Forward folds also increase blood flow to the organs in the pelvis. This increase in circulation provides the uterus with fresh, oxygenated blood which can help relieve pain from cramps as well as increase sex drive

Depression 

As with anxiety and irritability, depression can also arise as a result of hormonal fluctuations. Depression and low mood can also occur during menopause because it signals the end of child bearing years. 

When we are feeling sad or vulnerable our tendency is to curl in upon ourselves and make ourselves as small as possible. Practicing backbends counteracts this tendency by stimulating the nervous system through opening and stretching heart and entire front of the body.

Sleeplessness

Sleeping is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. To function at our best we need around 8-9 hours of sleep every night, anything less than that can have a negative impact our brain function, mood, and diet. Sleep problems and night sweats are common during menopause and can affect and aggravate other associated symptoms like fatigue and irritability.

Practicing yoga before going to bed relaxes tense muscles and calms the mind. A national survey found that 55% of people who practiced yoga found that it helped them get a better sleep and over 85% said it helped reduce stress.  It is better to practice a gentler, restorative flow before bed, that will help to relax you for good quality sleep. Check out Nestmaven’s playlist of the best yoga routines to practice for a good night’s sleep for some ideas!

Fatigue

Fatigue is another common symptom that menopause can cause. As well as the possibility of it being caused by fluctuating hormone levels, it can also be caused by lack of sleep and stress. 

When we sit and slump all day at a desk our spine can curl and we can compress our lungs meaning that we won’t be getting enough oxygen into our body. Practicing yoga poses that stimulate the body, particularly those that stretch the spine, can help to lengthen the body, improve circulation, and provide us with a boost of energy. Standing poses and backbends are good options to try to help fight fatigue.

Joint pain

Oestrogen is also an important hormone for our bone health, so when oestrogen levels begin to drop sore or stiff joints can occur. 

Yoga is a great way to maintain mobility in the body and counteract stiffness caused by menopause. For pain relief try using Atrogel which can help to reduce inflammation.

Other remedies for menopause symptoms

 Yoga is an excellent way to target specific menopause symptoms, but general exercise, healthy eating, and herbal remedies can also help you get through the more challenging phases. 

During menopause our levels of magnesium, chromium, and zinc, fall which can cause mood swings and fatigue. Increasing your intake of these minerals can help to relieve these symptoms. I’d recommend our Menopause Support tablets which are packed with magnesium and are designed to support you through all stages of the menopause.

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3976276/
2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4110168/
3 https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/8753-201512048753

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