Perimenopause and menopause can come with a variety of symptoms, changes, or pains. Those going through these life stages have reported feeling weird, crazy, out of their bodies and more. A yoga practice can help combat and alleviate some common menopause grievances.
Here are some of the ways you can practice yoga for menopause symptoms and pains.
1. Hot Flashes
Learn the Sitali pranayama, or cooling breath. Technically, sitali breath work uses a curled tongue. Tongue curling is a genetic trait and some of us can do it and some of us cannot. If you are not a tongue curler, do not fret; just purse your lips instead.
To practice sitali pranayama, inhale through your curled tongue and open mouth as if pulling air inward through a straw, and lift your chin slightly. Close your mouth at the top of your inhale and then exhale through your nose.
2. Increased Irritability
Practice postures that are heart openers, chest openers, and backbends. If intense backbends are not in your repertoire, that's okay. Gentle and restorative heart openers will work just as well.
Poses such as Warrior I, Bridge pose, Camel pose, Cow pose, Cobra pose and similar poses where you are broadening across your collar bones, and shining forward from your heart will help to decrease your irritability with the world. Heart-opening poses help to increase empathy, decrease frustrations, and increase patience.
3. Weight Gain
Try a yoga practice that is faster paced and more energetic and vigorous. Classes labeled as “flow” or “vinyasa” may be just the thing to get your heart rate up in a more aerobic zone.
Of course if you are physically fit and active you may also want to take a “power” yoga class, which is sure to keep your heart rate elevated and in an aerobic zone for some weight loss. You may also find a class—although more rarely offered—that incorporates light weight training with yoga asana.
4. Increased Anxiety
Try a breathing technique that has successively increasing exhale lengths. Start with a simple inhale for a count of four, and exhale for the same count of four. Find this pattern first.
Then, extend your exhale to a five-count for a few breaths. Then perhaps a six-count. Longer exhales are known to activate the peripheral nervous system, the part of the nervous system responsible for relaxation—in particular, after a fight or flight response.
This longer-exhale pranayama will help to alleviate extra anxiety. Be careful to listen to your body, though, because if you push yourself to exhale for too lengthy a time, you may activate your sympathetic nervous system and cause more anxiety.
What other tips would you add to this list?