Menopause is a natural and inevitable phase that every woman experiences as she ages. It marks the end of reproductive life and along with it comes a range of uncomfortable and often challenging bodily changes.
Fortunately, Yoga for Menopause can help ease the transition of perimenopause and alleviate many of the symptoms associated with Menopause.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of Yoga for Menopause and share 9 Yoga for Menopause poses that are especially beneficial for menopausal symptoms, which include but are not limited to: hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue, weight gain, and reduced bone density.
6 Benefits of Yoga for Menopause
#1: Reduces Stress and Anxiety, Alleviates Mood Swings
Menopause can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing time, as it marks a significant life transition. Practicing Yoga for Menopause can reduce stress, anxiety, and mood swings by promoting relaxation through breathing (pranayama), practicing poses and meditation.
This is because practicing Yoga reduces cortisol, the hormone that is released in response to stress, and increase levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps regulate mood.
#2: Improves Sleep Quality
Insomnia and disrupted sleep are common complaints experienced by women as they transition into menopause.
Yoga for Menopause can help improve sleep quality by reducing stress and promoting relaxation. Various studies have shown that practicing Yoga regularly can improve sleep duration and quality, as well as reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
#3: Reduces Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are one of the most common and bothersome symptoms of menopause. Yoga for Menopause can help reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes by promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
Yoga poses that involve forward folds and gentle inversions can also help regulate body temperature and reduce the intensity of hot flashes.
#4: Promotes Bone Health, combating Osteoporosis & Risk of Fractures
Menopause is associated with a loss of bone density, which can lead to an increased risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
Yoga for Menopause can help promote bone health by increasing strength, balance, and flexibility. Weight-bearing yoga poses such as Warrior II, Triangle, and Tree pose can help build bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.
#5: Increases Energy and Stamina
Fatigue and decreased energy levels are common during Menopause. Yoga for Menopause can help increase energy and stamina by promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
Yoga poses that involve backbends, such as Camel pose and Cobra pose, can help open the chest and increase lung capacity, which can increase energy levels.
#6: Promotes Weight Management
Weight gain is a common complaint during menopause, as hormonal changes can make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
Yoga for Menopause can help promote weight management by increasing muscle mass, which can increase metabolism and burn calories.
Yoga can also help reduce stress and emotional eating, which can contribute to weight gain.
10 Yoga for Menopause Poses
1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Child’s pose is a gentle yoga pose that can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. It’s a great pose to do before bed to help calm the mind and prepare for sleep.
To do Child’s pose, start on your hands and knees with your toes touching. Sit back on your heels and stretch your arms forward, lowering your forehead to the mat. Take deep, slow breaths and allow your body to relax.
2. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Standing Forward Bend is a gentle inversion that can help regulate your body temperature and reduce the intensity of hot flashes. It can also help stretch the hamstrings and reduce stress and anxiety.
To do Standing Forward Bend, stand with your feet hip-distance apart and fold forward, hinging at the hips. Allow your head and neck to relax and hold the pose for several deep breaths.
3. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Bridge pose is a gentle backbend that can help increase energy and stamina. It also strengthens the legs, buttocks, and lower back.
To do Bridge pose, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat. Place your heels as close to your buttocks as possible and then press your feet into the mat and lift your hips up, keeping your shoulders and feet firmly on the mat.
Underneath your lifted body, bring your hands as close as you can. If you can interlace your fingers, then clasp them together. Lift your pelvic area as high as possible, stay on the tops of your shoulders, and use your arms as support by pressing into the mat.
Lengthen your chin away from your neck and maintain steady breaths in and out. Hold for several deep breaths, then as you exhale, slowly lower back down to your Yoga mat.
4. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Warrior II is a weight-bearing yoga pose that can help promote bone health and increase muscle mass. It also strengthens the legs and hips.
To do Warrior II, step your feet wide apart and turn your left foot out to the side. Bend your left knee as your press down through the outer corner of your right foot. Extend your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor, and let your drishti focus in the direction where your left index finger is pointing. Hold for several deep breaths and then switch sides.
5. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Tree pose is a balance pose that can help promote bone health and increase strength and flexibility in the legs and hips. It can also help improve focus and concentration.
To do Tree pose, stand with your feet together and shift your weight onto your left foot. Place your right foot on the inside of your left thigh and balance. You can bring your palms together in Anjali mudra close to your heart chakra, or lift you arms above to frame the sides of your ears, whichever is accessible to you.
Hold for several deep breaths and then switch sides.
6. Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Wide-legged forward fold strengthens and stretches the inner and back legs and the spine, tones the abdominal muscles and relieves back pain, headaches and fatigue.
To do Wide-legged forward fold, begin by standing on your mat sideways. Next, step your legs apart around three feet away from each other. Place your hands on your hips and slowly hinge forward from your hips.
Start by only going as far as forming a 90-degree angle with your upper body and hips.
Release your arms and if possible, interlace them together behind your back. If your hands don’t reach, use your belt, tie, towel, or yoga strap.
As you interlace your fingers, begin slowly moving the rest of your upper body closer to your mat so that your head reaches towards the midpoint between your feet while you keep reaching your arms up to the sky. Stay for a few steady breaths, then slowly rise up to standing with your next inhale.
7. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Cobra pose is a gentle backbend that can help increase lung capacity and improve energy levels. It also strengthens the upper back and neck.
To do Cobra pose, lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Roll your shoulders back, press into your hands, and lift your chest up, keeping your shoulders down. Squeeze your elbows into the sides of your ribs and keep rolling your shoulders back as you stretch the front of your chest and maintain a steady gaze looking forwards.
Maintain a steady breath as you hold the pose for a few breaths, then slowly lower your body to rest on your Yoga mat. Take a few breaths here before transitioning to your next pose.
8. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Seated Forward Bend is a gentle yoga pose that can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. It also stretches the hamstrings and lower back.
To do Seated Forward Bend, sit with your legs extended in front of you. Inhale to lengthen your spine, and exhale to fold forward, hinging at the hips. Let your arms frame the sides of your body, and allow your head and neck to relax while you maintain this position for several deep breaths.
When you feel ready to come out from the pose, inhale to lengthen your spine away from your lengths as you raise your arms up. Exhale to slowly release your arms down.
9. Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Reclining Bound Angle Pose decreases tension in your muscles and body, and relieves fatigue, and stress while stretching the inner thighs, groins, and knees.
Prepare 2 Yoga blocks, place one so it is the tallest, the second so it is long. Bend both knees, and gently, back facing the blocks, lower yourself using the support of your hands so your thoracic spine rests on the second block and the back of your head rests on the first.
Allow your knees to open out but keep your feet together, coming into a butterfly position in your lower body. Stay for 3 – 5 minutes or as long as you wish, then slowly release.
Yoga For Menopause: Concluding Thoughts And Tips
In conclusion, Yoga can be a valuable tool for you to navigate Menopause. Yoga for Menopause can help reduce stress, improve sleep quality, and alleviate many of the symptoms associated with menopause, including hot flashes, mood swings, and fatigue.
Remember, your experience with Menopause is unique, and what works for someone else may not work for you.
If you have any medical conditions or concerns, be sure to consult your healthcare provider before starting a Yoga for Menopause routine or exercise program.
With consistent practice, Yoga for Menopause can be an effective and empowering way to navigate the changes of menopause and promote your physical, emotional, mental and overall health and wellbeing.