METAMORPHOSES OF MENOPAUSE
Yoga to help you through the metamorphoses of menopause. By SueYen Wan
As a woman moves into the menopause, often referred to as the ‘Autumn’ stage of life, so many metamorphoses unravel, not only in the physical body and mind, but quite often with a yearning for a deeper spiritual connection.
Yoga practices sit under a broad umbrella of offerings to support this unique time of life. Even as a complete beginner to yoga, there is something for all and every menopause symptom. As the saying goes: It’s never too late to look inwards! Taking a fresh outlook on yoga and engaging in a daily practice during the menopause can play a major part in everyday life to help manage and ease the physical and psychological symptoms that menopause presents.
A few of the more common symptoms we hear about include trouble with sleep, weight gain and the loss of confidence. Menopause Yoga ‘hacks’ as I like to refer to the practice sometimes, can perhaps include a specific breathing exercise or a journey of visualisation to help still the body and mind whilst twisting and turning in the middle of the night. A targeted posture, such as a plank pose not only helps with improving bone density but also tones the tummy and arms, addressing weight gain and osteoporosis. And just for a moment, sit back and think about all the articles and news feeds you’ve come across over the years relating to Olympic athletes priming with breathing and meditation exercises before an event. Menopause Yoga adopts these same, effective priming principles when it comes to managing some of the psychological menopause symptoms that surface during the Autumn years.
There is no predicting how your body will react to the hormonal changes taking place but it is certainly a significant journey that your body will embark upon without a doubt. However, menopause is not purely just about physical symptoms, it is much more complex than that. And navigating the transformation of menopause could be an opportunity where women can delve deeper and connect to their inner spirituality. Maybe a discovery of linking your menopause symptoms to an unresolved trauma or childhood drama. Perhaps, it is the perfect opportunity to incorporate a regular daily meditation practice and discover what unravels and reveals. For seasoned and experienced yogis, does this mean we need to change our approach to yoga completely? Giving up inversions, back drops and contorting the body into pretzel shapes? Not necessarily. If you’re a yogi who enjoys that feeling of a sweaty, juicy, dynamic flow, keep with that. A dynamic practice will help maintain your bone strength and will help with weight management and, of course, provide that up-lift in mood from the feel-good hormones surging through your body. However, by branching out to embrace and respect this Autumn menopause phase, you can also benefit from a restorative and healing effect on the body, mind and spirit. Engaging in a slower-paced stretch class can nourish the physical body and vital organs and can support adrenal exhaustion.
A daily meditation and breathing exercises could also make the difference to having a spring in your step as opposed to dragging your feet through the day. As with all habitual practices, if we embed a few Menopause Yoga hacks into our cellular muscle memory, we can call upon these for support in our times of need. For example, when experiencing a hot flush, if you engage the menopause hack of breathing and visualisation — and your body and mind is well versed in the technique — it could possibly help minimise the effects during an episode. With the unpredictable oestrogen fluctuation, Menopause Yoga could be a valuable and powerful practice well worth investing time into, helping you navigate the Autumn menopause stage of life with renewed confidence and appreciation. Try it and see.
SueYen Wan is in the midst of her Autumn years and is the founder of ‘Triple Goddess Yoga’, a platform designed specifically and dedicated to menopausal women