Menopause is when the ovaries start to slow down their production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone, leading to many uncomfortable symptoms.
The good news is that yoga can help alleviate these menopause symptoms and promote overall health. Regular practice may stabilize weight, reduce blood pressure, improve mood, and aid in better sleep.
Several restorative yoga poses can help ease the symptoms of menopause. These postures are often associated with deep relaxation, which can reduce the intensity of common symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety, depression, mood swings, fatigue, and irritability.
A growing body of research supports the idea that yoga can be beneficial for women in menopause. It can reduce the frequency and intensity of these symptoms and improve the quality of life.
According to Petra Coveney, a yoga teacher and author of The Yoga Guide for Menopause: A Woman’s Essential Guide to Health and Well-Being, restorative yoga is beneficial for women in menopause because it helps to relieve stress. It can also reduce the physical symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, sweating, fatigue, and headaches.
One of the most restorative poses for menopause is Supta Virasana. This pose stretches the back, legs, and shoulders and promotes peace and calm.
To get into the pose, lie on your back with your legs slightly wider than your hips. Bring your torso over the top of your knees and rest your head on the floor or a bolster.
For even greater comfort, place a bolster or two rolled blankets over your lower back and legs to fully support the pose. If you don’t have a bolster or blankets on hand, you can use a couch cushion or another thicker object.
You can also practice this pose by rolling a blanket halfway underneath your feet. This will give you an extra layer of support, especially if you have a history of lower back problems or chronic pain in this area.
This is a great option if you’re having trouble lying on your back or want to do a more advanced version of the pose. It can also be a good choice for women who have arthritis in their hands or are struggling with stiff wrists.
If you are new to yoga or if you feel overwhelmed by the concept of “restorative” yoga, it is important to take it slow and go at your own pace. It is also important to listen to your body. If you experience any discomfort or pain while in a restorative posture, stop the pose and consult your doctor.
Inversions can be a powerful way to ease menopause symptoms by addressing imbalances of the endocrine system. These glands make estrogen, which keeps skin supple and hair thick. When estrogen levels drop after menopause, it can trigger a chain reaction that puts your pituitary, pineal, hypothalamus and thyroid glands out of balance.
To help bring the body back into equilibrium, yoga poses can encourage blood flow to these organs in a controlled manner. In addition to increasing oxygen and circulation, inversions can also help improve the health of your heart, brain, and kidneys, and help rebalance the flow of energy throughout your body.
Some inversions are particularly beneficial for women who are experiencing menopause because they can promote a sense of relaxation, lowering the stress response and easing hot flushes. For example, the legs up the wall pose is a gentle inversion that can be done before bed or in the middle of the night to calm you and promote restful sleep.
Another benefit of inversions is that they increase the amount of blood flowing through your feet and legs veins. This can help with swollen feet, varicose veins and even circulation problems from a job requiring you to be on your feet for long periods.
Inversions are also a great way to help with the fatigue and tiredness that often accompany menopause. Allowing fresh blood and oxygen to flow into your brain can help you stay focused on your practice and reduce feelings of fatigue.
The best way to take advantage of inversions’ many benefits is to practice regularly and build up slowly. This will help you develop the strength and confidence needed to do more advanced inversions safely.
As with any exercise, there are risks associated with inversions and a sustainable practice requires adherence to ahimsa (non-harming), sattva (balance) and harmony. Ahimsa is about taking responsibility for your actions and avoiding harming anyone, including yourself. It’s also about committing to your practice and being dedicated to it, allowing you to reap the benefits of your yoga practice for life.
Yoga doesn’t directly affect hormone production, but it is effective at reducing menopausal symptoms. Studies have found that women who practiced yoga at least three times a week for 12 weeks experienced reduced anxiety and stress levels, improved sleep quality, fewer hot flashes, and a higher-perceived level of health and well-being than those who did nothing.
Forward bends, especially standing forward fold poses and seated forward bends, quieten nerves and relax back muscles. They also help with indigestion, constipation, and abdominal bloating.
To avoid injury in a forward bend, it is best to stretch out the hamstrings before practicing these types of poses. This is because tight hamstrings often cause a strained back, which can lead to knee problems.
If you are experiencing back pain or stiffness, try incorporating preparatory poses that lengthen the hamstrings, like virabhadrasana II (warrior II), lizard lunge, pigeon pose, and figure four. You should also add some preparatory poses that lengthen the abductors and piriformis, which can be harder to reach but are vital to keeping the hamstrings open.
You should also practice standing forward bends to keep your hamstrings strong. Tight hamstrings can be a problem because they can pull your back down when you’re sitting or standing up. If you don’t address this, it can create a chain reaction that will lead to back issues and a variety of other problems.
Use a strap to ensure you’re not overstretching your hamstrings when practicing a standing forward bend. This can cause tears and hamstring strains in some people.
Some seated forward bends, such as paschimottanasana and janu shirshasana, are easier than standing because they don’t require you to bend your back. However, these poses should be done last in your sequence so that the body is prepared for them and has a sufficient range of motion to safely enter the pose.
The pelvic tilt is an essential aspect of forward bends that teachers can help students understand through demonstration, practice, and repetition. Without this movement, forward bends can’t be performed correctly.
Many women are familiar with the physical symptoms of menopause – hot flashes, night sweats, and fatigue – but emotional changes accompanying this stage can also be challenging to cope with. Symptoms can include mood swings, anger, irritability, and anxiety.
Mood swings can be a regular part of the menopause experience, but they can also cause stress and anxiety, leading to depression. If you feel extremely low, or you’re not able to enjoy your day-to-day life, it may be time to talk to a doctor.
You’re likely to understand better how your moods change and how they can be helped by keeping a symptom diary. This will help your doctor to decide if your symptoms are related to hormones or something more serious like depression and which treatment might work best for you.
Eating healthily and getting plenty of exercises can help to improve your mood. Taking a natural probiotic to ease menopause symptoms can benefit women over 40.
However, you should always check with your doctor or healthcare provider before changing your diet. They can advise what foods to eat and the most effective exercises to try.
A healthy diet rich in estrogen-like compounds called phytoestrogens, such as soybeans, lentils, and pulses, can reduce the number of menopausal symptoms. They can also increase the serotonin levels in your body, which is linked to mood.
It’s also vital to ensure you get plenty of sleep, as lack of sleep can affect your mood. You may be more prone to irritability and sadness if you’re unable to sleep well or are in the habit of waking up frequently.
Another way to keep your mood in check is by spending time with others. This can help improve your sense of connection and belonging and provide some much-needed emotional support. If you’re feeling isolated, round up some close friends and join a menopause support group online or in your local community.
Mood swings during perimenopause are caused by a reduction in the sex hormone progesterone, which is responsible for calming the brain and improving sleep. If you’re feeling down or anxious, getting some exercise and talking to friends can help lift your spirits.
Is it normal to experience mood swings during perimenopause?
Yes, it’s normal for women to experience mood swings during the years leading up to menopause. This is due to hormonal changes in the body as it transitions into menopause.
How can I manage my mood swings?
There are several ways to help manage your mood swings during perimenopause. Eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep and exercise, and spending time with friends can all help to improve your mood. You can also consider taking natural supplements such as probiotics or phytoestrogens, which may help reduce the number of menopausal symptoms. If your mood swings are severe or disruptive, it’s best to consult a doctor who can provide advice and treatment.
What other symptoms accompany mood swings during menopause?
In addition to mood swings, women may experience hot flashes, night sweats, and fatigue during perimenopause. Talking to a doctor about any changes in your mental or physical health is essential. They can help diagnose any underlying medical issues and determine your best treatment plan.
What are some natural remedies for mood swings?
Some natural remedies that may help reduce the severity of mood swings include eating a healthy diet that’s rich in phytoestrogens (such as soybeans, lentils, and pulses), taking a probiotic supplement, getting plenty of sleep and exercise, spending time with friends or joining a menopause support group, and reducing stress levels. Additionally, herbal remedies such as chamomile or valerian may help to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Talking to a healthcare professional about what natural treatments might be most beneficial for you is best.
Can menopause cause depression?
Although menopause can trigger depressive episodes, it is not the cause of depression itself. If you are feeling depressed during or after menopause, it may be helpful to discuss this with your doctor, who can advise on how best to manage your symptoms. They may also recommend trying lifestyle changes such as eating healthily, exercising regularly, getting plenty of restful sleep, and reducing stress levels to help manage any symptoms of depression. It is also essential to talk to your doctor if your mood swings become severe or disruptive. They can help diagnose any underlying medical issues and provide the necessary treatment.
What lifestyle changes can I make to improve my mood during menopause?
Lifestyle changes are an effective way to help improve your mood during menopause. Eating a balanced diet rich in phytoestrogens (such as soybeans, lentils, and pulses) may help reduce the number of menopausal symptoms. Additionally, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, reducing stress levels, and spending time with friends can all help lift your spirits. If you need extra support during this time, it may also be beneficial to join a menopause support group or speak with a therapist.
Can hormone therapy help reduce mood swings?
Hormone therapy (also known as HRT) can help reduce the severity of mood swings during perimenopause by supplementing the body’s natural hormones. Talking to your doctor before starting any hormone therapy is essential as there are potential risks involved. Your doctor can advise you on whether hormone therapy suits you and is the most effective treatment. They can also provide advice on other ways to manage your symptoms.