Yoga and Menopause
Taken from International Light The Official Journal of the International Yoga Techers Association. Issue July - Sept 1999 www.iyta.org.au Provided to me by my Local Yoga Teacher Rosalie Kershaw
In many cultures, the changes in women at menstruation, childbirth and menopause are treated as a time for celebration. Unfortunately, menopause in the west is seen more as a time for decline, rather than recognising this time in our lives as a time of change into deepening power and wisdom. View this stage in your life as a time of new awareness and broadening your personal development.
Menopause occurs between the ages of 40 and 50 and is considered to commence after the last menstruation. Symptoms of hot flushes, sweats. depression, nervousness, loss of self esteem and sudden mood changes often accompany the diminishing levels of oestrogen in the body.
When the body stops producing reproductive hormones, the adrenal glands start to produce an alternative source. However, due to our stressful western life Style, the adrenal glands are often unable to function in this way and supplements may be necessary.
Often, natural means can be found to bring the body back into balance. I have listed some suggestions below, but see a naturopath, homoeopath or your doctor, as each individual differs in her needs.
- Many women have found that naturopathic combination of medicinal herbs have been helpful.
- Visit a naturopath or homoeopath to discuss your particular case.
- If this doesn't relieve your symptoms, see your doctor about hormone therapv.
- Loss of bone density due to loss of oestrogen means you need to increase your calcium intake.
- Eat calcium rich food such as cabbage, sesame seed, broccoli, brussel sprouts, tahini etc
- Cut down on "bone robbers": the acid forming foods such as alcohol, smoking and as in 11.
- Maintain healthy bones by regular weight bearing exercise eg. walking and standing yoga asanas.
- Take up some sort of artistic expression such as gardening, drawing, dancing. painting. singing.
- Creative expression may correct the temporary imbalance you feel during menopause.
- Energies trapped in the sacral areas may need some form of expression, so lift those energies up.
- For fluid retention cut out salt, junk food, sugar, caffeine.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Alternate nostril breathing will help to balance the body's energies.
- Accept this time in your life as a new beginning for a wiser, more mature you.
Supplements of vitamins often help to relieve the symptoms of menopause. Work with your natural healing practitioner to suit your individual needs. Generally accepted as useful supplements are; Vit E, Vit B group vitamins especially B5 and B6, Vit C, lecithin, ginseng.
For depression., try Vit D, A, and B3 Other herbs include Agnus Castus, Dong Quai, Lady's Mantle, Valerian, etc. You may find hormone balancing properties homoeopathically.
Asanas to Stimulate The Reproductive Area
All Inversions and postures to stimulate the adrenals and the reproductive organs are helpful.
Please consult a yoga teacher or reference book for more information on how to do these exercises properly to get the maximum benefit.
Written by Nadia MacLeod