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MENOPAUSE AND YOGA

INTRODUCTION

Menopause symptoms are part of a natural biological process experienced by all women as their child-bearing years come to an end. The transition can begin as early as the 30s and last even into the 60s. The symptoms of menopause are not an illness, just a natural consequence of aging. All women experience "the change" in different ways. Some will have no symptoms or only mild issues while others will battle a range of annoying alterations in their body like hot flashes or mood swings than can negatively affect their daily lives. Many women experience emotional symptoms during menopause. These symptoms may include sadness, anxiety and mood swings. For some women, symptoms can be severe.

MENOPAUSE
Woman's lives are deeply affected by the ebb and flow of their hormones-those mysterious and miraculous molecules that deliver vital messages via the bloodstream from one part of the body to another. Indeed, our lives are patterned by the cycles of nature, whether these are the changes of puberty, the monthly rhythms of our menstrual cycle or the passages of menopause. These changes have undisputed effects on our whole being. No woman can menstruate, give birth or cross the menopausal bridge without feeling these hormonal influences on her physical, emotional and psychological state. 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 recognizing 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.



YOGA AND MENOPAUSE

The Eastern traditions view menopause as a time of greater wisdom and deeper insight. It's a natural life transition, one to be embraced and celebrated. And yet, in Western culture, women often enter menopause feeling profoundly uncomfortable. Women who practice yoga have a different, more positive experience. Achieving hormonal balance during the menopausal years is essential to good health. Among the many benefits that set yoga apart from other forms of physical exercise is the effect yoga postures and breathing practices have not only on the muscles and bones of your body, but also on your organs and glands.

MENOPAUSE AND YOGA
The word Practicing yoga can help prevent or reduce the common symptoms that affect women specifically during the menopausal years by providing a form of treatment directed at the root causes that result in the breakdown of the healthy functioning of the body. Yoga's approach to health during menopause and beyond is based on the premise that the body should be allowed to function as efficiently, effectively and naturally as possible. On average, 1.5 million women each year begin to experience menopause after the age of 50.Nearly 85 percent have unpleasant symptoms such as interrupted or delayed sleep, night sweats, hot flashes, and anxiety. Although medical studies on the benefits of yoga are few, the majority conclude that performing yoga improves your quality of life. Many of these studies deal with particular subsets of the population, and the results overwhelming demonstrate that the practice is worth the effort.

YOGA POSES FOR MENOPAUSE

Dog Pose

The Dog Pose improves flexibility of your spine, stretches the hips and middle and low back, rejuvenates the body, and helps in preventing back problems. Take note that this Yoga Pose should not be performed if you have serious back pain or injury.

Child Pose

The Child Pose is a relaxation pose which is used to normalize the circulation after the Head Stand and to give a counter stretch to the spine after the backward bends. It is a resting pose that can be done to precede or follow any pose. Performing the Child Pose stretches the hips, thighs and ankles gently. It also helps relieve stress and fatigue, and calms the brain.

Standing Forward Bend Pose

Doing a Standing Forward Bend can completely stretch your upper and lower back as well as your calf muscles and legs. In addition, it can help increase the flow of brain in the brain.

Simple Meditation Technique

This Meditation process is good to induce relaxation response and promotes a peaceful and relaxed mind. Meditation has also been scientifically proven to have health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and aiding the asthmatics in their breathing.

Leg Lock Pose

Pavanan means wind and Muktha means escape or relief. Pavanamukhtasana is aimed at releasing gas accumulated in abdomen and at joints. This exercise is a good treatment for gastritis and vata related pain and for varicose pain. This asana strengthens muscles of abdomen. It gives strength and flexibility to backbone and muscles at back and lower back

Bridge Pose

The Bridge Pose is also known as Setu Bandhasana which means construction of a bridge. It came from the words "setu" meaning bridge, "bandha" meaning lock, and "asana" meaning posture. Setu Bandhasana is effective in promoting relaxation and reducing stress. It helps to promote a healthy flexible spine while strengthening the legs and buttock muscles.

Kapalabhati

Kapalabhati is a Breathing Technique used specifically for cleansing. If you have a lot of mucus in the air passages or feel tension and blockages in the chest it is often helpful to breathe quickly.

Relaxation Pose

There are three parts to proper relaxation - physical, mental and spiritual relaxation. Relaxation Yoga Pose relaxes your body and mind, and makes you feel refreshed after doing the asanas and the pranayamas.This is why it is an essential part of Yoga practice.

YOGA ASANAS FOR MENOPAUSE

SUPTABADDHAKONASANA

SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA
This supremely nourishing pose is essential for replenishing energy reserves during the menopause transition. This pose places the abdomen, uterus, ovaries and vagina in a position that frees these areas of constriction and tension that inhibit balanced hormonal activity. Blood flow is directed into the pelvis, bathing the reproductive organs and glands and helping to balance hormone function. The centering, balancing effect of this pose helps reduce mood swings and depression.

Steps

• Sit on your heels with your knees on the floor, about hip-width apart.

• Place a bolster or two folded blankets in front of you and lean forward until your torso and head are completely supported.

• Turn your head to one side.

• Give yourself several minutes to relax and feel the soothing effect of the pose.

• Remember to breathe softly, slowly, and truly "hug" your bolster.

• Allow yourself to sink into the bolster, relax and let go. Turn your head the opposite way before sitting up.


SETUBANDHASANA

SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA
Supported Bridge Pose helps regulate and balance blood pressure. Women are more prone to elevated blood pressure when the protective effect of estrogen is withdrawn. As you stay in the pose, feel the effect deep inside the whole belly area. The effect of dropping the belly, uterus and ovaries in the pelvic bowl helps to balance the hormonal secretions and thus helps ease the hormonal fluctuations of menopause.

Steps

• Lie down in Shavasana posture. Raise your knees and bring your feet nearer to the hips keeping them apart. Keep your hands near the thighs.

• While inhaling, raise your hips and hands upwards simultaneously. Keep your hands over your head on the floor.

• Bring back your hands and hips to the original position while exhaling. Repeat three to four times and relax.


SARVANGASANA

SARVANGASANA
It brightens the psychic faculties and awakens Kundalini Sakti, removes all sorts of diseases of intestine and stomach, and augments the mental power. It supplies a large quantity of blood to the roots of spinal nerves. The muscles of the abdomen, the rectic muscles and the muscles of the thigh are also toned and nourished well. Obesity or corpulence and habitual chronic constipation, Gulma, congestion and enlargement of the liver and spleen are cured by this Asana.

Steps

• Lie on the back quite flat. Slowly raise the legs.

• Lift the trunk, hips, and legs quite vertically. Support the back with the two hands, one on either side. Rest the elbows on the ground. Press the chin against the chest.

• Allow the back-shoulder portion and neck to touch the ground closely. Do not allow the body to shake or move to and fro. Keep the legs straight.

• When the Asana is over, bring the legs down very, very slowly with elegance and not with any jerks.

• In this Asana the whole weight of the body is thrown on the shoulders. You really stand on the shoulders with the help and support of the elbows.

• Retain the breath as long as you can do with comfort, and slowly exhale through the nose.


VIPARITAKARANI

VIPARITA KARANI
This is a wonderful yoga position that few of us take the time to do and most of us need. Much of the yoga currently practiced here in the US is active and often very vigorous. Yoga stresses the Importance of balancing these yang (active) poses with yin (passive) poses. Legs-Up-The-Wall pose fits the bill perfectly. It is a gentle inversion that helps to relieve the effects of stress by soothing the nervous system, increasing circulation and allowing the mind to calm. It is especially great for people who spend too much time sitting and standing since it relieves swelling and fatigue in the legs and feet by reversing the effects of gravity.

Steps

• Place a bolster or two folded blankets about 2 inches away from the wall

• Sit sideways on the bolster so your right hip and side are touching the wall. With the bolster under your bottom, lower yourself back, using the support of your elbows and forearms, and swivel around to take your right leg and then your left leg up the wall.

• Stay in the pose for 10 minutes or longer. If you are tired, it is natural to fall asleep in this pose.

• When you are ready to come out, bend your knees, turn to your side, and relax on the floor for a few more breaths before you slowly sit up.


ADHOMUKHASVANASANA

ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA
The Downward Facing Dog Pose builds up strength in the upper arms and rejuvenates the entire body. Though it is an exercise in itself, this pose is often used in between other exercises. Check out this section and learn how a Downward Facing Dog Pose is done.

Steps

• From Supported Child's Pose, come to your hands and knees.

• Bring your knees back in line with your hips and place your hands on either side of the front edge of the bolster.

• Position your feet hip width apart, curl your toes under, press your hands firmly into the mat and, on an exhalation, straighten your legs so that your body forms the shape of a dog stretching.

•  When you come down, separate your knees and come back to Supported Child's Pose.


ASTROLOGY

Yoga is an adaptive discipline that can support the body through the myriad of biological changes it is making. Importantly, it can also support our minds and emotions, and allow us to come to a perspective on the inner processes that are happening. According to astrological reports for yoga asanas the above mentioned asanas are said to be effective for those who come under the following zodiac sign

• LIBRA

• CAPRICORN

• AQUARIUS

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