Peri-menopause is an intense period of transition in a woman's life. Many women can experience symptoms like irregular or heavy periods, hot flashes, anxiety and depression, brain fog, and more, due to changes in hormones. Although society and many healthcare providers believe these symptoms are the result of low oestrogen levels, the reality is that higher and erratic estradiol levels combined with lower progesterone levels are the cause. The great news is that yoga can do wonders for easing these symptoms.
Here are my favourite yoga poses for peri-menopause: (Always check with your healthcare provider before attempting any exercise regime).
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Eases brain fog, improves memory, increases bone density, increases oxygen to the brain, and enhances alertness.
Ground down through the outer edges of the standing foot
Squeeze the arms and legs together for balance
Sit back on your hips
Engage your core by pulling your belly button to spine
Sink deeper into the hips to deepen the pose
Draw the arms up slightly and draw the shoulder blades together
Draw the shoulders down away from the ears and lengthen up through the spine.
Bound Angle (Baddha Konansana)
Stretches the pelvic muscles, cools the body, reduces hot flashes, promotes relaxation, calms the adrenal glands and regulate hormones.
Sit on the floor with legs outstretched in front of you.
Keep your chest broad and open
Draw your shoulders down your back as you lengthen up
Press firmly down through your sit bones
Pull your heels in towards your pelvis
Draw your chest closer to your feet.
A Restorative yoga version can be substituted for this pose.
Reclining Bound Angle
Lie flat on the floor with your feel on the floor and your knees bent.
Open your knees away from each other and allow them to fan out to either side.
Allow your feet to roll to their outer edges and press the bottoms of your feet together.
Place yoga blocks or rolled blankets under your knees if you need support or feel any strain on your hip or knee joints.
Seated Straddle (Upavistha Konasana)
Helps reduce heavy bleeding by lifting and toning the uterus. It also increases circulation and stretches hamstrings, which are often the culprit of low-back pain.
Sit on the mat with your legs extended in front of you
Keep your spine long to avoid hunching over
Move your right leg out to the right and your left leg out the the left.
Draw your shoulders down and away from the ears
Keep your knees soft without locking them
Gently fold over from the hips until you can rest your hands on the floor. You can use an upright yoga block under your arms or hands if you’re not yet flexible enough to touch the floor or if you want extra support.
Press down evenly into your hip bones
Promotes energy, vitality, and feelings of joy.
Lie on your stomach with your legs long and arms under your elbows
press firmly into the tops of your feet and point your toes straight back
Firm your quariceps
Press down into the palms of your hand and work to straighten the arms
Turn your elbow creases forward and externally rotate the arm bones
Slide your shoulders down your back away from your ears
Lift your lower belly in and up to support the lower back
Restorative Yoga Version can be substituted if you have lower back issues or tight lower back muscles.
Lie on your stomach with your legs long and your arms by your sides.
Bring your elbows under your shoulders and allow your palms to rest flat on the floor.
Press your pelvis down into the floor to release tension in your low back and glutes.
Press your chest forward as you lift it up.
Keep your neck and spine aligned as you look straight ahead.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Calms the brain and helps relieve stress. It also relaxes the body, reduces headache, fatigue, and insomnia, and helps to lower blood pressure.
Lie flat on your back
Legs are spread comfortable apart
Unclench your jaw
Allow your arms to rest comfortable away from your body
Allow your feet to fall open gently
Keep your palms relaxed and open towards the sky
Soften the muscles in your face
Allow all the muscles in your body to completely relax
Stay in this pose for 7 minutes (one minute to fully get in pose, 5 minutes of resting, one minute to begin awakening your body)
Some studies have shown that peri-menopausal women who practice yoga report an overall better quality of life, including improved sexual function, less hot flashes, decreased anxiety, better sleep, and fewer depressive episodes. The old saying "move it or lose it" rings true, by keeping your body moving, you can helps improve circulation, regulate mood, strengthen your body, and promote restful sleep.