top of page

4 Ways Yoga Can Help with a Healthy, Happy Menopause Transition

Can yoga really help with menopause and post-menopause health? Short answer - yes! Read on for some straightforward, and some not so expected science-backed ways that yoga can help with a healthy, happy menopause transition AND support your health in post-menopause



Menopause yoga Weston-supre-Mare


Anxiety

Yoga has been shown to have a positive effect on alleviating anxiety in peri and post-menopausal women.


Oestrogen provides us with a buffer against stress in our fertile years. As oestrogen decreases in the menopause transition period, a great many women experience increased anxiety which can persist into later life. Anxiety can make us feel physically and mentally unbalanced and disconnected. After menopause, we have only 3% of the oestrogen we had prior to peri-menopause.


A gentle, nurturing yoga practice with paced breathing will help to trigger the release of our feel-good hormones and help rebalance our nervous system.


Takeaway practice:

👉 Slowing down the breath to about 5 - 7 breaths per minute has been shown to calm anxiety in menopausal women. Take care not to strain your breath, concentrate on taking a fuller breath and draw the breath into your lower ribs, side body and upper chest so you have more breath when it comes to a longer exhale. If it feels agitating, stop and take a rest. Be gentle and avoid trying too hard.


Insomnia

Yoga has some wonderfully effective insomnia cures for you if you are getting a little too familiar with 3am 🥱


We are feeling anxious and it's interrupting our sleep, along with our plummeting progesterone which used to help us snooze until morning. Poor sleep can then contribute to anxiety, so it becomes a vicious circle of grogginess. One key to ensuring a restful sleep is in stimulating the vagus nerve which is a direct highway to the parasympathetic nervous system, or "rest and digest" response. Yoga is a highly effective way of stimulating the vagus nerve with breath work, mantra and postures that instill calm in this way.


Takeaway practice: 


👉 Abdominal breathing. Place your hands on your belly and breathe gently tinto your lower abdomen with a soft but full breath for 5 - 10 minutes. Click HERE for a guided practice.


Brain Fog and Neurological Health

Menopause is a critical time for brain health. As our brain chemistry changes radically, yoga can help us improve cognition and future-proof neurological health.


One of the most common symptoms of menopause is that feeling that you are thinking through treacle. The thinking process feels sluggish and when you reach for a word you are surprised to find that it isn't there any more, or that it's obscured behind the fog. Additionally, women's brains become more susceptible to neurological diseases like Alzheimers after menopause, due to the increased risk of amyloid plaques occurring in the brain. Thankfully, there is plenty that yoga can help with to improve cognition and overall brain health.


Fact: the brain benefits more from solving physical problems such as coordination skills and increased load-bearing than it does from solving mental problems such as sudoku and crosswords. Incorporating novel movement and sequences into your yoga practice, and practising longer holds in postures will help to recruit more neurons and benefit your brain in the short and long-term.


Another big plus for our cognition in menopause when we practise yoga, is the benefits of stress-reduction. When we are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, our overall cognitive ability, including the ability to make good decisions, reduces. Yoga can help us to experience more mental clarity and space.


Takeaway Practice


👉 Practise the Sa Ta Na Ma mantra for brain health, recommended by the Alzheimers Society. As you slowly and silently say the syllables Sa Ta Na Ma, touch your thumbs lightly to the forefingers, middle fingers, ring fingers then pinky fingers starting with "Sa" touching the index. Repeat 10 - 20 times.


Happy Joints

When it comes to solutions for healthy, happy joints, yoga takes home all the prizes. Joints love to move, especially they love to rotate so that the synovial fluid can be moved around the joint, creating that lovely slide and glide that we want to maintain into later life.


How we miss oestrogen when it goes! Misleadingly known as a "sex hormone", we have oestrogen receptors everywhere in the body, making it the life and soul of the happy body party. As it sharply declines in menopause, we experience changes in all the body systems, including the joints. If you have achy, stiff joints in menopause, you are not alone and there is something you can do. Firstly, let go of any physically punishing stretch practice that you did before. It never was good for you and now you can kiss it goodbye and welcome in a gentle joint practice. Overstretching can result in injury, harming and stressing our joints rather than helping them stay flexible. The best thing you can do is a gently dynamic practice for joints, aiming for pleasure over achievement.


Takeaway Practice


👉 Put some music on, or just do this while you're waiting for the kettle to boil or between times in the house. Circle all of your joints in turn, starting with rolling your head from side to side. Move slowly and in a way that feels good. Avoid pain. Move onto rolling your shoulders, then wrists, rotate your spine from side to side, circle your legs and your ankles. Finally, have a really good shake out and a big loud sigh. If women had invented the sun salutation, this is what it would look like 🧘‍♀️


Join Our Community


If you would like to join a group of like-minded women taking control of their health and happiness through menopause and beyond you can find us on Facebook. in the Feel Better in Menopause Facebook group, we share tips, inspiration, stories and resources for staying well and connected.





Shall we practice together?





Join me for Yoga for Menopause weekly online Mondays 7.15 - 8.15pm. Our yoga is designed to nurture the female body from peri into post-menopause. We focus on building muscle and bone mass, brain health, nervous system reset and pelvic floor health. Each month we welcome a special guest speaker who will talk about an aspect of women's health and invite questions.


Work with me one to one. Ask about my menopause health programmes which are tailored to your needs and include yoga, mindfulness, exercise and, optionally, nutrition with my associate nutritional therapist Zillah Smart.



2 comments

2 Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Love this information! Thank you Morven 😊

Like
Replying to

Thanks Niccy I'm glad it was helpful!

Like
bottom of page