Menopause, Yoga, Mindfulness and You.

 In Clarity, mindfulness, Nina

Menopause and perimenopause can be a disconcerting experience. Fluctuating oestrogen and progesterone levels can trigger a myriad of uncomfortable symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and fatigue negatively impact the quality of life for millions of women around the world.

These symptoms can for some become debilitating and affect family life, relationships, work and health.

Germaine Greer said in her 1992 work The Change – “There is no rite of passage to surround the middle-aged woman with solemnity, no seclusion ordered for her. No special periods of rest, she cannot withdraw to a menopausal hut and sit and talk with other menopausal women. She simply has to tough it out and pretend that nothing is happening.”

Yoga, meditation and mindfulness can be powerful tools to help women turn menopause into a positive, empowering and liberating experience both physically and spiritually. Part of the freedom that the practice of yoga brings to women is the capacity to accept ourselves. Self acceptance is important, it is key to giving women their own deep sense as it emerges.

 “We say flowers blossom in the spring, and certainly that is true, but also sometimes in the autumn there are flowers blooming. It was like that for me, I could feel myself re-awakening” – Vanda Scaravelli.

Yoga and Mindfulness

The number of women who are realising that yoga can be a very good tool to reduce and often eliminate the discomforts of menopause are rising. The actual physical practice can help to balance hormones, whilst learning pranayama and cooling breathing techniques such as sitali breath can ease hot flushes.
Mindfulness may be associated with fewer menopause symptoms according to a Mayo clinic study recently published in Climacteric; The Journal of the International Menopause Society. Researchers discovered that being mindful may be especially helpful for menopausal women struggling with irritability, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness involves focusing attention on the present moment, being here, now, and observing thoughts and sensations without judgement. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness can reduce stress and improve quality of life.

First Steps

Essentially the first step in being mindful is to step back and become an observer. Don’t always rush forward on auto pilot. Create a small pause, focus on the breath and observe one’s own space, thoughts and emotions are processed without judgement. It has long been proven that sitting with and then changing negative thoughts and attitudes can dramatically change our outlook on life.

The benefits of mindfulness are well researched and include:
  • Lower cortisol levels
  • Better and deeper sleep patterns
  • Self compassion
  • A reduction in stress and anxiety
  • Reduce brain chatter
Yoga and mindfulness may not entirely remove the symptoms of menopause but it can help you deal with them in a calmer more compassionate way. Practicing self compassion and metta (compassion meditation) boosts mental health.

Listening to guided meditations, yoga nidra (yogic sleep) are a very powerful and simple way to introduce mindfulness into our very busy, hectic lives.

The only trust required is to know that when there is one ending there will be another beginning“- Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women who run with the Wolves, Myths and stories of the Wild Woman Archetype.
Guest blog written by Nina Rashid, yoga and meditation teacher.
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