The benefits yoga brings subtly filter through into all aspects of life, enhancing and maintaining physical and emotional balance. It is this ability that yoga has to help maintain balance and induce a state of equilibrium that becomes invaluable during times of change.
During perimenopause, the balance of hormones shifts and as this happens it is not uncommon for symptoms including hot flushes, headaches, brain fog, irritability and depression to be experienced. Scientific studies reveal that not all women regard menopause as a difficult time. Higher levels of negative symptoms appear to have been recorded in western societies. Cross-cultural comparisons reveal there are corners of the globe where menopause is viewed as a positive experience. When it is viewed in a positive light fewer adverse symptoms are reported.
Many indigenous cultures embrace the changes that occur as the body transitions from menstruation to menopause. Some cultures believe that energy is preserved, the energy that is no longer required to grow new life is cultivated within, bringing much wisdom, knowledge and newfound levels of respect. Women of some cultures develop shamanistic skills, and others celebrate as their childbearing years are left behind. Menopause is a natural transition that occurs as the body ages; growing old is viewed by some cultures as a blessing, as elders are viewed as highly-respected members of the community.
Yoga, meditation and pranayama are also at the forefront of research revealing that these practices have a positive impact on both body and mind. By increasing positive connections within the brain and activating the relaxation response the benefits experienced could provide all the tools required to view this time of change in a more positive light. Yoga balances the endocrine system and enhances those ‘feel good’ hormones; it can calm a restless mind and aid sleep, reduce stress and anxiety and improve self-esteem. Developing a regular yoga practice is easy to do. Postures and techniques included should be achievable and performed safely, so the body is never pushed to the point of discomfort. The benefits yoga brings will support practitioners as they embrace the changes that are experienced as they move towards a new phase of life.
When life feels overwhelming, rolling out your yoga mat and practicing for just 15 minutes might be all that is needed to reset body and mind and embrace the day with a positive outlook. Yoga provides a holistic therapy that brings so many benefits; it is cost effective, drug-free and can be practiced by everyone.
Please remember to talk to a medical practitioner if symptoms appear worrying or unusual.