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4 yogic techniques to manage menopause
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4 yogic techniques to manage menopause

Menopause need not be a dreadful experience, if you get started with yoga
women doing yoga
Representational image| Shutterstock

Menopause is a natural transition in every woman’s life. Each woman’s experience of menopause is unique. Some may glide through this transition and never show any symptoms. For some, it can bring about certain hormonal changes.

“The mood swings become evident, and there can be increased fatigue, disrupted sleep, and changes in eating habits. The body may also undergo physical changes, possibly leading to weight gain. Some people might get diabetes, arthritis or other age-related conditions during the menopausal stage,” observes Gayathri Devaraj, a yoga therapist from Bengaluru.

Yoga during transition

“All these symptoms can be addressed through certain yoga practices,” says Devaraj. She highly recommends tailoring the yoga practice to align with specific body needs and comfort levels. In fact, in a randomised controlled trial on the effects of yoga on menopausal symptoms, yoga was observed to be effective and safe in reducing menopausal symptoms.

Regular yoga practice helps maintain flexibility and physical strength. Certain yoga poses and breathing exercises can help regulate body temperature and reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes. It can improve sleep quality as well.

Prioritising relaxation, flexibility, and overall well-being becomes important from pre-menopausal to post-menopausal stages, typically occurring between the ages of 42 and 60. Says Devraj, “For those who have not practised yoga before, there will come a point of time in life where they recognise the need to prioritise self-care. That is when they should take up yoga seriously.”

Begin with breath

Learn pranayama (conscious breathing) and try to focus solely on the inhalation and exhalation. This not only helps calm the mind, but also cleanses the nadi (internal energy channels of the body) and the respiratory system.

According to Devaraj, pranayama helps balance mood variations. Nadi shuddhi pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) and brahmari (humming bee breathing) are typically the safest practices during the menopausal transition period.

Gradual progression

Yoga does not have to start with complicated asanas. In fact, it should not. Start out with simple stretches and gradually move on to surya namaskar (sun salutation), chandra namaskar (moon salutation) and other advanced asanas (yogic poses). This approach is good, whether or not you are in your menopausal phase, says Devraj. The same principle holds for meditation; approach it as a gradual add-on practice to pranayama and asanas.

Best time to practise

Devaraj explains that the ideal time to practise is on an empty stomach, either in the morning or early in evening, for at least half an hour, if not an entire hour. If you are short on time, then, do it for 20 minutes; start with a few stretches and finish with basic pranayama.

Illustration by Dr Vishnupriya Warrier

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