Yoga and Menopause
Having just watched an very good public television special called Menopause and Beyond with Dr. Christiane Northrup made me reflect on one of the most common questions asked by female yoga students: can doing yoga help with menopause?
I can answer positively, not only as an experienced yoga instructor but also as a post-menopause woman. And I can honestly say that my menopause was probably as pleasant as it was because of my regular yoga practice. That’s right, I not only said post-menopausal, but also pleasant!
First, knowing that the women in my family tended to go through menopause in their early 40’s helped me recognize some of the subtle changes I noticed, probably as early as age 37 even. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no normal age, and that the range is actually quite wide; from mid-30’s to mid-60’s! The best predictor may actually be when your mother experienced her menopausal years.
Second, I never bought the fright campaign created by (male) doctors and the media about what happens during menopause. My hot flashes actually felt quite sexy. And I refused to go on hormone replacement therapy. I did have to reassess my diet, for example, adding fish and eliminating most alcohol.
But also I was changing on a much deeper level. it was exactly at the onset of menopause that I fully immersed myself in yoga as a way of life. Not only was I a regular practitioner, I stepped into a new role as full time yoga teacher and scholar, opening a yoga studio and returning to graduate studies.
You can say I put that fire to very good use!
I am very aware that menopause is experienced differently by each woman. So I am not denying that changes can be very drastic and difficult to adjust to. If I can offer anything, it is for women to recognize these changes as part of our maturation process, which at times can be disconcerting but can also be very fascinating indeed!
[tags]yoga and health, menopause,hormone therapy,exercise[/tags]