Yoga is known to bring balance and health to every aspect of life. Be it physical, mental, emotional, moral, or spiritual. But it is also used as a potential remedy for many diseases. Regular practice of yoga can reduce the risk of common age-related issues and their impact on the overall quality of your life.
Speaking of which, Menopause is a natural process that every woman has to go through in her life. Although not a disease, menopause can cause a number of issues, starting from hot flashes and night sweats. Also known as vasomotor symptoms, they can further raise problems such as:
- mood changes
- headaches, and
- lack of concentration.
Many women may also suffer from:
- aches and pains
- weight gain
- vaginal dryness
- urinary and sexual problems during this phase.
So, what is menopause?
Menopause refers to the period of 12 consecutive months without menses. It usually occurs at the age of 50-51 for most women. Menopause marks the end of reproductive years, meaning you won’t be able to reproduce afterward. But this reproductive change takes about a decade of hormonal changes, known as perimenopause or menopause transition. It can begin as early as in the mid-30s and lasts until your periods stop or in other words when menopause begins.
Menopause is a natural process that every woman has to go through in her life. Menopause marks the end of reproductive years, meaning you won’t be able to reproduce afterward.
What causes menopause?
Although the exact reason for menopause is still unclear, experts believe that fluctuations in sex hormones could be the reason. According to them, declining levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, adrenalin, noradrenalin, and other reproductive hormones may lead to many of the physical and psychological symptoms mentioned above.
Now due to the involvement of hormonal changes, HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy was quickly adopted as an effective and feasible treatment. However, many menopausal women who underwent HRT showed increased risks of breast cancer, uterine cancer, thromboembolic heart disease and stroke, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). As more and more women started complaining about the side-effects of HRT, its implementation was significantly reduced. (Reference)
Given the limitation of HRT and the absence of viable options for the treatment of menopausal symptoms, doctors are now recommending focusing on your diet, lifestyle, and other healthy habits such as regular exercise and yoga as a safe and promising measure to ease down menopausal symptoms.
Doctors are now recommending focusing on your diet, lifestyle, and other healthy habits such as regular exercise and yoga as a safe and promising measure to ease down menopausal symptoms.
Yoga for Menopause
Yoga, a potential alternative to hormonal therapy, is being widely studied and used to manage the symptoms of menopause. What makes it an effective treatment option is its holistic approach to both physical and mental health. So, by treating your mind, body, and soul as a whole instead of treating them separately, yoga can bring a lot of therapeutic value in treating menopause and its symptoms.
It is a purposeful combination of breathing practices, meditation, physical postures, and movements. Not only does it bring peace of mind, but also rejuvenates your body by reaching the deepest parts at the cellular level. Unlike other forms of exercise, yoga involves balanced and repeated movements in a calm, composed, and continuous flow which is perfectly suitable for middle-aged women.
Yoga is well-known for dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and other mental issues that are typical with menopause. Plus, it can also improve certain physiological systems that may be responsible for many of the physical symptoms associated with menopause.
The science behind the help of yoga is still in its early days, but a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health suggests that yoga can reduce hot flashes and other vasomotor symptoms in menopausal women.
Yoga improves blood pressure reducing hypertension and other emotional disturbances.
Sleeplessness, which is a major concern for women during menopause, can also be dealt with regular practice of yoga as it improves blood circulation. As a result, your body can produce more melatonin which is the main hormone responsible for sleep cycles and the circadian rhythm.
Pain management is yet another benefit of doing yoga daily. Stretching and poses help in building musculoskeletal strength and flexibility.
Yoga also improves the functioning of organs. For instance, stretching improves lung capacity and enhances the flow of oxygen to your body. It also increases the secretion of essential proteins for bones, improving overall health and reducing the chances of developing secondary conditions such as osteoporosis. Increased levels of oxygen and red blood cells result in better immunity and functioning of biological systems. (Courtesy: Clemson University)
Yoga offers a wide range of benefits for menopausal women, such as:
- Decreased anxiety and depression
- Improved sense of self-awareness and self-confidence
- Physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being
- Pain and stress management
- State of harmony and balance
- Improved digestion and weight management
- Increased strength and flexibility
- Better mobility, range of motion, and joint lubrication
Qualities such as these make yoga a perfect alternative to hormone and drug therapies. At present, yoga, combine with a healthy diet, may well be the safest method to manage menopause and its symptoms.
Yoga is well-known for dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and other mental issues that are typical with menopause.
A freelance writer, a poet and an avid reader. He’s a passionate wordsmith who believes in writing content which is simple, beautiful and informative. He’s a practised communicator coached by British Academy.
Apart from being a playful scribbler, he’s a hardcore music fan and loves exploring space and science. He is also a spiritual soul and fitness enthusiast. Yoga, meditation and workout are some of his favourite health activities.