Yoga poses to help relieve menopause symptoms
While symptoms of menopause vary from woman to woman, many experience weight gain, hot flashes, sleeplessness, mood swings, or anxiety.
But one way to help manage the phase is by taking up yoga, as the practice can help manage stress, improve flexibility, and alleviate pain.
Accordingly, Cheryl MacDonald, founder of YogaBellies.com and the new course YogaPause, is adamant everyone - from newbies to experts - can all benefit from doing regular yoga poses.
Try gentle postures
If you are focusing on managing symptoms, it helps to choose gentle yoga postures that are low-impact and don't put too much strain on your body.
"For example, seated postures like Child's Pose, Forward Folds, and Cobra Pose are great options," she said.
During perimenopause, it is common to experience fluctuations in blood pressure, which can make us feel lightheaded or dizzy.
"To avoid any potential issues, I think it's best to avoid inversions like Headstands and Shoulder Stand. Instead, opt for postures that keep your head below your heart, like Downward Facing Dog and Cat-Cow. Of course, if you've been standing on your hands for years and want to keep doing this and it feels right (then) carry on," the expert continued.
Pay attention to breathing
Stress levels can be high because of those wild hormonal fluctuations.
"Practising deep, slow breathing can help to calm your mind and reduce that stress. In your yoga practice, take time to focus on your breath and make sure you're breathing deeply and fully. Always try to join the breath with the movement which is one of the ways that yoga becomes a moving meditation and not just another gym class," said Cheryl.
Incorporate restorative yoga postures
Restorative yoga postures are designed to help you relax and rejuvenate your body.
"As we get older, it's important to prioritise self-care and rest. Try incorporating postures like Supported Child's Pose, Reclining Bound Angle Pose and Legs Up the Wall into your practice to help you feel refreshed and relaxed," she suggested.
You may start to experience physical limitations that make certain yoga postures more challenging than they were before, or you may want to slow the pace of your practice down.
"Things props like blocks, heat packs, straps and weighted blankets can be incredibly helpful. They can provide support and make postures more accessible, allowing you to keep getting the most out of your practice. Play around with different props and adaptions and see what feels right," added Cheryl.