Yoga does not promote post-menopausal convalescence because this phase in a woman’s life is not considered an illness, just a very normal part of an aging woman’s existence. During menopause, different women will experience unique symptoms for varied amounts of time and severity, and yoga is not tangible the way medicinal treatments are. Drugs work precisely to regulate the body’s hormones and minimize or eliminate a woman’s discomfort. Peri-menopause cannot be remedied by yoga alone and, although there is not a specific set of postures for a woman to do for the symptoms, yoga performed with combined postures is beneficial to the body.
Yoga enables a person to relax and achieve a positive mind set as well as a steady body during the practice, which often carries into the rest of a yogi’s life. As people are told to “watch their thoughts” during meditation, women can visualize this internal change that is occurring to better accept this difficult part of life.
All yoga should begin in a class so an instructor can demonstrate to you the correct way to pose, explain the way in which these very specific postures are beneficial to the body, and help you with your breathing and meditation which are essential to yoga if you wish to see maximum benefits. Books and DVDs are a great way to learn more about yoga, but instruction is important for beginners. You may find yourself in a compromising position - literally - if you begin difficult poses before you are ready.
A few yoga facts about asanas, or poses in yoga, can help women to know which ones to do to improve some of their symptoms. For example, to gain energy and lift one’s spirits, the back bend is recommended; for stress and anxiety, a forward bend. There are quite a few of these bends present in yoga. There are postures that prepare the body for other postures, and there are counter postures that balance the body. Each type of posture is important to the body as they help prevent it from becoming damaged during yoga and after yoga.
Book advice for menopausal women is different than the advice a yoga instructor will give you, but keep in mind the fact that many female instructors will or have been through the same stage in life. Writings suggest that women should not push their bodies and use soothing poses instead; the yogi will tell you differently. Slower, softer poses have increased the rate of weight gain and mood swings in some women, therefore yoga has taken this idea in the opposite direction.
As mentioned earlier, individual women feel symptoms that are unique to their bodies. If fatigue and body ache are not soothed by active poses, restorative poses may better suit these types. Symptoms of menopause are ever changing with the changing levels of hormones, so each type of posture may be beneficial.
For women who prefer more rigorous asanas, there are many others available. The shoulder stand, headstand, and forward bends that require one to stand and double over, as well as other inversion poses, help the body a great deal. Other postures in which one is required to stand, including the extended side angle, triangle, and half moon poses, relax the body especially when it is tense.