Yoga and Menopause

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Yoga and Menopause A woman’s life cycle is divided into three stages during which her identity changes on the basis of the physical transformations that take place in her reproductive system. These 3 identities of a woman are – “Maiden”, “Mother” and “Wise Woman”.The ‘maiden stage’ starts with the childhood and it continues just before the onset of a woman’s menses. The next stage is the age of puberty when the woman is biologically in the ‘mother phase’ of her life, even if she doesn’t bear a child. This stage continues till midlife after which production of estrogen and progesterone by the ovaries slows down. Menstruation becomes irregular and eventually ends and the woman attains “menopause”. A year or so after menopause is the beginning of the third major stage of a woman’s life i.e. “Wise Woman” stage.Menopause usually occurs between the ages 40 to 60 associated with hormonal, physical and psychological changes. These changes can start as early as the age of 30 and can last until late 50s or early 60s. Menopause can also occur if the ovaries are completely removed or stopped functioning due to some illness or complications. However, it is important to mention here that menopause is not an illness; it is a natural biological process. But symptoms of hot flushes, sweats, depression, nervousness, loss of self esteem and sudden mood changes often accompany the diminishing levels of oestrogen in the body.Yoga proves to be an effective measure in reducing the complications associated in with the menopausal years. Yoga exercises level out the physiological instability by relaxing and gently stretching every muscle in the body, promoting better blood circulation and oxygenation to all cells and tissues. This helps optimize the function of the endocrine glands and the organs of the female reproductive tract. Yoga exercises also improve the health and well-being of the digestive tract, nervous system and all other organ systems.Latest studies show that women who practice yoga have a different, more positive experience. Yoga postures and breathing practices not only balance the endocrine system, they also serve to stabilize mood and adjust attitude, as well. Yoga postures, yoga breathing and meditation soothe the sympathetic nervous system. Regular practice alleviates anxiety and smoothes out the hormonal and glandular changes that take place during the menopausal stage of life.The regular practice of all the categories of poses — standing, sitting, lying down, backbends, forward bends, twists, and inverted (upside down) poses — stimulates and activates all the glands, organs, tissues and cells of the body. It is a proven fact that a single yoga pose has multiple effects on all the systems of the body. Hence, the exercises which you do for alleviating the adverse effects of menopause, also contributes to your overall health and makes you fit enough to sustain the so-called “ages of wisdom”.

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