Insomnia, Grumpy, Depression – Yoga Can Ease The Strain

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The way you’ve been feeling lately, you swear could be Snow White’s missing dwarf, Snarky. You’re a combination of Grumpy, Sleepy and that little known dwarf Punchy, all rolled into one very uncomfortable package. Perimenopause doesn’t only play games with your body; it messes up your moods. Yoga, an exercise for both your body and your mind can help you banish those annoying dwarves, reduce stress and yes, ladies, even rev up your sex life!

Exercise can really do wonders for you, especially when you’re in a bad mood. My recent article on how to ease menopausal symptoms with exercise explains how getting off your duff can reinvent your life. I’ve even covered how yoga beats up insomnia!

Facts don’t lie: doctors dig yoga too!

A recent study by Dr. Beth Cohen, “Yoga: An Evidence-Based Prescription for Menopausal Symptoms,” published by the Journal of the North American Menopause Society found that the 120 women between 40 to 50 who participated in the study; yes, these women had a variety of menopausal symptoms. They followed a regime of five 60-minute yoga sessions for eight weeks had a significant reduction in symptoms. The study also showed that they increased their concentration and attention span as well.

Why does yoga work so well? The breathing exercises can help gently reduce stress. The various yoga poses assist in keeping and gaining flexibility and muscle strength. All these positives lead up to reducing and relieving you of those yucky and unwanted perimenopause symptoms!

Now you don’t have to drop everything in your life and spend 24/7 in a yoga studio to get your body and mind to behave. I mean if you did, you’d never know what happened on Scandal and who the Bachelor picked, right? Using yoga doesn’t mean losing scads of free time. You can practice poses at home or in the office. If you’re doing it at work, make sure your door is closed…just sayin’.

“If you practice yoga before menopause, then all the poses that are especially useful for coping with uncomfortable symptoms are already familiar, and you can reach for them like an old friend,” states Suza Francina, leading yoga instructor and the author of Yoga and the Symptoms of Menopause. “If you are familiar with restorative poses, then you have the best menopause medicine at your disposal.”

Slip on those yoga pants ladies and try out these blissful yoga techniques.

Viniyoga, developed by Gary Krafsow, MA works on physical issues like back pain as well as anxiety and depression.

Iyengar is an extremely gentle form of yoga. It’s a favorite among injured athletes, arthritis sufferers, and those who do not exercise regularly.

Jacki Nett, a faculty member of The Iyengar Institute of San Francisco, and Yoga Journal’s resident expert states that the Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose) “Did wonders for me when in the throes of menopause…I would end up in Viparita Karani, and I always came out feeling grounded and with a sense of inner knowing about what to do next.”

Francina says that when you’re practicing yoga, “It is far better to do a few poses in a peaceful, leisurely way than to rush through too many.” She also recommends the Viparta Karani (legs up the wall pose) as well as the Reclining Butterfly. “If I could just pick one or two poses a day, I’d pick these two.”

For the Reclining Butterfly pose, sit in front of a bolster placed lengthwise behind you. Keep the soles of your feet together.  “It totally opens up the pelvis,” says Francina. “It’s the same pose you would do if you were having a period with bad cramps.” Oh the joys of having your period, those memories never really go away!

If you’re feeling more ambitious, Mary Beth Janssen, author of Rejuvenation: Spa Secrets for Menopause and a certified Mind Body Health teacher with the Chopra Center of Well-Being devised a series of gentle yoga poses. The six poses were published in Health magazine and are so easy to do; you can practice them while watching TV.

There are scads of yoga DVDs to try at home. Yoga for Menopause is a 38 minute guided Ananda yoga session that works for women experiencing perimenopause or menopause. Kathy Smith’s Moving Through Menopause combines yoga, cardio and strength training.

Want to get into the thick of things instead of bumping into your coffee table at home? The Yoga Alliance has a national directory. You’ll find classes that deal with perimenopause quicker than a hot flash!

Namaste!

Suffering Silence is OUT!  Reaching out is IN!

After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.

  • yoga seems to be a good cure for just about anything that ails us! Or certainly a way to ease symptoms.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      I agree, Carol!

  • Linda Coburn (@LCinLA)

    I started doing Kundalini yoga about two years ago, about a year before I was thrust into a very harsh perimenopause. I am very grateful that I have had the support of great teachers who worked with me to allow me to continue my practice (most of the time, anyway) even while I was feeling horrible. I attend my Thursday and Sunday yoga classes with the same reverence that some have for church.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Thanks for sharing, Linda! I am thrilled to hear that yoga has helped your symptoms!

  • Hahhaha..oh man..your Yoga post is so much better than the Yoga story I told today.

    And this is very good information. I really need to get back to it. I feel so much better when I practice yoga.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Yoga can truly change your day and when you feel good –life is good!! I hope you get back in to it soon!

  • Ellen, I love, love, love yoga. It definitely helps me manage my stress levels during my life after 50. Will have to check out some of the videos you mentioned. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Judy, so nice to know that yoga has been so helpful to you. That is wonderful– Namaste!