From alignment issues to hormonal imbalances, our bodies are constantly fine-tuning to find balance. Menopause upsets this delicate balance, presenting an array of physical, mental, and emotional issues to manage.
This stage of life can feel destabilizing, but it’s also an opportunity to use yoga to turn inward and clarify your needs. Honoring your needs is a way to nourish your body and mind, making you happier and healthier during menopause.
Reconnect to You
Nourish yourself by reconnecting to your true needs. This can range from buying breathable sheets for those intense nights of hot flashes to going on a meditation retreat. It’s up to you how deeply you dig to identify your needs. But know they are all valid.
Remember, it’s not selfish to take care of yourself. If you’ve heard this before but can’t get behind it, let’s reframe your mindset. Do you want to arrive at a family event feeling drained and on edge because you didn’t sleep the previous night? Or do you want to show up well-rested as your happy, amazing self because you invested time in creating a sleep routine that helps you unwind? I guarantee your friends and family want you to show up as your best self.
Tips to Help You Start Identifying What Nourishes You Most During this Time of Your Life
Be open to trying the yoga techniques below a few times; the point of this is to nourish yourself, not add to your to-do list. If it’s not working, adjust the plan until it feels right.
Anxiety is common during menopause. When we feel anxious or overwhelmed, our breath shallows and quickens. Allowing the breath to stay expansive and slow provides nourishment through oxygenation. Focusing your mind on your breath through yoga techniques steadies your heartbeat and provides an opportunity to let go of any thought spirals that do not serve you.
- Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, eyes closed.
- Place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your heart.
- Breathe in through your nose for four counts. Draw the breath in from your lower abdomen. Feel your ribs expand and your chest lift against your hand.
- Breathe out through your nose for four counts. Reverse the actions of the chest and ribs, sending the breath back down to your lower abdomen.
- Continue for five to eight rounds. Increase the count if you can lengthen your breath.
- When you’re finished, notice how you feel now compared to when you first started.
Journal Prompts for Nourishment
It’s natural to start questioning the “why” behind our actions when a big transition such as menopause occurs. Sometimes writing helps bring awareness to the situation.
Cultivating awareness is a large part of any yoga practice and can be honed with techniques such as journaling. These prompts will encourage awareness abou t what areas of your life affect your energy. You can then decide whether to make changes.
With paper and a pen, find a comfortable place to sit. Turn off any distractions. Write the first things that come to mind without any judgment.
- Write everything you do on a “normal” day.
- Put a check by the activities that bring you joy and make you feel good.
- Circle the ones that make you tired or feel bad afterwards.
- Look at the circled items. Can you stop doing these or delegate them to someone else? If not, is there anything you can do to make these feel more nourishing? For example, if you can’t delegate laundry to anyone else, turn on your favorite show or catch up with your friend on speakerphone while you do this to increase the happy quotient.
Now you have your action plan. Ideally, your list will be at least half-full of nourishing checkmarks. The more the better! Come back to this journal exercise as often as you need, especially if you notice you’re feeling overwhelmed by all you do in a day.
Nourishing Bedtime Yoga
Fluctuations in estrogen levels can wreak havoc on sleep during menopause. Aside from discussing hormone balancing options with your wellness provider, creating a yoga bedtime ritual may help. Stretching can prepare your body and mind for rest by releasing tension and excess energy before bed. These three poses can be done alone or in a sequence together.
- Sit comfortably with legs either extended or crossed
- Lengthen your spine with shoulders over hips.
- Gently twist to the right, hands resting naturally.
- Look over your back shoulder if it feels comfortable.
- Stay for three to five slow rounds of breath.
- Slowly release to center. Repeat on other side.
- Sit tall with legs extended.
- Inhale and reach your arms up.
- Exhale and fold forward, keeping length in your spine.
- Stay for three to five slow rounds of breath. Focus on releasing any tension along the back of the legs with each exhale.
- Slowly rise up and release.
Legs Up the Wall
- Lay on your back with legs either extended up a wall or resting on the seat of a chair with knees bent.
- Rest your arms on the sides of your body. Close your eyes.
- Stay for five to eight rounds of breath.
- Slowly release by rolling onto your side.