Yoga Poses for Menopausal Women
Brenda Strong, creator of StrongYoga®4Women, in Los Angeles, suggests these poses for women during the menopausal transition. The Fertility Ball® mentioned in some exercise descriptions is a product that Strong created and that she uses to apply acupressure on various parts of the body.
Your clients can do this pose in regular fashion or supported with a bolster or two to elevate the torso. The natural pressure of the thighs on the abdomen aids in reducing constipation. The pose stretches the hips, thighs and ankles; is calming; and helps to relieve stress and fatigue, according to Strong.
LEGS UP THE WALL (Viparita Karani)
Elevating the legs and pelvis above the heart and head calms the nervous system, reduces edema, and reduces overall stress and fatigue, says Strong. She suggests placing two Fertility Balls at the sacrum.
Supported bridge helps to nourish the body’s kidney channel based on the theory of meridians in acupuncture, and when done on bolsters or blocks, it calms the system. Women can try placing two Fertility Balls beneath the sacrum.
ABDOMINAL MASSAGE WITH FERTILITY BALL
This is essentially an acupressure practice that reduces adhesions and tight muscles in the pelvis and abdomen, thereby helping with elimination, digestion and circulation. Women tend to hold tension in their bellies, and this is a way to learn “soft belly” and acceptance, while potentially alleviating some of the physical symptoms of menopause.
COOLING BREATH (Sitali)
This yogic cooling breath may help stall or lessen the impact of hot flashes by cooling us down, according to Strong. Ask clients to notice if their hot flashes are triggered by stress, alcohol, caffeine or any other stimulant. Eliminating or reducing these triggers may soothe the “heat.” In the meantime, practicing this pranayama exercise may be helpful.
SUPPORTED RECLINING BOUND ANGLE POSE (Supta Baddha Konasana) or SUPPORTED WIDE-ANGLE SEATED FORWARD BEND (Upavistha Konasana)
These two poses have very different qualities, but both are beneficial for menopause. Shown below, Strong is in supported wide-angle seated bend at the wall, with Fertility Balls beneath her sacrum. This is a calming, hip-opening pose that helps with circulation, edema and stress. Reclining bound angle pose, with bolsters supporting the torso, is a gentle hip opener that softens the belly, supports the spine and calms a busy mind.
For much more on yoga and menopause, see the January 2017 Inner IDEA column, “Menopause Symptoms: Can Yoga Help?” by Shirley Archer, JD, MA.
Photography courtesy of StrongYoga®4Women.
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