Middle Aging: Yoga for Menopause
MASSEY:Take a deep breathe in—OMMMMM
I’m here at Puma Yoga Studio in Lakewood Ohio, to explore how the practice of yoga can be useful to women as they navigate the hormonal changes of menopause.
The North American Menopause Society—an organization of experts in the field of women’s health—recommends yoga as a stress reliever during menopause. Because stress can trigger menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, the deep breathing and relaxation in a yoga practice can help some women find non-hormonal relief.
Maria—Puma—Reyes owns the studio and is well versed in yoga’s ability to ease symptoms.
REYES: Well yoga is a tool for menopause because it allows us to come into our breath, it allows us to relax deeper when we come into a pose and really focus in and concentrate on our breath.
There are specific poses you can use, she says, for example:
REYES: Forward bends help to quiet the mind. They help to calm the mind. They get us more introspective.
The instructor of today’s class, Rachele Massey, adds:
MASSEY: I know a lot of women have problems regulating body temperature and things like that, where you can use that breathe to pause when you’re having a moment of struggle.
Jane, a 47 year old women in the class, came to yoga to increase her flexibility and stay limber. The classes helped with this, but they also had an added benefit:
JANE: I’m a very reactive personality and I have noticed that it keeps me more centered. I react a lot less than I used which I actually didn’t expect to happen which is great.
Another woman in the class, Terri, is about to turn 60 and is a regular at the studio:
TERRI: The yoga for me was primarily because of that racing brain and you know just crazy with work and crazy with everything I do so this has been really good to slow it down, slow it down.
Since taking up yoga, she’s noticed improvements in her flexibility, sleep, and stress levels. Even her husband notices the difference.
TERRI: So I think this is one important piece of a big puzzle, to this thing called wellness.
While hormonal therapy is still the gold standard for relieving menopausal symptoms, many women find relief by using stress-reduction techniques such as those found in yoga.
The class ends with “savasana”—a form of guided relaxation, where participants lie on their backs and focus on their breathing.
Let go of your stressors, Massey guides, and be in the moment.
MASSEY: Just be here now, just breathing and observing your thoughts and letting go.
Anne Glausser, 90.3