Yoga Poses for Menopause
Many women experiencing menopause have found that practicing yoga, particularly supportive and relaxing poses, can help ease the discomfort associated with age-related changes in the body.
How Yoga Helps
Though menopause itself is simply the moment that menstruation stops, the transition generally takes several years. This phase is called perimenopause and typically occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55. During perimenopause, fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels can trigger a myriad of uncomfortable symptoms. Among the most common are hot flashes, anxiety and irritability, insomnia, fatigue, depression and mood swings, memory lapses, and an erratic menstrual cycle.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms of menopause, give these poses a try.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat.
- Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. Exhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
- Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone, holding your buttocks off the floor. Do not squeeze your glutes or flex your buttocks.
- Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor beneath your pelvis. Straighten your arms as much as possible, pressing your forearms into the mat. Reach your knuckles toward your heels.
- Keep your thighs and feet parallel — do not roll to the outer edges of your feet or let your knees drop together. Press your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
- Hold for up to one minute. To release, unclasp your hands and place them palms-down alongside your body. Exhale as you slowly roll your spine along the floor, vertebrae by vertebrae. Allow your knees to drop together.
(WARNING: Do not perform bridge pose if you have a neck or shoulder injury.)
Extended triangle pose
- Stand in mountain pose. Step your feet wide, about 3½ to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor with your palms facing down. Turn your left foot in 45 degrees to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Adjust the heels so they are aligned.
- As you exhale, reach your right hand down and to your shins or the floor. If needed, place a yoga block against your inner right foot and rest your palm there. Keep your legs straight. Aim your gaze to your left hand.
- Press the right palm down against the shin or ground and reach your left hand toward the sky simultaneously. Stay long through the torso. Breathe and stretch.
- Stay in this pose from 30 seconds to one minute. Exhale and release the twist. Repeat for the same length of time with the legs reversed, twisting to the left.
Reclined Bound angle pose
- Lie down on your back, with your legs extended in front of you and your arms at your sides. Spread the fingers wide with the palms face up toward the ceiling.
- Bend your knees and bring the bottoms of your feet together. Allow gravity to let the legs fall open.
- Adjust the legs to your comfort level. Use yoga blocks under the knees for added support.
- Relax your upper body and allow your body to become one with into the mat. Remain in the pose from one to five minutes, depending on your level of comfort.
- Kneel on your mat. If needed for the calves and thighs, use a folded blanket or bolster for support. Touch your knees together then slide your feet apart. Press the tops of the feet on the floor. Breathe easily.
- Exhale and sit back halfway. Use your thumbs to draw the skin and flesh of the calf muscles long. Slowly sit down between your feet.
- Aim to rest your buttocks comfortably on the floor. Sit on a block if your sit bones do not reach the floor. Allow a thumb’s-width space between the inner heels and the outer hips. Press your thigh bones into the floor with your palms. Then lay your hands gently in your lap, palms up or down.
- Sit up with your spine long and straight. Press your shoulder blades back and down and lift your chest. Press the shoulders down and away from the ears. Anchor the tailbone into the floor.
- Hold the pose from 30 seconds to one minute. Gradually extend your stay up to 5 minutes. To come out of the pose, press your hands against the floor and lift your buttocks up off of your heels. Cross your ankles underneath your buttocks, sit back onto the floor, then stretch your legs out in front of you. Shake the legs and knees up and down a few times on the floor.
- Begin this pose from shoulder stand. From there, slowly bring the feet to rest behind your head. Your gaze should now be on your thighs or knees. Release the hands from supporting your lower body and place the palms face down on the floor beside you.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds. Over time, hold the pose 5 to 10 seconds more until you can comfortably hold the pose for 3 minutes.
Legs Up the Wall pose
- Perform this pose near a wall. Lie on your back.
- Raise the legs up and lie the back of your legs flat against the wall. Position your buttocks as close to the wall as possible.
- Lay the arms along the sides of the body.
- Relax and breathe deeply for 5-20 minutes.