Leading up to and during menopause, it’s normal to feel a bit out of sorts. From hot flashes to mood swings, your body is changing in ways over which it seems like you have no control. But the key phrase there? “Seems like.”
You have more control than you think over many of these common menopause symptoms—and that’s where yoga comes in. Yoga has countless natural benefits for the mind and the body, and when it comes to addressing menopause symptoms, both of which are equally important.
Whether you’re totally new to yoga or you’ve been practicing for years, these specific yoga exercises for menopause may prove to be beneficial in alleviating some of your symptoms. So, grab your mats and give one or more of these poses a try.
1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
It might literally be called “Easy Pose,” but don’t underestimate the positive effects of this pose. Sukhasana has both physical and mental benefits—it works to improve body posture by strengthening back muscles, while also relaxing the mind and body. Being a meditative yoga pose, Sukhasana is useful for women going through menopause because hormonal changes, as well as potential sleep problems, can create a lot of stress and anxiety.
2. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Uttanasana is another yoga pose for menopause that has both mental and physical benefits. This pose will help you to shut out stimuli and distractions from your surroundings, which can simultaneously help to soothe symptoms, such as stress and irritability. Physically, it can help to ease stiffness in the upper back, lower back, and the back of your legs and hips. It also increases blood flow to the brain, giving your cells a rejuvenating oxygen boost.
3. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Menopause can cause a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, but fear not—Utkatasana can be beneficial in strengthening those same muscles. It can also help to strengthen the ankles, thighs, calves, and spine. Emotionally, this pose helps to stimulate the abdominal organs and diaphragm, and also increases heart rate, which can stimulate the circulatory and metabolic systems.
4. Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II)
Standing yoga poses, such as Warrior II, can help to combat the fatigue that often comes with menopause by increasing circulation and building strength and stamina. Additionally, this pose can be particularly beneficial for those with back problems, since it offers a stretch for the back muscles, hips, legs, and ankles. And if you’re interested in practicing your balance, Warrior II is great for that as well.
5. Lunge Pose (Banarasana)
This pose stretches both the hip flexors and the psoas (pronounced “so-az”) muscles, which are the muscles that connect the lower back to the upper thighs. The psoas muscles can constrict or tighten up if you’re stressed or if you spend a lot of your day seated. Shortness of breath and declining lung function can also present as a common symptom of menopause.1 Stretching the psoas muscles may help alleviate this symptom, by freeing up your breath and releasing any pent-up tension in the body.
A quick daily yoga practice can help benefit menopausal women
These are just five particularly beneficial poses, but virtually all yoga poses are helpful for dealing with the symptoms of menopause or perimenopause. And you don’t have to make a major daily commitment to see results: multiple studies have explored the health benefits of a minimal daily yoga practice, with one study finding that only 12 minutes a day of practice helped to improve bone health.2 So what are you waiting for? Pick up a mat and start practicing these simple yoga moves, today!