We are given a long life so that we use the years to experience, learn about the world, and then evolve to know and realize the mysteries of our own existence and its purpose. Therefore, the penultimate years of our life are significant and important in this process of evolution. Unfortunately, the social and cultural ethos is such that we celebrate youth and the despair of old age. Menopause is one of those milestones of aging that is viewed with sadness. Actually, one should see it with joy, as it marks the beginning of a period of liberation from everything that held you captive in the early part of your life, such as having children, family commitments, financial challenges, and trying to demonstrate your potential and identity.
Both puberty and menopause cause hormonal disturbances in the body and therefore women need to resort to certain yogic practices to smoothly navigate through these stages of life. Both are natural processes and must be accepted as such. Before we delve into yogic practices for menopause, it is essential to understand the biological process involved. During menopause, the ovaries, hypothalamus, and thyroid gland undergo changes that begin to impact us. The ovaries begin to shrink and produce less estrogen and progesterone, the two hormones that maintain the monthly menstrual cycle. This usually starts between the ages of 40 and 55, but can vary. The lack of these hormones affects the functioning of the hypothalamus, the intelligent gland deep in your brain above the brainstem that maintains homeostasis, that is, keeps the body in a stable state. The hypothalamus works in cohesion with the anterior and posterior thyroid glands. The hypothalamus and thyroid glands work together to control body temperature, hunger, thirst, blood pressure, mood, sexual desire, and sleep. Therefore, menopause leads to osteoporosis, hot flashes, mood swings, high blood pressure, lack of sexual desire, and sleep pattern disturbance.
But, all this can be controlled and, more importantly, the negative effects can be reduced and neutralized with a good daily yoga practice. If you neglect this phase of the life changing process, you can end up with chronic health problems. Resorting to drugs, artificial ways to subdue or stop these natural processes can be harmful and cause side effects.
Some yoga exercises directly affect the various hormonal glands mentioned above.
Inverted asanas are best for the healthy functioning of the endocrine system, especially the hypothalamus, thyroid, and pituitary gland. One of the best inverted asanas is Sarvangasana (sarva=whole, ang=body, asana).
The main and most important impact of the inverted pose is that it increases the blood supply to the brain. The brain requires 60 percent of the blood that our bodies produce. An inverted posture cancels the pull of gravity and helps to flood the brain, hypothalamus, thyroid, and pituitary glands, and also cancels the sagging of the uterus and all lower sexual and excretory organs.
Sarvang asana (inverted shoulder stand asana): It may not be possible to get into this inverted position right away. Therefore, it is advisable to practice rolling on the spine. Sit with your legs stretched out. Then grab your toes if you can or just reach forward, pointing your fingers toward your toes. Then, in a rocking motion, roll back onto your spine with your toes moving toward the floor at the back of your head and your hands reaching for your toes as you roll back onto your back. head. Then, in a rocking motion, return to a sitting position with your fingers reaching or touching your toes. Repeat the same rocking motion on your spine for a few rounds.
This action helps you get into the inverted position. As you rock back, place your palms around your hips and raise your body so that your entire body rests on your shoulders with your legs straight and perpendicular to your body. Hold this position for a short time initially and then gradually increase to five minutes.
Halasana (plow pose): This asana must be followed by Halasana. While in Saravangasana pose, bring your legs behind your head and try to place your toes on the floor while keeping your knees straight. Once her toes are flat on the floor, she slowly places her hand on the floor with her palms flat on the floor. Hold the position for as long as is comfortable and slowly increase the time, holding the position for three minutes. Slowly raise your legs and bring them back to the starting position.
Similarly, Surya Namaskar is a very effective exercise and addresses many issues related to aging. It is a series of poses that address almost all parts, organs, systems of our body and awaken the pranic energy in the body. Shavasana after Suryanamaskar is a must.
Specific asanas: As I say repeatedly, yoga practice should begin with a body conditioning practice. Neck movements help activate and regulate the thyroid glands and can be done at any time, even while working in the office. The following, as described in my previous columns here, are good stimuli.
1.Tadasana (Full Body Stretch)
2.Triaka Tadasana (Side Stretch)
3.Kati Chakrasana (Body Twist)
4. Chakki Chalasana (mill pose)
5. Nauka Chalasana (Boat Row Pose)
6.Paschimottan Asana (Spine stretching pose)
7. Marjari Asana (Cat Stretch Pose)
8. Vygarasana (tiger pose)
9. Ushtra asana (camel pose)
It is best for women to start these practices when they are 35 years old.
(Kamini Bobde is a Kundalini practitioner following the yoga tradition of Swami Satyananda Saraswati. She is the author of Kundalini Yoga for All: Unlock the Power of Your Body and Brain. Published by Penguin)