MENOPAUSE YOGA POSE 1:
Downward Facing Dog/ Adho Mukha Svanasana.
Some of the main symptoms of menopause are anxiety, irritability and a feeling of being overwhelmed. In ayurvedic terms, women going through this stage in life become more Vata and often describe it as feeling anchorless and “blown about in the wind.” These symptoms can become debilitating and affect work, their health and their relationships.
We can help women to manage these emotions with yoga poses that calm the mind, soothe the nerves and feel grounding. In my Menopause Yoga classes, I teach inversions and adapt standing poses and forward folds to allow the head to rest on the floor, a brick or a bolster. This contact of the forehead, or crown of the head, with a firm surface has an instant calming effect.
For example, practicing Downward Facing Dog/ Adho Mukha Svanasana with the forehead, or crown, on a brick or bolster is an easily accessible pose that can be held for 2-3 minutes, because there is less weight on the hands, wrists and shoulders. Staying in this pose also helps to stretch the spine and the back of the legs, which can also bring about a feeling of physical and emotional release.
Practising Downward facing dog on bricks at a wall, and another brick on the forehead also has a grounding effect. Being able to push against an immovable wall feels reassuringly supportive.
Using these props enables students to stay longer in these poses without tiring and, according to Bobby Clennell (Yoga for Women) and Elise Miller in Yoga as Medicine, helps to pacify the adrenal glands and tap into the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system.
It is not known why placing pressure on the head creates this sense of calm during menopause, but you may have observed the calming impact that inversions such as headstands have on your state of mind?
Note down any poses that make you feel better.