Petra Coveney’s Menopause Yoga & Wellbeing Workshops have been a sell out success since she started teaching them in 2017. Due to client feedback, what started as 3-hour events, are now all-day events and in 2020 she will be running weekend retreats. Women travel from as far afield as Brazil and Greece to attend these events.
The demand for more Menopause Yoga classes taught locally led Petra to launch a Menopause Yoga & Wellbeing Teacher Training course accredited by both the British Wheel of Yoga and Yoga Alliance. The course was filled in two locations, in November, 2019.
Here Petra explains why Menopause Yoga is so popular - and why didn’t we have this specialist style of yoga before?
There are an estimated 13 million women in the UK who are currently going through menopause – that’s a 1/3 of the population. 1 in 4 of those surveyed by the British Menopause Society said that their menopause symptoms were debilitating, and a disturbing proportion of menopausal women say they left work because their symptoms made them feel unable to function to their normal standards or felt unable to cope.
The loss of skilled and experienced employees and leaders from the workplace impacts not only businesses but also their families as the loss of income is keenly felt by all.
When I went through perimenopause at the age of 45-48, Menopause was a taboo word in our culture, is was shrouded in mystery, there was very little information available (I had to buy books from the USA and Europe), and the only help your GP could offer was Hormone Replacement Therapy, which doctors were very reluctant to do due to previous research linking it to breast cancer.
I felt a mixture of outrage and anxiety ....and felt very alone. So, I used the experience to do my own research and create a yoga and well being education package not just for myself but for all women. Initially, when I tried to run workshops, I was told that there wasn't the demand for it.
Flash forward seven years and the world is a different place. The #MeToo movement, women journalists such as Kirsty Walk, Liz Earle and Mariella Frostrup reaching menopausal age and social media have woken women up to Menopause and the message that we should not have to suffer alone or in silence.
And women really have suffered. Common symptoms include:
- hot flushes at work and in public places that cause many women a sense of shame and embarrassment;
-night sweats and insomnia that prevent women getting a full night’s sleep and leave them drenched in wet clothing and bedsheets.
-Anxiety attacks that women say can feel like you’re having a heart attack.
- Headaches and migraines
- brain fog, memory loss and a sense of confusion that women fear is early onset dementia;
-digestion problems leaving you unable to consume food and drinks you used to enjoy and share with family;
-rage and anger surges that cause arguments and break up relationships.
There are more than 34 common symptoms and women often say they feel ‘lost,' 'alone,' 'like I’m going mad!’ These thoughts can be alleviated if women are educated about the menopause: what it is, how they can help themselves and how they can help others by sharing their experiences. Women used to be learn from each other, and Menopause is the age of the Wise Woman.
So what has changed now?
Women are using social media, the mainstream media and their own social circles to break the taboos, and, emboldened by the #MeToo Menopause Movement, they are seeking ways to help themselves. Many are looking for ‘natural’ non-medical routes to managing their menopause, and those on HRT are also looking to yoga as part o their holistic package of self-care.
Over the past two years, I have worked with inspirational women at the forefront of the menopause. Dr Louise Newson is a GP and leading campaigner for menopausal women’s rights. She has founded a holistic menopause centre where she offers women medical advice and prescriptions, as well as menopause yoga, nutrition, meditation and alternative therapies. She practices yoga and is an inspiration to all!
My workshops are also supported by celebrities, including Meg Matthews whose Megsmenopause website, blog and Instagram account reach thousands on a daily basis. She now runs conferences attended by women across the UK. Her open discussion about her own symptoms, including depression and osteoporosis, have been instrumental in allowing other women to open-up.
Why is Menopause Yoga popular now? Because women have spoken out and say they want it, and yoga teachers who’ve experienced menopause symptoms themselves want to learn techniques to help themselves and others.
Now I am training other experienced professional teachers to lead workshops and classes in locations across the country, and even in other countries. I hope more women will experience the benefits and share their knowledge so that we can all learn from each other.
It is very important to ensure that this training is of the highest standard and includes a code of conduct, and so I am grateful to the British Wheel of Yoga and Yoga Alliance Professionals for supporting this important TT.