Peri-menopause suggestions

The physiological and metabolic changes in the body that lead to menopause do not happen overnight. These fluctuations can take up to 10 years, and in some cases take even longer. The thyroid (and pituitary and pineal) and the adrenals, in particular, have a bit (or a lot) of a freakout during this time period.

Yoga postures create stability, strength, and endurance generally. Several yoga poses specifically and hormonally can smooth things out for the peri-menopausal woman while also increasing the physical and emotional strength in her body.

Whereas, for the most part, standing postures and Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations) are wonderful and appropriate for women under 40, at around the age of 40 women should begin substituting some of the time spent in these postures with inversions. Standing on your head (headstand) and on your shoulders (shoulderstand) are the most important to do, but down dog and wide-legged forward fold (prasarita padottanasana, not pictured in this post), head supported, also convey the effects a woman needs through this time, until around the age of 60.

This is because the thyroid, as a gland, receives the most benefit from shoulderstand, given its location in the throat and the ability in shoulderstand to bathe wash and cleanse it while “standing” through the shoulder girdle and completely reversing the blood flow of the body. Headstand, when done correctly and with no strain or stress on the neck, or in the face or eyes, balances the brain’s processing activities and the blood flow from the rest of the body to it. Shoulderstand and headstand, in fact, reduce or remove sluggishness from the system by inverting the "normal" upright functioning of all the organs, in fact. Shoulderstand nourishes the body and headstand stimulates it, and their combination restore and replenish physical and mental weakness and (perceived and real) loss of vitality.

Down dog and wide-legged forward fold are “quick hit” versions of the headstand and shoulderstand: they are so good for you, too, but their benefits are not as wide-reaching and fully organic. Still, they should also be done to balance the hormones, body, and mind during this most major transition in a woman’s life. Also see below that four-limbed pose (catturanga dandasana), is crucial (but ONLY when done correctly!) to some women conscious of feeling weaker and less taut in their musculature and specifically in their upper body.

Kim Weeks