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Yoga for Perimenopause
and Menopause

June 1, 2021


Though menopause itself is simply the moment that menstruation stops, the transition generally takes several years. This phase is called perimenopause and typically occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55. During perimenopause, fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels can trigger a myriad of uncomfortable symptoms. Among the most common are hot flashes, anxiety and irritability, insomnia, fatigue, depression and mood swings, memory lapses, and an erratic menstrual cycle.

Few women experience all of these, but an estimated 55 to 65 percent of them do experience some mild menopause-related problems, about 25 percent report almost no disruption to their daily lives, while approximately 10 to 20 percent suffer severe and often debilitating symptoms.

Before the onset of perimenopause, a woman’s menstrual cycle is set in motion each month by the hypothalamus, a small structure at the base of the brain that regulates many bodily functions, including appetite and temperature. The hypothalamus signals the pituitary gland to produce important hormones for reproduction, and those hormones in turn stimulate production of estrogen and progesterone in the ovaries. During perimenopause, the ovaries and pituitary gland engage in a kind of tug-of-war. The ovaries decrease hormone production, while the pituitary gland, sensing low hormone levels, continues to spur on the ovaries. This frenetic struggle causes erratic hormonal fluctuations-too much estrogen, which revs the body’s motors, followed by spikes of progesterone, which slows the body.

Hormones are very powerful; they affect just about every tissue of the body. For instance, when the brain is affected by erratic hormone patterns, sleep, mood, and memory may all be influenced, and when the uterus is stimulated by sporadic hormone patterns, irregular bleeding occurs, and so on.

Typically, a woman experiences the first signs of this hormonal fluctuation about six years before her menstrual periods end. These symptoms generally continue until a year or more after her last period, when the hormone levels gradually stabilize. After menopause, the ovaries produce less of the female hormones. However, the body still needs some estrogen to keep the bones healthy and to prevent conditions like vaginal dryness. The adrenal glands, which are located above the kidneys, play an important role in this by secreting low levels of male hormones that are converted by fat cells into estrogen. Still, the body must adjust to a new, much lower hormone level.

These natural physiological changes and the havoc they can wreak for many women prompted researchers to seek a solution for common menopausal symptoms. The treatment currently used for managing menopausal symptoms is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
HRT is a simple solution for managing menopausal symptoms. But several major studies have shown that HRT exposes women to serious health risks and many women have begun seeking more natural solutions. Those who have turned to yoga for relief have found that while asanas may not directly influence estrogen production, specific postures can help control unpleasant symptoms. Restorative postures in particular can relax the nervous system and may improve the functioning of the endocrine system (especially the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, the thyroid, and the parathyroid gland), which helps the body adapt to hormonal fluctuations.

The most common symptoms of Perimenopase and Menopause that can be managed through Yoga and Yoga Therapy are:

    • Hot Flashes.
      One of the most common (and mysterious) symptoms; nearly 80 percent of all women experience them during perimenopause. Characterized by a rise in core body temperature coupled with a rapid pulse rate, these “power surges” produce a blushing that begins in the face and spreads down the neck and arms. Hot flashes can disappear as quickly as they appear, often leaving a woman feeling chilly and clammy as her body tries to correct the temperature fluctuation.No one really knows what causes hot flashes, although theories abound. Some say the hypothalamus plays an important role; another possibility is that the hormonal fluctuations in the body irritate the blood vessels and nerve endings, causing the vessels to overdilate and producing a hot, flushed feeling. Most researchers (as well as many menopausal women) agree that stress, fatigue, and intense periods of activity tend to intensify these episodes.
    • Anxiety, Irritability, and Insomnia.
      During perimenopause, estrogen spikes (or progesterone plummets), causing anxiety, nervousness, and irritability. Adrenal glands that are exhausted and overtaxed can also produce bouts of anxiety and intense irritability.
      When a person is under stress, the sympathetic nervous system responds by accelerating the heart rate, slowing down the muscles of the digestive tract, and increasing blood circulation to the brain to fight the stressor.
      Once the stress dissipates, the parasympathetic nervous system responds by doing just the opposite-slowing the heart rate back to normal, stimulating the smooth muscles of the digestive tract, and bringing the body’s systems back into balance.When the body is under continual stress, the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenals-which manufacture stress—fighting hormones along with the male hormones that get converted into estrogen—can get stuck in overdrive.
    • Fatigue.
      Of all the symptoms women complain about during perimenopause, fatigue is second only to hot flashes. Plunging progesterone could be the culprit, especially if the fatigue is coupled with depression and lethargy; if a woman feels inexplicably weary for days or weeks on end, depleted adrenal glands could be part of the problem.
    • Depression and Mood Swings.
      Menopause signals the end of the childbearing years; for many women, it is a time to mourn the end of their youth. Long periods of fatigue, coupled with a melancholy attitude or a sense that the life they once knew is now over, can trigger bouts of depression. Too much progesterone (or a drastic drop in estrogen) can also contribute to everything from a bad case of the blues to severe clinical depression.But yoga practitioners have long known that everything you do with your body can affect your thoughts and attitude. Sometimes something as subtle as a shift in posture can lighten a dark mood. If a woman stands tall, with dignity—opening and broadening her chest—and walks with confidence, she announces to the world (and, most important, to herself) that she is grounded, happy, and in tune with her surroundings.
    • Memory.
      At times during menopause, some women suddenly lose their train of thought or find themselves unable to organize their thoughts. This “fuzzy” thinking often happens at moments of great hormonal fluctuation. Girls going through puberty, pregnant women, and those who have just given birth often suffer similar levels of fogginess. Many women find that yoga helps clear the cobwebs, especially if their condition is exacerbated by lack of sleep or increased agitation.

Yoga for Perimenopause / Menopause in Small Group Classes are offered every Tuesday at:

  • 15 PM CEST Central European Standard Time
  • 14 PM BST British Summer Time
  • 17 PM GST Gulf Standard Time
  • 18.30 PM IST India Standard Time
  • 9 PM HKT Hong Kong Time
  • 6 AM PDT Pacific Daylight Time
  • 9 AM Eastern Daylight Time

Please note that we keep our group class small therefore we would suggest to book your presence in time as places are limited.
To confirm your presence please send us a message via email or contact form below.

Thank you and see you very soon on Zoom!


    June 1, 2021