Feeling hot? Can’t sleep? Yoga can help….
It has been a particularly hot summer here in Australia, it reminds me of my childhood, growing up in rural NSW. There has been nights where I have found it difficult to sleep. Luckily, we have ceiling fans, but I have still been struggling. I have taken to having cold showers before bed, lighter dinners, daily ocean swims to cool down and having a little break from alcohol.
It is not just the weather that is impacting my sleep, or lack of. I am starting to notice the change in my hormones. The night before my period I am often completely wired and struggle to sleep. There is talk amongst friends about perimenopause and insomnia – so I had a chat with Naturopath Alex Robinson to get her tips on sleep and how practicing a few simple yoga movements at home can help during this stage of life.
Did you know perimenopause can start up to 10 years before a woman goes through menopause?
‘Perimenopause – a time in our lives when women transition from a menstruating female to cessation, or menopause. Perimenopause can start around 10 years before menopause, leaving many women confused, exhausted and wondering where that nice lady I used to be, has gone! This Jekkyl and Hyde situation emerges due to heightened escalation then nose diving of the key female reproductive hormones – estroegen, progesterone and testosterone.
Symptoms are different for every woman, but a couple of the “top hitters” are hot flushes, tender breasts, bloating, mysterious weight gain, depression, anxiety, getting stressed a lot easier, uncharacteristic moodiness, changes in metabolic function (thyroid, insulin sensitivity, adrenals particularly) and to top it off – a once rambunctious libido that leaves the building never to be seen again…or maybe just hiding a lot.
Fear not comrades, as a Holistic Nutritionist and Yoga teacher, I have been through this “hormado” myself, now emerging into the quieter waters of menopause. What I can say without doubt, is that having Yoga in my toolkit saved me, my marriage and actually made me a kinder, wiser person.
This is a time to really look at why and how you practice yoga. It’s a time to consider letting go of the face paced, dynamic and hot classes and embrace gentle, restorative, yin style classes. This period of your life is about letting go, embracing where you’re at and being gifted a second chance to just be you, however that looks.
Here’s a couple of cracker poses to help manage Perimenopause symptoms. These can be held for 5 -10 minutes and be sure to do both sides! Also use props as you need to make yourself comfortable, each body is different.
Inversions – as simple as Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani), to help relieve anxiety, insomnia and stress and promote sleep.’
Gentle Twists – Simple Seated Twist improves digestive and circulatory processes, can assist with neck & back pain and most importantly – help dissolve anxiety, stress and tension.
Forward Bends – Such as Seated Half Squat Pose (Marichyasana), help relieve lower back tension, promote digestion and calm the mind.
I hope my information may sink into the recesses of your mind and come to the surface whenever you need it. Remember Yoga is about gentleness, kindness, softness. Working with your body, not on your body. Find calm in the storm my friends, with these words and actions.
YOGA FOR HORMONAL TRANSITION
Posture images using Mandala Living Bolster courtesy of Eliza Giles