This is a highly informative article which could really make a difference.


Menopause workshop with Patricia Walden. March 27th
Please note: Any omissions or mistakes are clearly my error not Patricia Walden’s.
Patricia’s book, “Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health”

During menopause, it is important to laugh hard and laugh often. Diet is important, less fat, more whole grains, more vegetables.

Symptoms of Menopause:
• Body has less freedom
• Posture (pay attention to it – this is when the spine starts to round)
• Joint stiffness
• Night sweats
• Can’t find the words when you speak
• Depression, melancholy
• Mourning your youth
• Anxiety
• No desire for sex
• Vaginal dryness
• Memory lapses
• Self doubt
• Rapid heartbeat
• Insomnia
• Fatigue
• PMS – symptoms are much worse
• Mood swings
• Irritability
• Incontinence
• Weight gain
• Hair loss or hair thinning
• Osteoporosis
• Exacerbation of all conditions
• Changes in metabolism
• Peri-menopause can last up to 10 years
• You are in menopause if you don’t have a period for 1 year
• You will need to take off your bra and unzip the jeans. Tight clothes bring on hot flashes

Things you can do.
• Bond with other women
• Stay healthy
• Change diet
• Exercise
• Do less – enjoy more
• Journal your symptoms and experiences
• Nurture yourself daily

Menopause sequence for Hot Flashes
• Supta baddha konasana cross arms overhead and remain up to 10 minutes. This is a complete pose and the nervous system is relaxed
• Upavista konasana
• Supta padangusthasana 1 – make a loop and place the loop over the arch of the foot. Hold the strap with both hands using the index and middle fingers. Pull the strap and press the arch up at the same time. The outer thigh should move into the socket
• Supta padangusthasana 2 – place a folded blanket under the right buttock to balance the pelvis, bring the left leg into baddha konasana, place the loop on the arch of the right foot (following P1 instructions) extend the right leg out to the side (along side of the hip, not up toward the ear.
• Supta Padangustasana 2 – same instructions except the left leg is straight and angled out to the left.
• You can also practice SP2 with the extended foot on the wall either supported with height or without. This is less effort and decentralizes the body.

Sequence for lubricating the hips.
• Prasarita Padottanasana Stage I to Utthita Trikonasana back to PP then to UT on the other side.
• Prasarita Padottanasana Stage II to Virabhadrasana II (hands on hips). While in Vira II, bend and straighten the knee completely several times (This helps lubricate the hips). Then back to PP2 to Vira II on other side. Important, keep the uterus from tipping forward and keep the bent knee from turning in.
• Prasarita Padottanasana Stage II to Utthita Parsvakonasana (repeat on the other side)
• Prasarita Padottanasana Stage II to Arch Chandrasana (this is the quintessential pose for women it creates a horizontal spreading of the hips.) Practice at a wall. Teacher adjustment, strap in groin of standing leg and pull straight up.
• Prasarita Padottanasana Stage II to Parsvottanasana (repeat on the other side)
• Prasarita Padottanasana Stage II Parivritta Utthita Trikonasana (repeat on the other side)
• Uttanasana – head support
• Sirsasana
• Halasana (very magical for women going through menopause).
• Shoulder stand (very important practice)

Halasana and Shoulder stand are beneficial for the endocrine system, emotional and mental health.

Supported Back bending – full backbends generate heat and the body may not be able to handle them.

However backbends are very important for mood – they lift the spirits, they also help keep posture healthy.
• Viparita Dandasana with a chair feet at the wall
• Cross bolsters (use either two bolsters, or one bolster and folded blankets) Move lower on the back to spread the abdomen for relieving congestion. Move higher on the back to spread the chest/rib cage to bring energy.
• Setu bandha – hold block between legs @ groin – don’t press the abdomen forward it is bad for the uterus.
• Setu bandha with (4) bolsters is a very important pose. Belt legs on mid thigh and shins. If there is too much stress on the neck. Roll a blanket part way and place the roll under the shoulders and the rest of the blanket under the head. You can also practice by placing your legs in baddha konasana
• Do bharadvajasana on a chair or a blanket

Forward bending Sequence
The mind should be in a quiet state for stress (not anxiety).
• Dog pose head supported
• Adho mukha virasana with 3 bolsters – the toes should hang off of the back bolster and knees should be supported by the middle bolster, the forehead should be supported by the front bolster. The arms should be crossed with the hands holding the elbows. This is very calming.
• Paschimottanasana should be done with a chair and two bolsters. One under the buttocks and one supported by a chair and the floor . This way the head can be supported.
• Paschimottanasana – full. If you are in the full pose have the legs apart. Having the legs together generates heat and this is not good during menopause. Do not do this pose if you are having a hot flash.
• Janu sirsasana should be done the same way as Paschimottanasana.
• DO NOT do poses like Marichyasana I pose because the are too ‘constricting’ – you need to expand the body.

Hot flashes are different from night sweats. Hot flashes are an intense heat that can start at the knees and rise up or from the abdomen and rise up. You cannot function when one hits you. You have to stop and honor your body. Night sweats are when you wake up in the middle of the night soaking wet, you have to take your blankets off, maybe take your clothes off, and possible need a towel to dry off your body.

Ardha Matsyendrasana – Make sure that you are not pushing down on the uterus (muscle: PC ) Good book regarding the pelvic floor: “ Anatomy of the Pelvic Floor”

Viparita Karani & Cycle

Sitting bones should be dropping down – the abdomen should be releasing down between the frontal hip bones.

Create big loop in belt and place the loop on the big toes and stretch the legs out into supta konasana you can also strap the legs in swastikasana and then move to baddha konasana. Remember to keep the abdomen soft.

Wonderful Poses that calm the central nervous system

• Halasana with two chairs legs wide
• Supta Konasana two chair for students who cannot bring their feet to the floor.
• Savasana with legs apart
• Savasana with calves on two chairs legs wide

Mini sequences when you don’t have a lot of time to practice

• Upavista Konasana
• Prasarita padottanasana
• Ardha chandrasana at the wall

• Upavista konasana
• Supta padangustasana II
• Supta baddha konasana

• Adho mukha virasana with bolsters
• Janu sirsasana
• Paschimottanasana
• Upavista konasana
• Bharadvajasana (on chair or blanket – tones the adrenal glands)

• Inversions (very important)
• Sirsasana (or head supported downward dog)
• Sarvangasana (full or on chair)
• Halasana
• Viparita Karani cycle
• Savasana (calves on chairs)

Things to do when you are waking in middle of the night
• Focus on the breath
• Accept the present moment – instead of stressing about not being able to sleep
• Practice the “so ham” mantra
• Focus on slow soft exhalations – exhalations are calming.
• Viloma pranayama stage two

• Less fat
• More vegetables
• Whole grains – they can change your mental state

Other things you can do
• Surround yourself with positive things.
• Help brain fuzzyness and/or memory loss, you may have to start doing puzzles, sudoku, crossword, etc. to help bring your memory back.
• Walking relieves sluggishness (walking in the woods)

Menopause is a time for Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya
• Don’t be afraid to speak the truth. It is very important. Get rid of things in your life that steal your energy (people and things)

About essentialyogastudio

Roberta has been practicing yoga since 1987 with master yoga teachers Swami Padmananda, Patricia Walden, Manouso Manos, Zoë Stewart, Karin Stephan, Liz Owen and others. She continues to attend classes with her Iyengar teachers Zoe Stewart and Patricia Walden. Roberta spent five weeks studying yoga at the Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Memorial Institute in Pune, India during June 2011 and will be returning to continue her yoga studies at the Institute during February 2014