Yoga Could Be The Key To Alleviating Dreaded Menopausal Symptoms

Yoga is definitely considered a workout, especially if you're advanced enough to practice ashtanga or do a handstand scorpion pose. While you can get seriously fit by practicing yoga, it is also known to relieve many body discomforts.

Certain yoga poses can help with period cramps, and some can even help your hair grow by increasing the blood flow in your scalp. The ancient practice has been around for thousands of years, and its benefits are backed by modern science. "Overall, [yoga] has components that can help with flexibility, strength, balance, and stability," Edward Laskowski, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, told Everyday Health.

The yoga magic doesn't stop there, as it can also help alleviate those dreaded menopausal symptoms such as increased anxiety, lack of concentration, depression, and others. All of these are actually symptoms of hormonal fluctuations that happen when a woman's body enters menopause, and yoga could be the key to helping you overcome them.

Yoga as the natural remedy

Menopause and all its symptoms are an unavoidable part of the aging process for women. The female body starts producing fewer hormones as it enters menopause — estrogen and progesterone, specifically — and that's what causes all the uncomfortable symptoms. While practicing yoga won't replace the decreased hormones, it could help you feel better.

Research published in Nursing & Health Sciences (via PubMed) found that practicing yoga for 20 weeks helped women with their menopausal symptoms, especially in the period before and after actual menopause. Other than that, the practice also bettered their overall health. If you're looking to alleviate some of your menopausal discomforts in a more natural way, incorporating some yoga techniques into your everyday routine can be greatly beneficial.

However, different women have different menopausal symptoms. Also, not everyone has the same physical agility and level of fitness needed to execute harder yoga poses. If you're in your pre-menopause phase, it would be best to start practicing yoga as soon as possible. "If you practice yoga before menopause, then all the poses that are especially useful for coping with uncomfortable symptoms are already familiar, and you can reach for them like an old friend," Suza Francina, author of "Yoga & The Wisdom Of Menopause: A Guide to Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Health at Midlife and Beyond," shared with Yoga Journal.

Yoga practices to help you ease menopausal discomfort

Still, yoga can help you even if you've already hit menopause and are experiencing the symptoms. Hot flashes are a common annoyance, for which yoga instructor Patricia Walden advises practicing cooling poses like the downward-facing dog (per Yoga Journal). This pose can also help with memory and concentration problems.

Anxiety and insomnia can be relieved by forward bend poses, according to Walden, while mood swings can improve with backbends. "[Backbends] stimulate the adrenals and massage them into action. Also, the heart and lungs open and take in more oxygen," she explained to Yoga Journal. If you're struggling with depression, you can benefit from practicing inverted poses like the shoulderstand and the plow. "By turning everything upside down, inversions influence your emotional being in a positive way," Walden stated.

Make sure you ease yourself into practicing if you've never done yoga before, as none of the poses are ever supposed to be uncomfortable to the point of pain. Also, don't give up if certain poses don't do for you what they might have done for someone else. Experiment until you find poses that work best for you and your needs.