This healing yoga practice is specifically designed to help mitigate the challenges and symptoms of menopause.
ONETV and Healing Yoga's Deborah Devine will be participating in OMTO 2017 on Sunday, September 10 outside at the Distillery District. Get the details here.
French actress Brigitte Bardot said that it's sad to get old, but it's great to ripen! With our life expectancy increasing every year, I much prefer to look at aging through Brigittes' perspective.
The "Change" can be a journey that is long and difficult, with many physically challenging symptoms. There can also be many mental and emotional challenges. However, as Boomers with zip, we Zoomers can use these challenges as invitations to slow down and look at our lives more deeply, and see how we can open up to new options in eating and movement.
In many cultures, wisdom and age are honoured and revered. Our challenge is to make the passage enjoyable as we transition through into new territory in our lives, and we can do this by honouring ourselves with the gift of self-care.
How Yoga Helps
Yoga is very effective at dealing with the wide ranging challenges and symptoms of menopause and andropause. A Gentle Yoga practice mitigates the effects of stress, by balancing the nervous system. This is the beginning of the creation of a space for deep healing to take place.
Yoga balances the endocrine system, reducing symptoms and bringing balance to the mind as well. A restorative Asana practice that cools the nervous system is an excellent approach to managing symptoms including moodiness, depression, anxiety, insomnia, hot flashes, and many more.
During this time we are experiencing a whole series of hormonal changes, and these imbalances do not happen in isolation. They affect our emotional state, our mental performance and our overall well-being. While Yoga is helping our physical bodies we are also engaged in healing on the emotional and mental planes.
Here we are in the 3rd and 4th acts of our lives, and at this stage our bodies are literally slowing us down and putting us on pause. Yoga is a practice that takes us inward, into the body, where we can discover new ways of being, that many times exceed our highest expectation of what we are capable of…. And it also takes us inward into the quietest place inside ourselves. This is where we find peace… and stillness … and wisdom.
Physically, the practice helps balance the endocrine system, which calms the hormones, and cools down hot flashes while evening out moodiness, irritability, and discomfort.
Taking a very gentle practice strategy and spending more time in the rest and digest aspect of the nervous system is key. Once we have established that "relaxed" is our natural state, then so many other issues and symptoms become much more manageable.
Yoga Best Practices for Menopause/Andropause
Here are some practical ideas for dealing with and managing symptoms:
Use every opportunity in your asana practice to go into a cycle of this truly healing pose. As we did in the video, we take the heels together and let the knees splay apart. If we do five minutes legs up the wall this way, and then five minutes seated, and then 15 minutes of the reclined version, we will feel a positive shift of energy in your body and mind. These poses move heavy and dormant energy that may be stored in the hips and legs, activating and balancing the 1st and 2nd chakras, which govern our sense of stability and creativity.
Use the Sitali breath to act as a cooling breath. Imagine a cool ice blue light coming through the surface area of the tongue exposed to the air you are inhaling. Breathing through the left nostril while gently holding the opposite nostril can be an excellent way to activate the body's air conditioning system.
The challenge is to allow yourself the time that is necessary to "do nothing". Once you are seated in meditation, just watch the breath and observe the thoughts that come through the mind with complete dispassion. No judgment or criticism of ourselves, and no getting involved in the stories. There's just observation of feelings that come up and release. Looking at the thoughts and the process of thinking as separate from you at your deepest and highest sense of self, and releasing those thoughts and feelings associated with them.
Start with five minutes and work up to 60 minutes over time. Or try two thirty-minute sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening.
Giving ourselves time to document, to "Pause" and reflect on where we are and express ourselves on paper can be a tremendously healing exercise. Expressing and releasing our thoughts and feelings this way allows us to digest and process emotions as well. We can acknowledge where we are and bring awareness to the present moment and with our situation and accept things and be ok with it… ok with letting go of what has already come… accepting the mistakes and unmitigated disasters… all of it brought us here today. Allowing yourself to open up to what is possible for the future, for your "encore act".
Look at the future with peace of mind and allow yourself to be fully present with and alright with "right now"… open to the possibilities of the future… know that we carry so much wisdom and experience and stamina we have developed until this point…and open to the possibility of sharing your gifts with others in a way that is joyful and peaceful.
It's a time of change and shifting… shifting of responsibilities, relationships… of shifting perceptions and priorities… a shift away from procreation of the species to creating our best way of living with purpose and fulfillment and enjoyment of loving relationships and finding meaningful ways of offering ourselves in service to others.
Let your journal be a place where you express and release the old, and imagine and conjure up the new!
Bring more cooling foods such as cucumbers and avocados into your diet, and notice how much your whole body responds to this kind of nourishment. Hydrate with lemon water or cucumber water.
Swap out coffee and try tea. There is a whole universe of flavours out there to explore.
Eliminate alcohol. Try new non-alcoholic juices and smoothies to keep it healthy and interesting for the palate.
Menopause and Andropause are not the end, rather they are just the beginning of a new chapter, and when we engage in these self-care practices, we can look forward to more joy and improved quality of life in all areas of our life!
Following these practices, we can all say goodbuy to the Seven Dwarves of Menopause and Andropause: Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful, and Psycho!
On Sunday, September 10, join ONETV and Deborah Devine at OMTO for an easy and restorative Healing Yoga Practice that will calm the mind, ground the body gently, energize the heart, and let our spirits soar in celebration of getting Fit For Fall. All ages and all fitness levels welcome. Modifications and variations will be offered for all poses.
Date: Sunday, September 10
Time: 3:20pm – 4pm
Location: Outdoors at the Toronto Distillery District, 55 Mill Street
Event is free – Everyone welcome
Please bring your own yoga mat to participate
More info: www.omto.ca
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