Anxiety can be challenging at any stage of life, but when it hits during peri/menopause, it can feel like a full-blown hurricane. From excessive worrying, feeling on edge and easily irritated, to physical symptoms such as heart palpitations shortness of breath and headaches, anxiety can show up in countless ways. Even the most confident of women can find themselves reduced to jibbering wrecks when anxiety strikes. At its worst, anxiety can lead to full blown panic attacks with intense episodes of fear and a sense of impending doom. But fear not, because if you're looking for a natural and holistic approach to this debilitating symptom then try yoga for menopause anxiety relief.
Yoga for menopause anxiety relief
You might be skeptical if you've never tried yoga before, but let me assure you that this ancient practice offers a completely natural solution without any pills or prescriptions, and it’s one that has is changing the lives of countless peri/menopausal women. All that’s needed is a yoga mat and a few props from around the house, and get ready to tap into the most effective way to alleviate anxiety in peri/menopause.
How does yoga ease anxiety?
Yoga works wonders by combining physical movement, controlled breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques. This powerful combination activates our body's relaxation response, counteracting the stress response associated with anxiety. By triggering our parasympathetic nervous system, yoga reduces the production of stress hormones like cortisol, helping us to stay cool, calm, and collected, even when the world seems to be spinning out of control. And boy does it spin in peri/menopause!
But that's not all. Yoga also releases endorphins, those wonderful mood-boosting chemicals that counteract the low moods that are so often triggered by anxiety. Plus, the gentle stretching and movement in yoga helps release negative emotions and promote body awareness; enabling us to recognise and release the physical tension associated with anxiety.
Is the breath a secret weapon to managing anxiety?
When anxiety takes hold, our breathing becomes shallow and rapid, fueling the stress response and plunging us even deeper into anxiety. But the good news is that yoga's slow, deep, and rhythmic controlled breathing can save the day and help manage anxiety.
By activating our body's relaxation response, deep breathing helps to slow down our heart rate, calm our mind, and bring our anxiety under control - often within minutes!
The breath even has a profound impact on our emotions. By consciously regulating it, we can regulate our emotions too, and achieve a better emotional balance.
Plus, slowing down our breathing helps diffuse those irrational thoughts that constantly feed into anxiety. By focusing on the breath during yoga, we shift our attention away from all our external worries, and bring ourselves to the present moment; providing a much-needed distraction from worries and stress.
Can Restorative Yoga kick anxiety to the curb?
If the idea of lying still and doing nothing appeals to you (and let's be honest, who wouldn't love that?), then Restorative Yoga is the perfect solution for easing anxiety. This style of yoga is like a big warm hug for your nervous system, as it focuses on gentle, supported poses that are held for extended periods; inducing a deep state of relaxation and calm. Instead of fancy poses or intense workouts, you get to indulge in deep relaxation, and all that’s needed are a few props from around the home to enable you to settle into blissful positions for 10-20 minutes.
By activating our parasympathetic nervous system, Restorative Yoga counteracts the fight-or-flight response associated with stress, which simply melts away those anxious knots in our shoulders and stomach. Poof! They’re simply gone.
But it's not just about relaxation. Restorative Yoga also helps release physical tension and discomfort that often accompanies anxiety. By consciously letting go of this tension, we can experience a corresponding release of mental and emotional tension; leaving us feeling lighter and more at peace.
Plus, taking time for ourself and allowing our body to rest is a wonderful act of self-care which counterbalances the stress and self-criticism that often comes with anxiety. Even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes daily, surrendering to a simple Restorative Yoga pose is a great way to invest in our health and wellbeing.
What’s the ultimate stress-buster in yoga?
Anxiety can be utterly exhausting, wreaking havoc on our sleep patterns, and leaving us feeling even more stressed and fatigued.
Say goodbye to that anxiety-induced fatigue, and hello to Yoga Nidra - also known as "yogic sleep”, or pure bliss as I like to call it.
Yoga Nidra is like a deep, restful nap for our mind and body. All that’s required is to lie down in a cosy, comfortable position and be guided by a soothing voice. But here’s the thing: as we sink deeper and deeper into relaxation, our brainwaves shift from their usual frantic state to a place of pure relaxation and calm. It’s like drifting off to dreamland.
For during Yoga Nidra our brainwaves slow down, our heart rate mellows out, and our stress levels take a complete nose-dive. It’s like our fears and worries are being massaged away, leaving us feeling calm and peaceful.
But there’s more: Yoga Nidra not only helps us to catch up on some much-needed Zzzzs, it also replenishes our energy levels too. It’s like hitting the reset button and waking up refreshed and rejuvenated.
It’s hard to believe but just one hour of Yoga Nidra is the equivalent of three hours of deep, nourishing sleep - and all without prescription pills!
Can meditation be your path to calmness?
Meditation is another essential component of yoga, and it's a powerhouse when it comes to combating anxiety. By slowing down our heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the production of stress hormones, meditation is the perfect remedy for peri/menopausal anxiety.
But you don’t have to sit crossed legged for hours on end. Simple, short bouts of meditation of just 5 minutes can activate our body's relaxation response; thereby countering the physiological and psychological effects of anxiety.
Meditation also helps us develop the ability to recognise our anxious thoughts and emotions as ‘passing events’, rather than getting consumed by them. By better understanding our thought patterns and recognising them as ‘temporary’, we can challenge our negative thinking and cultivate a more balanced and rational perspective. Ultimately, meditation helps us create distance from those anxious thoughts and reduces our reactivity to them, giving us the upper hand against anxiety.
How can Menopause Yoga help anxiety?
There are countless styles of yoga these days but if you’re struggling with peri/menopause, it makes sense to practice yoga that’s especially designed to combat your symptoms, right?
Menopause Yoga, or more commonly known as Yoga for Menopause, is designed to support women through the transition into menopause. By addressing all the physical, mental, and emotional changes of this phase of life, Menopause Yoga helps manage symptoms like anxiety, hot flushes, joint pain, brain fog, low moods, poor sleep, and many more. Overall, it promotes wellbeing and enhances our overall quality of life during this stage.
With few yoga teachers qualified to teach Menopause Yoga, however, finding specialist classes can be difficult. But thanks to unique, online platforms like My Yoga Journey, women can now enjoy specialist Menopause Yoga classes all from the comfort of their own home. This factor alone helps to relieve the social anxiety of stepping into a public yoga class.
All the online classes in My Yoga Journey are curated to address menopause symptoms and blend a variety of yoga styles, breathing techniques, and meditation, with lifestyle recommendations. With some classes as short as 10 -15 minutes, it's easy to fit them into a busy schedule and enjoy a more regular practice, compared to traditional 1 hour classes.
Furthermore, My Yoga Journey also comes with its very own guided progress path that tracks an individual’s menopause symptoms. This enables members to experience a real sense of achievement of not only having mastered yoga but having conquered many of their symptoms too.
Plus, with a buoyant and supportive community, members feel less isolated and able to share their menopause struggles and celebrate their milestones on and off the mat.
Let yoga be your new ally against menopausal anxiety
With its unique combination of meditation, and breathwork, yoga has emerged as the ultimate solution for peri/menopausal anxiety. Unlike most prescription medications that simply mask or supress the symptoms of anxiety, yoga can address the root causes and comes without the risk of adverse side-effects.
Peri/menopause is a natural phase of life, and opting for a holistic approach allows women to embrace and navigate this transition with a greater sense of empowerment and understanding. Ultimately, yoga encourages women to actively invest in their selfcare and wellbeing, and isn’t it time we did just that?
The next time anxiety knocks on your door, grab your yoga mat, take a deep breath, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and serenity. Let yoga guide you through the ups and downs of peri/menopause and empower you to find calmness and balance amidst the storms.
Guest blog by Julie Ann Garrido – Founder, Yourself Yoga
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