Menopause is a natural rite of passage for women. However, in our modern-day culture, many women can experience great discomfort and challenge through this phase of their lives. In my latest blog, I explore this phenomenon and share with you the potential gift of menopause and my passion for a holistic approach to menopause including yoga, and how we can not only manage but thrive through menopause.
Modern-day menopause experience
When I went through my menopause, I had no idea of the changes that I was in for.
Many women don’t.
There has until recently, been a lot of silence around menopause. As there has been a lot of silence about menstruation.
More recently I have noticed there is more attention given in the mainstream media. I also hear many midlife women having conversations with friends, family and intimate partners about their struggles and symptoms.
In my view, it is great that we are starting to talk about menopause. Most importantly so women do not suffer alone and in silence.
Despite this upsurge in information available about menopause and the potential struggles and symptoms we can go through, there is in my view not enough holistic advice available for women as to what we can do to care for ourselves and navigate this potent and powerful transition.
I often hear the only choice women are given by mainstream health services is anti-depressants or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) or the recently rebranded Menopause Hormone Therapy (MHT)
Menopause is natural and I would argue a necessary rite of passage into our wisdom years. So what are we doing by medicating the process?!!
Especially when there are so many effective holistic practices available to help women navigate the transition. For example, Acupuncture and Herbs as well as Naturopathy can be very effective at bringing greater balance to a woman’s body and addressing any underlying imbalances.
It frustrates me enormously when I see the efficacy of these modalities questioned, based on the fact that they are not ‘evidence based’ due to the limited double-blind trials, which are the gold standard of medical research.
The thing is, these modalities are effective because they are not a ‘one size fits all’ therapy or treatment, and so they do not fit into this scientific paradigm. They support and respond to an individual’s constitution.
Whilst all women who are born with ovaries go through menopause, we don’t have the same experiences and symptoms. Our menopause experience is largely a reflection of how we have lived our life so far.
And when we come to midlife, a bright shining light is shone on any imbalances. In this way, menopause can be seen as a gift, if we are willing to do the work to address all that we have not taken care of so far in our life.
About my Journey
I thought it might be helpful to share a little about me and why I am here writing this.
I am 55 years old and am now post-menopausal after having my last bleed in 2014. I have a Psychology and Science degree and a PhD in Educational Research. Up until the peri-menopause transition I held many leadership roles in social health and education organisations. In my late 30’s I began to find these leadership roles extremely stressful, particularly at the time my parents were aging and needing care, and my children were entering adolescence.
This lead to an extremely challenging and life-changing menopause transition.
I experienced many extreme symptoms: adrenal health crises, hot flushes/flashes and night sweats, insomnia, relationship breakdown (and breakthrough!), loss of my leadership career and all the identity changes that this brought.
Essential I did a 180-degree flip in my whole life.
At the time I met some key mentors who helped me navigate these profound changes. I used natural therapies including Naturopathy, TCM, and homeopathy to support my body through the different phases of the changes.
I also turned to my yoga practice more than ever before and discovered a feminine approach to my practice. These yoga practices were key for my transition.
It was through my peri-menopause transition that I trained to be a yoga teacher. I aligned my life and my work with my heart’s passion, leaving the corporate world, where my integrity were no longer aligned.
Yogic Self-care for Menopause
There are so many tools and resources within the teachings of yoga that can help women navigate the profound changes that menopause can bring. I now have many yoga offerings where I share with women the yogic wisdom that can support our menopause.
You might be surprised to hear that not all yoga practices support a woman in mid-life. In fact, some practices can be too strong, drying and depleting for our bodies. We need to adapt our exercise routine so that it is more nourishing, and supportive for our bodies through the changes.
One of the programs I teach is Lunar Yoga (both online and in-person) where we learn to adapt our yoga practice to the phases of the moon. When our monthly menstrual cycle stops, it is very healing and supportive for women to follow the cyclical wisdom of the moon.
Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, has many self-care practices which support and nourish a woman through daily routines and specific practices that help us navigate the profound and unsettling changes that menopause can bring.
In my experience, many women are suffering in silence. It is so important that we connect with other women, share our stories, be witnessed and heard, and feel supported. We need to lift the shame and the aloneness. In all my yoga for menopause events, we have sacred women’s circle where share our stories and the innate wisdom that emerges at this time.
If you would like to be kept up to date with yoga for menopause events, sign up to join my waitlist here. I would love to welcome you to an event very soon.