1. Reclining Bound Angle
- Lie flat on the floor with your feel on the floor and your knees bent.
- Open your knees away from each other and allow them to fan out to either side.
- Allow your feet to roll to their outer edges and press the bottoms of your feet together.
- Place yoga blocks or rolled blankets under your knees if you need support or feel any strain on your hip or knee joints.
2. Sphinx Pose
Sphinx pose is an easy heart opener that promotes energy, vitality, and feelings of joy.
- Lie on your stomach with your legs long and your arms by your sides.
- Bring your elbows under your shoulders and allow your palms to rest flat on the floor.
- Press your pelvis down into the floor to release tension in your low back and glutes.
- Press your chest forward as you lift it up.
- Keep your neck and spine aligned as you look straight ahead.
3. Legs Up the Wall
Legs up the wall is one of our favorite supported inversions. It’s a cooling pose that works with gravity to get blood flowing out of your feet and legs and into your heart and head. This is ideal for anyone with swollen legs and feet, varicose veins, or a job that has her on her feet all day. It’s also rejuvenating and promotes relaxation. So the next time you wake up at 4 a.m. with anxiety or hot flashes, try legs up the wall to help ease you back into restfulness.
- Lie on the floor in the fetal position with your sitz bones against a wall.
- Gently roll over onto your back while lifting your legs into the air.
- Rest your legs against the wall for support and enjoy the feeling of relief.
4. Seated Wide Angle
Seated wide angle helps reduce heavy bleeding by lifting and toning the uterus. It also increases circulation and stretches hamstrings, which are often the culprit of low-back pain.
- Prop your hips on a block or folded towel or blanket.
- Stretch your legs out in front of you.
- Move your right leg out to the right and your left leg out to the left.
- Sit up straight and keep your spine in alignment.
- Gently fold over from the waist until you can rest your hands on the floor. You can use an upright yoga block under your arms or hands if you’re not yet flexible enough to touch the floor or if you want extra support.
5. Downward Facing Dog
Downward facing dog is definitely the most active pose on this list for perimenopause, so be gentle when you try it. This one eases brain fog, improves memory, increases bone density, increases oxygen to the brain, and enhances alertness.
- Get on all-fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Press your hips back and straighten your legs so that you’re folded forward with your feet and hands both on the floor. You’ll be in an upside-down V shape.
- Press your hands into the floor as you slightly rotate your biceps outward. Continue to press your hips toward the sky and your chest toward your legs. You should feel a good stretch in your shoulders, hamstrings, and calves.
Does Yoga Really Help?
Some studies have shown that premenopausal women who practice yoga report an overall better quality of life, including improved sexual function, less hot flash interference, better sleep, decreased anxiety, and fewer depressive episodes. Part of it is the exercise factor. Keeping your body moving helps improve circulation, regulate mood, strengthen the body, and promote restful sleep.
There’s also a mental factor. Practicing yoga teaches presence and shows you how to stay calm in the face of uncomfortable or unfamiliar experiences. Many yoga practices use pranayama, or breath, to focus your attention on the present. This makes yoga a kind of moving meditation. (Meditation is also a helpful way to ease menopause symptoms.)
Practicing mindfulness during yoga can make you better at applying it to everyday life. So your response to hot flashes, anxiety, or emotional distress may be less reactive and more measured.
The Best Kinds of Yoga for Perimenopause
The goal of yoga for menopause symptoms is balancing the nervous system and cooling the body. With that in mind, we generally recommend staying away from Bikram, hatha, or hot yoga. These practices tend to be intense and have the goal of creating additional heat in the body. For premenopausal women, too much hot yoga may actually exacerbate symptoms.
Instead, look for a light vinyasa, flow, yin, or restorative yoga class. These use gentle and mindful movements to keep you grounded, connect you to your body, and relax the mind. Vinyasa or flow yoga classes will involve more consistent movement and may be more of a workout. Yin and restorative yoga classes, on the other hand, tend to focus on holding restful and supported poses for longer periods of time to promote relaxation.
Whether you’ve been practicing for years or you’ve never even seen a yoga mat, there’s something to be gained from adding some gentle yoga to your daily routine to help ease menopause symptoms.