Crossing the River
Embracing Menopause Early
Menopause is something you know you will experience one day which means the most successful approach to achieving a graceful and nourishing menopause transition is to start nurturing and preparing yourself —no matter what age you are. Like puberty, menopause is just another of life’s many journeys, and like any other period of change, disarray and discomfort can arise simply because of imbalance.
The Stages of Menopause
In 2002, The Stages of Reproductive Ageing Workshop (STRAW) defined 7 stages of an adult women’s life into the following three broad categories: reproductive, menopausal transition, and post-menopause.
STRAW has created a more accurate and detailed map of menopause which gives women scientific reasons behind why they may feel out of balance for years after menopause and still be experiencing a range of symptoms they had hoped would be gone (Harlow et al., 2012 cited in Hunter and Smith, 2014. p.7).
This is useful to know as a woman or a yoga teacher or a body worker because each stage has it’s own characteristics, and we can learn how to support ourselves holistically with natural therapies and lifestyle changes, and if we choose we can avail ourselves of Western Medical knowledge and medicines like HRT.
Each woman’s path is her own to travel and knowledge is POWER.
The Stages of Menopause
- This stage in a woman’s life cycle where she is menstruating regularly every month
- Early menopause
- This is when a woman‘s hormones begin changing and she enters menopause around the ages of 40 to 44
- If a woman’s menstrual cycle stops before the age of 40 this is called early menopause; this can be a result of Premature Ovarian Insufficiency POI
- Medical intervention for illness, cancer, or as a result of surgery can also result in an early menopause
- This stage of menopause is when a woman’s monthly bleed begins to become irregular.
- The finite number of eggs in her ovaries is coming to an end. This can cause fluctuations in her sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone).
- During this phase, her bleeds may become irregular, lighter or heavier, longer or shorter, or they may be missed completely.
- Early Menopause Transition
- This stage is described in western medical terms as the cessation of a woman’s monthly cycle for 12 months (or 12 moons). This indicates she is no longer releasing eggs and is no longer able to have a baby.
- Late Menopause Transition
- More recent definitions define this phase as lasting longer and this may be as long as 5 years.
- Early post-menopause
- This stage describes a woman who has reached the non-reproductive phase of life after menopause
- This may take up to 7 years as her hormones shift and rebalance.
- Post-menopause is not a one-day event. This time can be characterised by hormonal imbalance and hot flushes.
- Late post-menopause
- This stage is when a woman’s hormones stabilise and a new equilibrium is reached
Years ago, I remember a lovely woman coming to my yoga class and expressing her struggle with hot flushes, night sweats, fatigue, and insomnia and asking how yoga might help, I really didn’t know what to say.
It certainly piqued my interest because at the time I was in my early forties, and I knew I was on the perimenopause path. I thought back to all my training, and yes, I’m a bit of a nerd so it took a while, and I realised much to my surprise that it had never been talked about or included in any of the Yoga Teacher Training I had done.
More to the point, I was having hot flushes myself at a yoga teacher training, and when I asked for ideas or support the teacher was unable to offer anything concrete.
I started researching and using my body as a laboratory. I discovered what I had been taught would help, in fact, didn’t, for example, forward folds were taught as cooling poses, yet for me, they made my hot flushes worse.
As I uncovered more I wanted to share what I had learned with other teachers so they could support and nourish themselves and their students through this amazing natural transformation.
Why Yoga for Menopause Well-being?
I wanted my menopause journey to be one where I took control of my destiny, my empowerment.
I wanted yoga to be at the heart of my approach.
I want to be part of the movement to break the negative narratives around menopause and aging, and replace or reframe this important siddhi with a conversation focusing on celebration, community, and connection with ourselves and each other.
As a yoga teacher, the safe and supported space you create can encourage and enable frank and honest discussion around the changes happening in a woman’s body and how yoga and other natural therapies can support us. Having the knowledge of what is on offer, including western medical support like HRT, will help each woman create her very own tailored well-being plan.
Yoga for Menopause Well-being Teacher Training
Yoga for Menopause Well-being training provides face-to-face teacher training to give you the knowledge and confidence to offer specialised classes and workshops to support women going through the different phases of menopause.
A yoga teacher who is trained in Yoga for Menopause Well-being can help women who are experiencing the common signs of the change. There are practice sequences to help relieve, manage and reduce hot flushes and night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, brain fog, stress and anxiety, irritability, and mood swings.
As a woman moves through menopause, perimenopause, the menopause climax, and post-menopause, her body requires different support which is why muscle strengthening and bone density building classes are also included.
Are you Ready?
Learn how to
- Anchor your learnings within the canon of yoga philosophy, i.e. The Koshas, The Yoga Sutras, The 10 Wisdom Goddesses (Mahavidyas)
- Develop a deep knowledge and understanding of the biological, physiological, and emotional shifts that can affect women going through the change (peri, climax, and post-menopause
- Use proven strategies to address 3 groups of common physical and emotional signs of menopause
- Learn to teach a class designed to improve muscle and bone strength and be able to offer modifications for students with osteopenia and osteoporosis
- Gain the confidence to build your own Yoga For Menopause Well-being classes, workshops, and retreats using the menopause class or workshop template
- Discover that the way you teach, language, and the practices you choose, can ease the struggle of many women
- Learn to teach women in a way that helps them to live through the menopause transition fully aware and embodied
Find out more
Hunter, M. and Smith, M., (2014), Managing Hot Flushes and Night Sweats. London. Routledge.