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Updated: Monday, 14 May 2012, 11:46 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 14 May 2012, 11:43 AM EDT
For women, fitness needs change during different stages in their lives.
Kelly O'Connell from Yoga One joined The Rhode Show to explain the stages.
STAGE ONE: MENSTRUATION
Theses are caused by an overabundance of the prostaglandin. When this hormone is released into the bloodstream, the uterus spasms which causes cramps.
Poses that help to relieve cramps can be very individual so its important to experiment with different poses to find the ones that work for you.
Pose: Supta Baddha Konasana - This restorative pose relieves cramps, spasms and heaviness in the uterus. It is beneficial for lower back aches, takes pressure off the pelvic
area and opens your chest which in turn clears the mind and calms the nerves.
Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS, which can be aggravated by stress, is characterized by uncomfortable mental and physical symptoms. Though most experts believe that it is
caused by an imbalance of hormones, they also consider psychological, genetic, nutritional, and behavioral factors are likely to be involved.
A consistent yoga practice will help to decrease the frequency of PMS symptoms. Here is a great pose for PMS:
Pose: Reclining Big Toe pose (with strap) -This pose helps to relieve lower back pain and ease cramps and general pelvic discomfort.
STAGE TWO: PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH
Pregnancy Yoga keeps your body strong and flexible at a time when a women has to contend with additional weight and overly active hormones. Yoga poses can give help to combat the fatigue, backache, digestive disorders and headaches that can occur during pregnancy.
While, the breathing exercises practice in yoga are extremely valuable during labor and delivery.
The meditation aspect of yoga can help to calm fears and anxieties about the months and year to come. Many yoga poses can help during pregnancy. Yoga teaches us to listen to our bodies which is very important during pregnancy. During this time it is crucial not to over do it.
Poses: Warrior II, Triangle - All standing poses are good preparation for for childbirth since they require stamina and determination.
Half Moon (Against wall) - This pose helps relieve morning sickness and opens the pelvis and chest. It keeps your legs strong and engages your abdominals without putting
pressure on the baby.
Hero Pose (with arms over head and cow face arms)- Helps ease swelling in the legs and prevent varicose veins. The different arm positions are excellent for keeping your chest open and shoulders flexible.
Twists help ease lower back pain, however it is important to put no inside pressure on the baby. In addition, it is important to avoid poses that stretch the muscles too much, particularly the abdominals. Mom’s to be are more at risk for strains, pulls, and other injuries because the pregnancy hormone relaxin, which allows the uterus to expand, also softens connective tissue.
During this time women can experience depression, anxiety and impatience about getting their old body back. By doing yoga we learn to accept things the way they are at this
moment. Yoga teaches us that our emotions and worries come and go and that we are all perfect exactly the way we are.
Pose: Tadasana - This pose encourages good posture which will ultimately help prevent back problems. It is important at this time to find Tadasana in everything you do.
Stress Induced Infertility:
Research has shown that for up to 40% of couples, no discernible reason for infertility can be found. With this group it is believed the effects of stress may be the cause.
“What we do know now is that when stress-reduction techniques are employed, something happens in some women that allows them to get pregnant when they couldn't get pregnant before," says Allen Morgan, MD, director of Shore Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Lakewood, N.J.
"Twenty years ago the rate of unexplained infertility was between 10% and 20%. Today I see up to 40%. Women's bodies aren't different, but their stress levels are, and combined with the ticking of the biological clock, I believe it sets the stage for infertility," says Morgan.
Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety.
STAGE THREE: MENOPAUSE
At each stage of a women’s life active hormones are the cause for the symptoms that are experienced. The same holds true for menopause.
Hormonal fluctuations during perimenopause can lead to symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia and fuzzy thinking.
Poses to help menopause symptoms:
Relieves anxiety, tones and relaxes nervous system. Relieves hot flashes.
Calms jittery nerves, relaxes mind and brings a sense of release and relief.
Relaxes the nervous system, relieving anxiety and tension.
Grounds you in the moment, calms and soothes your mind, relieves anxiety and balances the nervous system.
Wide Angle Forward Bend
Clams the mind and relieves stress that can
cause hot flashes.
Great for your nervous system, increases circulation to the brain and helps relieve agitation.
By soothing the sympathetic nervous system and easing tension this pose can help combat insomnia.
This pose has some of the same mind clearing benefits of head stand if head stand is not in your practice.
Stimulates blood flow to the brain, many women find this pose helps to relieve hot flashes.
Clears you mind, increases blood flow to the brain, revitalizes your whole body to help you think and act more clearly.
Balances your endocrine system and relieves nervous energy and insomnia.
Brings freshly oxygenated blood to your head to focus your mind.
After menopause, some women suffer from incontinence and/or a dropped bladder. In addition, the decline in estrogen can put women at a higher risk for osteoporosis. Yoga can help with these ailments as well.
Certain yoga poses strengthen the pelvic floor and increase circulation to the pelvic area.
In addition, core work, which is an integral part of a yoga practice, can prevent and even reverse these symptoms.
Weaker bones can become a problem after menopause.
Yoga is a weight-bearing exercise which strengthens your bones and helps to prevent osteoporosis.
Yoga increases strength and flexibility, calms the mind and speaks to our spirit. By soothing, balancing and rejuvenating each part of us yoga brings us to wholeness at every stage of our lives.