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Menopause Yoga

Life has a rhythm which alters over time. The effects of change reveal themselves slowly but are initiated as small, imperceptible shifts taking please beneath the mantle. Nature responds to the subtle, often with graceful surrender but equally with acute harshness. All her senses hum to the tropes of elemental reconfigurations; she is attuned to each sustaining and declining note.

As human doings we are somewhat less awake to subtle change. Our desire to control outcomes and hold on to a continuation is at odds with nature's innate capacity to flow from the unseen. So how would it be to actively bring more attention to these rhythmic shifts and gain ground in preparing for them? Would the tender acceptance of change, an admission of its presence and a gradual preparation enable us to embrace the veiled rewards and emerge less scathed from each transition?

From the moment we enter the world we are on a trajectory towards old age. The ageing process effects everything - depressing as it might seem to say it out loud. The realisation and acceptance of this fact is the key to navigating the path with less stumbles. As women, if we are fortunate enough to live into old age, we will go through 'the menopause'. Some women begin this journey earlier than the statistically average age of 45. This may be as a consequence of surgical removal of the womb, ovaries or both, (hysterectomy or oophorectomy) or due to illness or a condition known as premature ovarian insufficiency,;(POI is defined as having fewer eggs available for fertilisation which tragically effects 1 in 100 women under the age of 40.) The menopause is an individual journey; no two women will experience the transition from their reproductive phase to wise woman phase in the same way.

But why is it important, surely our mothers and grandmothers just got on with it, what's all the hype about? The menopause is a term which encompasses 3 phases: the lead up to (peri-menopause); the scientific definition of the change (menopause itself, 12 month cessation of a menstrual cycle) and the period following on from that (post menopause). The transition is more than mere biology though, it's a sociological, psychological and spiritual shift in a woman's life and there is no single guide map to follow.

Let's introduce a little Hindu mythology here. At the big bang (or big OM) Lord Brahma sits with all his 5 heads steeped in confused contemplation not knowing how to create a world out of the disorganised swirl of chaos that surrounds him. The Goddess Saraswati (she who flows) arises as the answer on his tongue and her words cascade forth as speech uttering "through knowledge". From knowledge comes creative action.

That moment of contemplation is a pause that provides time to think about what comes next and how best to approach it. What skills do we need to learn, what tools should we acquire and who might we call on for support? In the pause awaits an opportunity to become poised, primed, balanced and ready to enter the next phase, whilst all the while acknowledging that we can't prepare for all eventualities. Knowledge, it seems, isn't in fact King but Queen!

"What you take into the menopause is amplified during the menopause."

Petra Coveney- Menopause Yoga

The menopause is a transitional change and our attitude to change depends on what we know and understand about the outcomes and whether they seem attractive or not. Some changes are optional but the menopause is a non negotiable. However, what we enter into this phase of life with definitely colours our passage through it. And this is perhaps the most commanding reason for preparation.

Venturing into this unfurling biologically driven landscape with relevant, up-to-date information along with awareness of current options available (medical and holistic resources) and places to go for assistance to overcome potential hurdles is essential. But also creatively cultivating a desire to listen in and consistently develop your own personal insight guided by advice from individual stories of those you trust and resonate with - this can actively curate the poise and discernment you need. If we are poised, we are on the verge of being ready.

Instead of surrendering to the myriad of symptoms (at least 30 and counting) women can choose to take back sovereignty and actively load their unqiue voice to the menopause awareness momentum.

"Menopausal symptoms affect more than 75% of women. So, whilst not all women going through the menopause will experience menopausal symptoms, the majority will and over 25% describe severe symptoms."

BMS (British Menopause Society)

The reclaiming of power and agency over the menopause transition will build a culture that supports, empowers and enables other women to do the same. This is something that has previously been denied to all women and is important because many contemporary women will now live the a third of their lives post menopause!