Although yoga is non-discriminatory, judging by the disproportionate ratio of females to males in my classes, it's safe to say that women are more apt to take advantage of the health benefits this practice brings to the mind, body and spirit. This month's column is for women - to remind us how yoga can ease our journey through premenstrual symptoms, pregnancy, and the peri and postmenopausal phases.
In October, our Ayurvedic doctors will once again visit Inner Light Yoga. They remind us that lifestyle factors such as poor nutrition, stress, bad relationships, overwork and lack of exercise can and do contribute to PMS and menopausal problems. These negative influences disrupt the body's natural rhythm.
Hormone imbalances can be corrected by asanas (postures or poses) and breathing exercises that create a state of relaxation, not unlike the feeling you have after a long deserved vacation. A simple relaxation pose, called the Child's Pose (a fetal-like posture) helps to relieve anxiety and curb irritability. To help with hot flashes and night sweats, try an asana to increase circulations, such as Downward Dog. Rhythmic breathing calms you down, and relieves some of the symptoms of menopause.
The practice of yoga trains us to listen to our bodies. The more inward we turn, the more we become ourselves. As we women journey through our natural rites of passages, if we incorporate asanas into our days to overcome the hormonal bumps in the road, we will be filled with renewed optimism in the life cycle, each month.
And, I promise, a future column will show the benefits for men.