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Yoga for menopause and weight loss (with video) Part 1

Yoga is fantastic for slimming

Yoga is a fantastic method of exercise for weight loss and can be highly beneficial during menopause. It is ideal if you prefer a gentle, meditative approach rather than high-octane gym routines. The essential aim of Yoga is to bring the whole body into balance. Different asanas (postures) target different physiological functions and health conditions, and these are combined into a routine to suit individual needs.

I’ve done a bit of research and found that a number of asanas can be beneficial during menopause and at the same time help weight loss.

If you wish to try yoga, please speak with your doctor first and make enquiries with a professional teacher of yoga if you have any current health conditions or a history of such, particularly if they include back problems, high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. Some of these asanas might not be suitable for your condition.

For books on yoga, I recommend the following as especially relevant to my visitors:

Yoga and the Wisdom of Menopause by Suza Francina 
or
Peaceful Weight Loss Through Yoga by Bhanu Brandt Passalaccqua
(both with free delivery worldwide if you follow the links above!)

Surya Namaskar – Salutation to the Sun – a complete work-out

This is a complete sequence done in 12 stages and it is traditionally performed at sunrise.

The benefits of Salute to the Sun yoga asana sequence

The sequence as a whole tones the whole body. It increases fat burning and helps to detoxify the body. It balances hormonal functions, reducing hot flashes and particularly helping to improve  thyroid function. Abdominal muscles are strengthened by the postures. It is good in fighting insomnia and promoting good quality sleep. The nervous system is toned and anxiety decreases, to be replaced by calmness.

One woman describes Surya Namaskar as the panacea that helped her through the whole of menopause. She did six cycles every day as well as going for walks.

A written description follows below, but here is a flowing performance of Surya Namaskar with lovely musical accompaniment:

or if you prefer spoken instructions:

 The twelve steps of the yoga Salutation to the Sun

One cycle of the sequence is performed as follows:

  1. Stand with feet together and hands together as if in prayer. Breathe out as far as you can.
  2. Breathe in deeply and at the same time stretch arms up above head, palms upward. Arch your back and stretch a bit further.
  3. Breathe out and while doing so bend forward, keeping your back and legs straight (you can bend your knees a little if you need). Bend down as far as you can without undue discomfort. Ideally your hands should reach your feet, but do not worry if this is not possible for you.
  4. Breathe in, stretching out your left leg behind you and drop down to kneel on your left knee. Keep your right knee bent in front of you, foot flat on the ground and pointing forward. Lift your head and open your chest.
  5. Exhale, and while doing so stretch your right leg backwards so it comes next to your left leg. At the same time, lift your buttocks and lower your head. Try and keep your heels flat. While in this position, breathe in deeply.
  6. Breathe out while bringing both knees back down to the ground. Bring your chest and chin down to touch the floor, but keep your buttocks raised slightly. Hold your breath with your lungs empty for as long as is comfortable.
  7. As you start to breathe in, lower your hips to the ground. Keeping your hips and legs on the floor,  use your arms to lift the top part of your body while arching your back, pushing your chest forward and raising your head.
  8. Breathe out and while doing so, return to position 5.
  9. Breathe in, bring right leg forward, keeping left leg back to get back into position 4.
  10. Breathe out, bring left leg forward and raise your body into position 3.
  11. Breathe in, stand upright, stretch up your arms and arch back into position 2.
  12. Straighten up, bring hands forward and resume position 1. Breathe out fully.

This forms one cycle. It should be repeated at least one more time, this time with the right leg stretched behind you and left leg bent in front of you at stages 4 and 9.

Surya Namaskar  can be used on its own, in which case several rounds are performed. It can also be used as a start to a session, with other asanas following. Some other asanas, specially recommended for menopause and weight loss, are described in Part 2.

 

Yoga for menopause and weight loss (with video) Part 1 by