Yoga for Menopause: Written by E. Connor Hannon
Pose 1: Lotus Pose
The word Yoga is similar to the word Love — it is expansive, varied and can be uniquely experienced by an individual and within groups large and small. Oftentimes, we only see Yoga as a difficult process of twisting ourselves into a pretzel or just sitting around breathing, but yoga is so much more, and less, than that. Yes, it centers the mind, engages the body and enlivens the spirit — but it also manipulates our organs, restricts and releases our blood flow and can help and heal injuries and the challenges we encounter as we age. When women are perimenopausal, or are experiencing menopause, Yoga can decrease stress, ease aches and pains, enhance joint health, lower blood pressure and can even reduce hot flashes.
Lotus Pose is a familiar posture, as it is the seated, cross-legged yogi who is often used in the iconic marketing of Hatha Yoga. Lotus Pose, or half-lotus, appears challenging, but it is the process of finding one’s own posture within the pose that is the act of practicing Yoga.
Lotus Pose Steps:
- Sit on the floor, or a cushion to ease the posture
- Bend both knees, bringing your feet in towards your belly
- Place one leg over the other allowing one foot to rest, the bottom turned upward, on the floor and the other to rest on the upper calf just below the knee (half-lotus)
- The full expression, pull the bottom foot up and rest it on the inner thigh
- Shoulders back, spine straight and core engaged
- Breath (relax the belly), close your eyes — become present
Within this process one can gain the many benefits that Lotus Pose can promote — opening up our meridian channels and creating pressure points, in our legs and feet, that restrict and release energy and blood flow. These points are connected to various organs, such as our liver and kidneys, in our body that are being affected by the hormonal changes that we experience during perimenopause and menopause. One of the symptoms of such hormone changes are hot flashes; when fire, or pitta, is generated and trapped in our body. Lotus Pose can help release this heat — all the while, reducing high blood pressure, generating oxygenation and assisting blood circulation.
There are many other poses, flowing, standing, seated and lying down, that assist the body as it transforms and evolves through its years on earth. Seek and find the space to learn about, and embrace, the Yoga that is meant for you — it can, and will, only broaden your world and enhance your life.
E. Connor Hannan: Yoga Practitioner & Enthusiast
There is nothing more inspiring than connecting with others through Yoga that meets us where we are in a natural, warm and open space.
As an athlete, I have always been driven by my physical experience in the world. I played collegiate lacrosse and continued to run hard, fast and far as I grew older. I didn’t realize what I was doing to my body until I completed a marathon and someone whispered ‘Yoga’ casually in my ear.
Since then I have explored myself with the tool and gift of Yoga.. who I am physically, emotionally and mentally and have been fortunate, through that gift, to discover what I had been running from. I now realize where I am headed — to find space for the opportunity of sharing a genuine & loving community of like minded people.
I have practiced Power Vinyasa Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga & Bikram and have come to realize that Yoga isn’t just about accomplishing fancy, difficult poses; it is about meeting the practitioner where they are in that given moment.
Classes are often built around a progression towards the more physically challenging poses. There has also been a rise in westernized versions developed for the less serious and the geriatric sect. I focus on the 45 to 65 year old yogi who is still looking to be challenged, while also taking into account the limitations that come with age.
Degrees & Certifications:
- 200hr Baptiste Yoga Teaching Certificate
- 40 Days to Personal Revolution Program
- The Art of Vedic Thai-Yoga Bodywork, 16 hrs.
- MFA creative writing, Goddard College