ranayama combined with Sun Salutation relieves menopausal stress better than exercise, according to a study from the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation published in a 2008 issue of the journal Menopause.
Here is a yoga class, consisting of pranayama, Sun Salutation and meditation, you can use to relieve menopausal stress. Pranayama is the Hindi word to describe yogic breathing exercises and the Hindi equivalent for Sun Salutation is Surya Namaskar.
How prevalent is stress for menopausal women? In a multi-ethnic study examining data from 16,065 women, psychological distress occurred at a rate of 20.9 percent during premenopause, 28.9 percent during perimenopause and 22 percent during postmenopause. Fortunately, these numbers show the majority of women are unaffected by menopausal stress. Unfortunately, the numbers also show a significant portion of women experience stress during this natural process.
In this yoga therapy for menopause study, researchers enrolled 120 women between the ages of 45 and 55 with regular and irregular menstrual cycles. Every woman was a yoga beginner and had not practiced yoga for more than one month in their lifetime. Additionally, the women took neither hormone therapy nor psychiatric medication. The researchers divided the women into a yoga treatment group and an exercise/stretching treatment group. Trained instructors led each group for one hour every day, five days per week, for two months.
The Yoga Class to Relieve Menopausal Stress
Here are the four parts of the yoga class to relieve menopausal stress in the study:
Part 1: 10 minutes of Surya Namaskar, also known as Sun Salutation.
Part 2: Five Pranayama breathing exercises:
a. Hasta Ayama Svasanam — hands in and out breathing
b. Hasta Vistara Svasanam — hands stretch breathing
c. Gulpha Vistara Svasanam — ankle stretch breathing
d. Vyaghra Vvasanam — tiger breathing
e. Setu Bandha Svasanam — bridge posture breathing
Part 3: 25 minutes of Cyclic Meditation, also known as Avartan Dhyanam
Part 4: 15 minutes of a yoga-based wellness lecture.
The Exercise Class
Here are the four parts of the exercise class to relieve menopausal stress in the study:
Part 1: 10 minutes of brisk walking.
Part 2: 10 minutes of stretching exercises, including forward and backward bends, side bends, a spinal twist and toe walking.
Part 3: 25 minutes of resting in corpse pose, also called Shavasana.
Part 4: 15 minutes of a diet and exercise lecture.
Is Yoga or Exercise Better for Menopausal Stress?
If you want to reduce menopausal stress, a comprehensive yoga program is more effective than exercise. To determine the women’s level of stress, they completed the well-known psychological test called the Perceived Stress Scale. After treatment, the yoga group enjoyed a significantly greater decrease in perceived stress than the exercise group. The yoga group had a 6-point average reduction in stress and the exercise group had a 1.67-point reduction in stress. The yoga group also showed a significant reduction in neuroticism.