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What is Early Menopause? And How Can Therapeutic Yoga Help?

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

I’m of the age of the perimenopause. Most of my friends are talking about their unwelcome guests, such as hot flushes and brain fog. There are so many different symptoms when hormones are changing that it can be difficult to identify them as symptoms of perimenopause.

It’s one thing when you’re going through something that is expected at a certain age and can be shared with friends. However, for those women who go through early menopause*, it can be incredibly isolating and confusing. *According to the NHS, early menopause is defined as under 45, although there are some rare cases of teenage years, and many more as a side effect from cancer treatment.

On BBC Radio 4’s “Made of Stronger Stuff” with psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken, in an episode entitled “Ovaries”, they featured the story of a woman in her 20s who underwent cancer treatment, then went to university (after going back to school to redo her A-levels); a couple of months later, she started getting side effects such as weight gain, hot flushes, mood swings and a sense of having no control of her body. It was the menopause and at her age, it came as a complete shock and she knew nothing about it. She was unclear about what symptoms were menopause related rather than cancer related.

Younger women can suffer more from the additional pyscho-emotional impact. As well as feeling isolated from their peers and social groups, they may lose sexual confidence or harbour feelings of embarrassment, shame, anger or grief. They may have had a vision of starting a family in the future and suddenly that option is taken away, with a possibility of having to think about freezing their eggs. Young women experiencing perimenopause often feel disconnected from their body and sense of self.

So, how can yoga help?

Therapeutic yoga is a safe space, and as such, offers the opportunity for the client to feel heard, understood, accepted, supported and empowered. Often these concerns are dismissed as unimportant, especially if you have survived cancer. Surely that’s all that matters? However, feelings and symptoms need to be recognised and respected. Naming medical menopause and providing the right temperature, comfort and hydration are important. Empowerment is key; in a yoga practice, the client is in charge of their own body and in control of their own choices to explore this way and that, inviting self care.

Yoga practices for menopause include

  • Restorative/guided relaxation to manage energy levels, reduce stress and anxiety, help sleep

  • Sheetali - cooling breath for hot flushes

  • 5:5 belly breathing, for hot flushes and improving circulation

  • Deer practice for vaginal dryness

  • Meditation - mood swings, process emotions

  • Yoni mudra to connect to the womb space, sacral chakra, intuition

  • Yoga nidra around creativity/sexuality/feminine energy

  • Mantra - to give a voice, spiritual/energetic connection

  • Weight-bearing postures for bone strengthening eg warriors, balance

  • Joint rotation series for joint aches and stiffness

If you are interested in talking to Nicky about a health issue, or would like to arrange a therapeutic yoga session, please get in touch.

Nicky is a therapeutic yoga specialist and Chinese Medicine practitioner. She is in partnership with the Breast Clinic at the London Cromwell Hospital. She recently attended a teacher training workshop on Cancer Induced Menopause, with Jenni Stone of

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