By Meera Watts.
Do you want to get older with a sense of grace? Do you want to feel a sense of vitality? Going through midlife can sometimes drain your energy, and reduce your flexibility and strength. This may cause lethargy, so women are less likely to get out there and get active. When this occurs, it can cause insomnia and the mind may not be as sharp. But lots of women in midlife have started going to yoga classes and practising meditation. The benefits of yoga and meditation are astounding and can help a lot of midlife-specific issues.
Not only does it help with maintaining the physical body, keeping it flexible and strong, yoga also helps the mind. Our hormones change in midlife and it can be challenging to manage changes in our thoughts. Meditation is a part of yoga practice and mindfulness helps a great deal to manage any rumination. If you haven’t tried yoga yet, here are some of the benefits you’re missing out on.
The Midlife Crisis and the Inner Awakening
It’s important to understand why we might have some tough times when we’re going through midlife as a woman. Some people don’t take the midlife crisis seriously. It makes sense though. It’s a point where you begin to reflect on your life. Maybe you don’t even consciously want to do this but the psyche tells you it’s time. It may be labeled as flaky to step away and be self-reflective.
Many women are also afraid of this part of their life. They try to hide from it. They don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to acknowledge the deep spiritual aspects of self. When you avoid this feeling within you though, you may turn to addictions or even burn bridges. You are running away from the loss of connectedness with yourself and perhaps others around you.
Some might call this a soul crisis more than a midlife crisis. You may feel lost and everything can feel like it’s falling apart. The thing is, when things fall apart, you’re in the middle of being reborn in a sense. The job that sustained you may even have little importance because you’re not spiritually fulfilled. If you do feel like this while in midlife, yoga can help you find the meaning of life that lives in your heart. The truth. This is probably one of the most powerful aspects of yoga.
Reduction of Stress
Yoga is also a great way to reduce stress which may have developed in your life, during midlife. It may be that you have spent years of your life with a rise of cortisol in the system due to anxiety. This rise in cortisol will likely be causing you health issues right now. Yoga can immediately begin to reduce stress and the overproduction of cortisol. Your body will begin to naturally function better when you get rid of stress. You’ll think with greater clarity and the body will perform better. This means you can do more athletic things which will help you remain strong. You help your immune and endocrine system, which controls hormones when you live life with a more elevated mood. This can only be achieved by first alleviating stress.
The Body Will Work More Efficiently
Your body functions will work more efficiently when you do yoga because again, stress is reduced. Stress is responsible for things like high blood pressure and heart disease. As you become more calm through a regular practice of yoga, the blood pressure lowers and hormones that affects your heart will stabilize. Through yoga, you will also have the time to meditate which is an important way of putting anxious thoughts in perspective. You are able to clear your mind and stay in a calmer state of mind. Thoughts become more centered.
Yoga and Menopause
Menopause is part of the reality of midlife. It comes with pretty drastic changes. The main one being a lack of a period every month. Sexual glands change and the child bearing days end. The hormonal shifts that occur before menopause happens can take ten years. So how do you manage perimenopause and everything beforehand?
Those nasty side effects can be reduced, in part, by doing yoga. This time of life can become depressing and a negative change in attitude may incur. The dizzy spell, hot flashes, irritability, and insomnia can all be reduced through yoga. It’s best to start a regular yoga routine before menopause and premenopausal happen. This helps you create the character habits that will make the whole process easier. Think of it as an emotional well-being shield during the challenging years that may be ahead.
A yoga practice can be maintained well into your 80s or even 90s. Starting up a practice in your 40s, 50s, or 60s is possible and necessary. During midlife, you probably don’t want to start playing a field sport where you’re running. Keeping the body moving is essential for all parts but especially the prevention of osteoporosis. This is associated with midlife and old age. Exercises that bear weight on the bones keeps them strong. Stress can cause an increase in acidity which is like a parasite eating away calcium from your bone. Yoga fights off stress and is also a low impact weight bearing activity.
Yoga will give you better body function in all areas. It will do so in a soft and gentle way that nurtures the body while reducing the potential for injury. It is also great for the mind. You’ll feel more centered and relaxed and able to better navigate the ebb and flow of the common midlife issues.
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Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of SiddhiYoga.com, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali). You can find out more about her on her website.