How yoga guru Hansaji Yogendra managed menopause: Wellness secrets for every woman

Yoga guru Hansaji Yogendra shares her top tips for menopause management, and urges women to be emotionally and physically self-reliant.

Menopause, which marks the end of a womanโ€™s reproductive years, hits women between the ages of 45 and 55 years as a natural process of biological ageing. Perimenopause or the phase before menopause, puts women on a roller-coaster of hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, palpitations, vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence, sleep disturbances and more. It is only in the recent years that women have started sharing their personal experiences and lessons of dealing with the menopause mania. Yoga guru Hansaji Yogendra, who is 76 years old, says menopause can be a physically and emotionally challenging phase. But with the right diet, lifestyle and emotional support system, every woman can overcome the challenges of this important transitional phase in life.

Hansaji says during her motherโ€™s time, she didnโ€™t even know what menopause really was. Discussions about menopause have only now gained more prominence globally. โ€œThe period stops, and thatโ€™s all. There was nothing big about it earlier. I could see that my mother used to sweat more, but she would say that sweat should be considered normal. โ€˜Just pat it dry!โ€™ Nowadays I find it is really challenging for ladies,โ€ the yoga expert told Health Shots in an interview.

Hansaji Yogendra shares her own menopause journey

Menopause came knocking at the door for Hansaji at the age of 58 โ€“ the same as her mother. She recounts that her periods became irregular for a few months and then stopped, without bothering her much. This is usually the time when thyroid and blood pressure problems may spike for women. But Hansaji credits her healthy lifestyle, dedicated yoga practise and wholesome diet for menopause management.

โ€œI was very careful about my blood reports and whether I was consuming proper nutrients. With education, I learnt that as women grow older, calcium, vitamin D3, vitamin B12 are certain nutrients that get low. So, I ensured the right diet. I started eating almonds and nuts regularly. I ate 10-15 soaked groundnuts so that my body would get sufficient amount of protein and fiber. I also started having sprouts. I consumed a high protein diet and included natural minerals and vitamins,โ€ she shares.

Hansaji Yogendra is the Director of The Yoga Institute. Image courtesy: Hansaji Yogendra

Hansaji Yogendra was also careful about her fluid intake. Apart from a healthy amount of water consumption, she took lemon juice once in the morning, as well as coconut water on some days. While staying hydrated was one way to manage the hot flushes and sweating during menopause, the power of yoga was never left behind.

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โ€œI would always do Pranayam to regulate my cooling system. Yoga has techniques that can immediately help you. When you feel hot, breathe in from your left side, and breathe out from your right. Do this for 10 rounds and you will feel cool and fine. My dress code also is sari, which is loose and never sticks to my body,โ€ she quips.

Also read: Yoga for menopause: 8 easy asanas women can do

The emotional challenges of menopause

On a more serious note, Hansaji Yogendra acknowledges that menopause can be a very emotional period for a woman. This is not just because of the physiological changes in her body, but also due to the alterations in her day-to-day life and support system.

โ€œWhen a lady goes through menopause, she is around 45-55. That is mostly the time when her children have grown up, they have their own interests, her husband is well-settled in work or business. Sometimes, a woman may end up feeling worthless or not required sort in the house. There comes a question of emotional stability. In yoga, we always talk about how everything in life is impermanent. These things also change. We also talk about โ€˜vipreet bhavaโ€™, which urges women to start seeing good in any situation.

โ€œSo, think about how you may have not had time for yourself all these years. You were looking after the family, in-laws and the distant families, so on and so forth. And now you have some time for yourselfโ€ฆ You should be glad about that,โ€ says Hansaji.

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Watch the full video interview of Hansaji Yogendra on Health Shots!

Be emotionally self-reliant: Hansaji Yogendra

What are some of the techniques to feel emotionally stronger?

For tackling emotions and to calm your mind, Hansaji Yogendra suggests to practise breathing techniques. She also suggests women to understand that they have the choice to feel disturbed or not by whatever happens around them. โ€œWhen you feel that nobody loves you, start loving those who need love. When you help humanity, you donโ€™t get stuck with your own family. You expand your family,โ€ she adds.

When the mind is diverted, a woman would be able to manage her actions and reactions during menopause in a better way. And this holds true for every phase of her life.

โ€œA woman goes through quite a lot of different phases of life. First when her period starts, then when she gets married, then when she gets pregnant, then postpartum depression after pregnancy, and then menopause. Stress comes with every phase, and it is important that we take care of our body, says Hansaji.

She strongly suggests practising yoga asanas daily to keep digestion in check. Inculcate exercises to keep your spine healthy and your food habits must support your bone health to fight the risks of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

Her top tip: Be self-reliant, physically and emotionally.

โ€œWhether you want a glass of water or your mobile phone, keep them away and get up and bring them. Find out ways in which you will have to walk. And also understand emotional self-reliance. Donโ€™t constantly be dependent on somebody to praise you for what you do constantly. Do yoga, do pranayama, meditate, walk more, be in natureโ€ฆ and you will be able to manage stress well.โ€

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