How Yoga Helps Women in Midlife

A few weeks ago I received a email asking if I would post a "guest blog" for Meera Watts.

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 Siddhi Yoga, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali)

Once I saw the topic and read the blog it was a no brainer. "How yoga helps women in midlife"!! Duh. How could I not? I am there. After just turning 47 years young and notice what yoga has done for me and so many of my students that are mostly around the same age. Some are younger, but that's okay because guess what girls?? Time flies and you will be "midlife" before you know it. I am so proud of all of the young men and women that get on their mats at such a young age and overly impressed by the ones who really get it and not just for the leggings and the "trend".

With that being said, it is my pleasure to post this great blog written by Meera Watts.

Going through midlife isn't easy. It's that point where you suddenly feel trapped, tired, and miserable. It's like time sucked your enthusiasm and you're left clueless about what to do with your life.

For women, midlife can be twice as challenging. This is why most of them try so hard to hide from it and avoid talking about it. They refuse to acknowledge the changes they are going through and that makes things a lot harder.

This is where yoga becomes beneficial. If you're still not doing it, here are some of the most important benefits you're missing out.

Stress management

Stress is something you can't easily avoid. Whether it's at work or at home, you're bound to experience stressful situations that can make you feel worse.

The problem with stress is that it can make your decision making and problem-solving skills dull. It can even make you physically ill.

By performing yoga on a daily basis, you'll be able to increase your feel-good hormones while lowering the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. When the hormones and chemicals in your body return to their normal levels, your body will  be able to experience balance which can improve your overall health.

Improve your bodily functions

As you age, your body experiences a decline in function. This puts you at an increased risk for several illnesses, like diabetes and heart diseases.

By putting your mind and body in a relaxed state, both your blood pressure and blood sugar become lower. Even the hormones that affect the way your blood clots and heart pumps become more stable.

Better sleep

Insomnia and other sleep problems tend to get worse with age. As you constantly worry about your work, family, health, and finances, sleep becomes less and less satisfying for you. A busy work schedule can also make it hard for you to get proper sleep.

And when you fail to get enough sleep, a lot of health problems come up. Even your mood becomes affected that you become chronically grumpy. You'll find it hard to stay focused and calm, too.

Yoga has this unique way of making it easier for one to fall asleep. It can even improve the quality of sleep so you can wake up feeling well rested and rejuvenated.

Better fitness

Because of the changes women experience in their body during their midlife years, it's perfectly normal for them to feel frightened about going out and exercising. There's always the fear of getting injured or creating more harm than good.

However, contrary to what most women believe in, yoga isn't entirely bad once you reach your midlife years. Unless you have spine problems or issues with balance, it's totally safe for you to practice yoga. It's actually a great way to stay in shape, particularly if you aren’t a fan of intense workout routines.

Increases energy

Your midlife years mark the moment when most of your body processes slow down. As a result, you get tired easily and you start to lose energy. Partnered with stress, your energy levels can get worse.

There are yoga poses you can do to combat stress and improve your energy.

The Cobra Pose is one great example. It opens up 4 chakras within your body while reducing stress, tension, and fatigue. The Downward Dog, Bow Pose, Shoulder Stand, and Fish Pose are excellent options as well.

Take note that although those poses can boost your energy, they aren’t for everyone. If you aren’t sure if it’s right for you, consider consulting your doctor or yoga instructor.

In Conclusion

Yoga offers tons of benefits and most of us are already aware of that. For women in midlife, however, they are extra helpful. From enhancing their sleep quality to boosting their overall health, practicing it on a daily basis can make the process a lot less stressful and easier to cope with.

Of course, you’ll need patience and dedication before you see results. While yoga is effective, it’s still not an overnight miracle. You need to be consistent in practicing it on a daily basis.


 

Hot or Not

Hot or Not???

Hot or Not is a rating dating site that allows users to rate the attractiveness  of photos submitted voluntarily by others. Yes, it's a dating site. Luckily, I am not writing about such a disgusting dating site. Let's create a site called "Beauty Within" having men and women search for qualities such as loyalty, honesty, compassion, independence, confidence, joy, loving, and all the imperfections that may come with a truly beautiful person. Maybe no photos? Just a nice "get to know you" PHONE CONVERSATION! No swiping. No scrolling. Just a bio.

Luckily, I have no need for that crap anymore. 

Now that I have your attention; this blog is a re-post that I would like to share with all of you that have called and asked about the safe temperature to practice yoga.

Everyone has their personal preference of course. Many people love to sweat to ensure they are getting a great workout. But let's also remember the true meaning of yoga and why we come on our mats in the first place. Again, everyone practices for different reasons. It doesn't matter where you practice, with who, how cold, how hot, what outfit you wear. As long as you practice. On the mat and off. I speak of practicing yoga off the mat often; almost every day. I will recap it briefly before I share the article with you.

Do you rock your crow pose or handstand? Awesome. You are strong. You have amazing upper body strength. Are you mentally and emotionally strong? How do you deal with the roadblocks in life? Being mentally strong is not about acting like a tough ass. It is about being aware of your emotions and learning from painful experiences. We have all been through crap it's about how we deal and how we turn it into a life lesson.

Do you sit quietly in easy seat during meditation with a clear mind? It is hard for many. This may be the toughest. Are you present at home? At work? Are you a good listener? Or you scrolling through Instagram at dinner? Or when someone is talking to you, you are hardly paying attention because you are thinking of something else. Be present. Off the mat.

Do you leave yoga class feeling so thankful for the space, your teacher and your body for rocking a new bind? Leave class and make a call to your boyfriend, mom, sister, friend,teacher, children for how thankful you are to have them in your life. Write a note. Whatever it is, just do it.

During your time  in class, you are so kind to your body. You are doing the body and mind amazing good. You gently get into new poses to prevent injury, you focus on your breathe through every pose, inhaling and exhaling.. You are (hopefully) kind to the teacher, and your fellow yogis. How do you treat others and yourself when you leave class? Do you go home and drink a bottle of wine and eat a pint of ice cream? Do you call a friend and start talking trash and gossiping? Be kind to others and to yourself off the mat.

You are so disciplined in your practice. You use straps or blocks, you go at your own pace and you listen to the teacher who is guiding you and your body. Off the mat; are you working in a disciplined matter at home and work? Are you working towards what you want in life? Your goals and dreams? Or do you procrastinate? 

I think you get it. That was the scaled down version in English. For more on taking yoga off the mat read The Yoga Sutras. The Yamas and Niyamas. How we show up on our mats and off. 

Turns out, hot yoga isn’t more effective than yoga at room temperature

By: Allasandra Milato

Why put yourself through an hour-long session in 90 degrees for this?

There may be no need to put yourself in a stifling 100 degrees for a hot yoga session.

Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, involves 26 positions usually done in a room of 90 or 100 degrees. Part of the allure is that the heat opens up the muscles faster than room temperature and can release toxins from the body, but new research from Texas State University and the University of Texas at Austin found it’s no more effective than the latter.

Yoga at room temperature does exactly the same thing as hot yoga, the researchers found. It reduces the risk of heart disease and can delay atherosclerosis, a disease where plaque builds up in arteries and can result in a heart attack or stroke. Half of the Bikram yoga class was spent in standing positions, which requires balancing on one leg and can be more taxing than floor positions, the research said.

They looked at 80 participants enrolled and randomly assigned to three study groups — heated room, room at regular temperature and a control group — and asked the participants to attend three Bikram yoga classes a week for three months.

Why avoid hot yoga in favor of regular yoga? There are additional risks associated with hot yoga. People can suffer from heat-related illnesses, according to a separate study from 2015 sponsored by the American Council on Exercise. A group of 20 healthy men and women practiced Bikram yoga in a 105-degree room for 90 minutes after swallowing a temperature sensor and wearing a heart rate monitor.

The researchers found the participants’ body temperatures rose to 103 degrees, one degree away from potentially suffering from heat stroke. The average heart rate for the men was 80% and the women’s was 72%. Sweating during hot yoga doesn’t do enough to cool the body down, the researchers said.

But there may be some benefits to hot yoga. It can improve “vascular endothelial function” or thinning blood vessels in middle-aged and older adults in a relatively short time period, according to a 2016 study from the University of Texas and published in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise. “Bikram yoga may be effective as a secondary preventative measure in reversing endothelial dysfunction in middle-aged and older adults who are at risk of developing vascular disease.”

If you’re set on participating in a hot yoga class, there are ways to help mitigate any health risks. Drink 80 ounces of water the day before, and 16 ounces of water two hours before a class. After class, refresh by drinking water with lemon or having dark leafy green vegetables or water-heavy fruits like watermelons and cucumbers. Stretch before and after sessions and use a towel during the class, not just to pat down sweat but also to dry off your mat and prevent falling.

 

Again, practice, practice, practice. Hot or Not! It's your practice. Just do it. On the mat and off.

Have a great weekend!

xoxoxox