Yoga and women’s health

Yoga is an eight-part system which influences the whole person, mind and body. It is an ancient practice which incorporates different elements such as physical postures, which may be held for a long period of time, to breath control, mindfulness and a code of ethics. The ethos behind yoga is to be compassionate and kind in your personal life so you create a formula for wellness.

There is evidence that yoga can help women who are going through the menopause because it helps support the acceptance of a woman’s changing lifecycle and reduce perceived stress, although scientific studies can be conflicting. There are also a growing number of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer who use yoga to help reduce symptoms of fatigue and insomnia that follows chemotherapy.

Pregnancy yoga is a specialised area which should only be undertaken with an expert teacher. It can help the pregnant mother manage her emotions and anxieties as well as physical problems such as lower back pain and pelvic pain.

Pregnancy yoga is a specialised area which should only be undertaken with an expert teacher. It can help the pregnant mother manage her emotions and anxieties as well as physical problems such as lower back pain and pelvic pain.

One of the areas where research has been concentrated is how yoga practice can help people have better mental health. Women tend to suffer from depression and anxiety in greater numbers than men. There is some evidence that yoga can help reduce cortisol levels, which is the hormone released by the adrenal glands to activate the ‘fight or flight’ response. Women who have gone into full remission after breast cancer diagnosis have a higher risk of relapsing if they have higher cortisol levels.

Survivors of sexual violence, who are often women, have also reported benefits to their mental health after taking up yoga.

Heather Mason has a degree in neuroscience and physiology and is a yogi. She was one of the speakers at a recent meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine looking at global women’s health.

Heather Mason

Heather Mason

Heather Mason has a degree in neuroscience and physiology and is a yogi.
Heather Mason

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