A daily Ashtanga Yoga practice has supported me throughout every aspect of my life since my brother, Neil, began teaching me nearly 12 Years ago.
It is the weight and the string that grounds me when I am flying around, kite like, in the new, unchartered world that is the…….. Da Da Dah….. Peri-Menopause!
Of course it is not really uncharted, our mothers, their mothers and so on got there before us, if they lived long enough. So why did it feel like I was stumbling around looking for a light switch?
Most women, actually all the women, that I have spoken to about the Menopause say that their mothers never told them anything. And if they asked they would be told something helpful like ‘Well we just got on with it in those days’. And some women did, they were lucky but others (back then in the dark ages) struggled with everyday life not knowing that their darkness was caused by fluctuating hormones, a gradual, or sometimes sudden, loss of oestrogen.
The Doctors might say ‘She suffers with her nerves’ and would either offer, highly addictive, drugs or send her off to an institution where women often took their own lives. The professionals and women themselves would whisper its name ‘The Change’ if they spoke about it at all.
But our Menopause is not our mothers Menopause!
You see Peri-menopause gaslights you, it makes you believe that you are going mad, although instinct tells you that something is not right, most of the symptoms can be explained away by another diagnosis, or over work etc etc….. Many women being sent away from their GP with anti-Anxiety pills or other medication that will not help the root cause which is the depletion of our hormones. (Nothing wrong with anti-anxiety medication in the right place of course). Connecting the dots ourselves is easy once we know the many symptoms but because we were never told what to look out for and GP’s do not do any mandatory Menopause training, some are ill equipped to deal with us and may tell us we are too young and give no explanation. There are exceptions course and I was very lucky to have a wonderful, GP, Dr Charlotte Chandler. But what and who do we believe when it comes to the advice that we are given? And don’t even get me started on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), the attitudes, the media, the myths and the lies we have been sold over the years. Talking about the recent shortage of HRT supplies in the UK Peter Greenhouse from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says “It is an absolute scandal. Im sure if this were a mans problem, the Government or somebody would have sorted it by now”
It’s 2020 and women are staying silent no longer. We live in different times, we work longer hours, have children later in life or no children, we are expected to do it all, have it all, the media let us believe that we should be a domestic goddess whilst wearing Agent Provocateur. We have stress that most of our mothers did not, accentuating our symptoms.
The #metoo movement has given women a voice, and opened the door for us to discuss everything, not only sexual abuse, but sexuality, gender, equality, menstruation problems and Menopause.
I carried on fumbling around for almost two years before I eventually found the light switch, more of a dimmer switch I suppose, a gradual realisation and acceptance of what was happening to me and women around me. I needed to educate myself as to exactly what was going on in my body and mind.
I was quite willing to accept that I may not be able to practice as much or for as long but I also wanted to make sure I kept as healthy as I could. And then the Universe spoke, well Dr Louise Newson actually, a menopause specialist and a fellow Ashtanga practitioner. Through her I met Petra Coveney, Menopause Yoga pioneer, who I went on to train with.
It is now a really exciting time, the fear, loss and grief has been replaced with a sense of privilege and freedom. Now I know what my body needs, I know what to expect, the fatigue is gone and my energy has returned.
So just as Ashtanga Yoga supports me the MY education supports my Ashtanga practice and teaching, which is stronger than ever, it also allows me to listen to my body and rest when needed.
I hope that our MY workshops will give this same Confidence, Education and Empowerment to all the women that attend so that we can continue to grow and enjoy anything that we want to do whether that is travel, work, or Yoga.
“We need to normalise menopause, not be shamed about it. And we women need to cast off our fear and feel empowered to seek the help we deserve for this important phase of our lives” Dr Ginni Mansberg