I have always been a “sweaty” person. When I feel hot, my body proudly demonstrates this to the world. Let me give you an example. When I first started working in Sri Lanka in 2011, I would ride to work on my scooter (lovingly called Harry the Honda). I would arrive to work and take off my helmet and rucksack and be clearly very wet all over, hair, face and back drenched. I would need to stand under the ceiling fan to dry off before starting the morning’s work. After only a week my Sri Lankan colleagues came to me and asked if I were sick. They thought I had malaria or dengue fever. They were fearful for my health because of the amount I was sweating all the time! I wasn’t ill, just a sweaty betty!
Fast track forward to 2016 and I was still a sweaty person, but it was on a whole other level. My “power surges” (a beautiful phrase a friend shared with me) due to perimenopause came out of nowhere and within a minute my face, head, chest and neck would feel like I was on fire and I would be dripping with water – all highly noticable! Yet these days I was less able to laugh it off. I was living in the Middle East and essentially living in hot, desert-like countries would make any of us sweat at some point but I felt an overwhelming sense of embarrassment about my wet red face. And my embarrassment came from the reason why I was sweating – I was embarrassed that I was perimenopausal. Just having this new piece of information about a change happening in my hormones, caused me to feel shame.
At work my stress levels would build up as I worried about giving any presentations or staff trainings, or even if I were to speak up in a meeting in case my power surge decided to kick off. I would continually sip on ice cold water, hoping it would keep me cool but the only thing that happened is make we want to pee all the time. In a café I would end up stripping layers and put my hair up into a ponytail hoping my friends sitting across from me would not notice my face and neck dripping with perspiration. I continually felt socially awkward, even with female friends I had known for years.
The constant, unpredictable changes to my body thermostat drew me more towards dark coloured clothes (after living in hotter climates for the past 6 years I had loved wearing bright colours and had successfully ditched my London-centric black / dark blue / dark grey “uniform”) to find myself back to darks to hide my wet patches! I invested in waterproof mascara. Panda eyes are not a good look midday in the office.
Other “new friends” called night sweats and insomnia joined my day sweats. I found myself waking up around 2am and, trying not to disturb my partner sleeping, would put my camping head torch on and read for hours hoping that my body and mind would eventually feel lulled back into sleep. I felt like I was unravelling. The combination of day and night sweats and not enough sleep left me tired, irritable, and angry. And I love my sleep!
I had been practising vinyasa yoga for over 10 years and had taken my 200 hours Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga teacher training in Thailand in 2013. My usual “go to” yoga practice that had always supported my mental and physical health just didn’t seem to make me feel good anymore. It left me depleted and frustrated when before I would feel light and energised. This wasn’t an overnight realisation either. I kept on “slogging” away at my usual practice in the hope that the hot flashes and sleeplessness would pass.
After nearly a year I admitted to myself that something needed to change. I was utterly miserable. At that point I didn’t really know anyone around me going through perimenopause or menopause, and so I started to goggle. I began to learn more about how other styles of yoga could support my menopause symptoms. But there really weren’t many online or in person classes specifically for menopause (and there still are very few). So I turned to yin yoga and in 2016 completed my 50 hours Yin Yoga teacher training in Amman, Jordan where I was currently living, embracing new learning about how my body wanted to be moved (or not, as the case may be).
But it wasn’t until 5 years later when I learnt the gift of Menopause Yoga™, joining the first ever yoga teacher training specifically designed for women going through their menopause. Menopause Yoga™ is the unique combination of yin and restorative yoga poses, breathing techniques and mindful meditation practices that have been specially adapted to help us manage the main symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. It is this gift that I have personally found incredibly healing and nourishing for my mind, body and spirit. MY can help those of us experiencing the following symptoms: hot flushes and night sweats, stress and anxiety, irritability and mood swings, insomnia and fatigue, and lack of focus. Isn’t that a gift you would like to receive!
Yoga connects our minds, bodies and spirit. It creates harmony and balance. It helps to quieten the mind, strengthen the body, and a connection with ourselves to pause, take a breathe.
Yoga specifically designed for perimenopause and menopause, in combination with my 20+ years of working as a psychologist and mental health specialist, alongside my own experiences and experimentation going through my menopause journey are the offerings I am sharing with you. These offerings are universally beneficial to all of us during this transition. When women share our stories, we empower each other. Let’s feel empowered together.
**MY has been created after years of research by fully qualified and experienced yoga teacher Petra Coveney. I give my blessings and gratitude to Petra for sharing her knowledge and power, and all those teachers who came before her.