The last few years before menopause begins can be rough for women who experience any or all of the classic perimenopause symptoms, from backache, insomnia, and acne to mood swings and memory lapses. With her bimonthly "Riding the Change" workshops at 7th Heaven Yoga, Jnana Gowan teaches postures and strategies for easing that transition. One helpful pose, for example, is Viparita Karani, or "Legs up the Wall," which entails lying on the floor facing a wall with the legs resting vertically on that wall — because upside-down poses are said to have soothing and invigorating effects on the neuroendocrine system, which is more or less in crisis at that time in a woman's life. Class participants are also encouraged to share and discuss their own symptoms and experiences, which can offer welcome encouragement in a youth-worshipping society that talks eagerly about puberty but avoids addressing "the change." Gowan was inspired to create the classes after listening to mind/body-medicine pioneer Joan Borysenko's CD Menopause, an Initiation into Power.
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