They always come at the worst possible moment. In the supermarket, at the in-laws, or whilst giving a work presentation. A hot flush are massively inconvenient.
But by addressing the hormone and nervous system processes behind hot flushes, we can turn down our internal furnace – and crank the A/C!
In this article, we’ll walk you through some poses that’ll do just that.
But before we get started…
The movements in this yoga routine require a bit of support. So before we begin, go grab a pillow, couch cushion, or a rolled-up blanket.
Got it? Good – let’s get started.
1) Straighten Your Spine
Start by getting into a seated position. There are multiple ways to do this, so don’t worry if you can’t break out the yoga mat.
Whether you’re sitting cross-legged, on your heels, or in a chair, the goal is the same – to straighten out your spine.
As you do, be mindful of your sit bones. Let them widen and ground them into whatever surface you’re on. Feel yourself float away from them.
Lastly, allow your shoulder blades to relax. Then, take a few deep, cleansing inhales and exhales.
2) Engage Your Internal A/C Unit
Now that we’ve calmed ourselves down, let’s switch on our body’s built-in A/C with a special breathing technique called Sitkari Pranayama, or hissing breath.
Purse your lips, as if you were drinking the surrounding air with a straw. Alternatively, you can also do this through clenched teeth. Inhale, deeply and slowly, then seal your lips before exhaling through the nose. Do this three more times.
This breath technique keeps the bulk of the outside air within you, allowing it to cool your insides.
3) Rock Your Body
After finishing this series of breaths, place your palms down on the knees or thighs. Then, with your sit bones acting as the axis, rock and rotate your torso.
Go forward and to the right as you inhale, and lean back and to the left as you exhale. After several rotations, reverse direction for an equal number of rotations.
4) Release Estrogen From Your Adrenal Gland
Once you complete the rocking motion, move to the floor. With your feet flat and knees bent, lie on your back. Lay your arms at your sides – if the tips of your middle fingers are touching your heels, you’re in the correct position.
Start by taking a big breath in, then exhale – allow your body to relax fully. Then, on the next breath in, push your feet into the mat and slowly lift your hips. And, as you breathe out, slowly lower your hips back to the floor.
Repeat this movement 3-4 more times, pairing your inhales and exhales with the lifting and dropping of your hips.
After the last rep, slowly lift your hips again, then grab your support (pillow/couch cushion/etc.) and put it under your buttocks. If you lack support, don’t try to hold this position actively.
Once supported, heat up your palms by rubbing them together for 10-15 seconds. Then, form an inverted triangle – your middle fingers should be pointing toward your pubic bone, and your thumbs should be touching together (forming the base of the triangle).
Then, relax your entire body, from head to toe. Take deep, slow conscious breaths, and send them towards the pelvis and lower back. Doing this will stimulate your adrenal gland to release estrogen.
Why is this pose vital to hot flash relief?
Because in menopause, the adrenal gland creates more estrogen than the ovaries. By practising this pose, we are stimulating this gland to produce this needed hormone.
It’s not fully understood how estrogen does this. But studies have repeatedly shown that increasing estrogen levels goes a long way toward relieving hot flashes.
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Monica is the owner and founder of Cultivate Calm Yoga. Monica has a Bachelor of Behavioural Science, and before teaching yoga, she worked in IT, Business Strategy, Project Management, HR and recruitment. She started yoga to deal with chronic stress and burnout and soon became addicted to feeling calm.
Running her business for the last ten years has seen her navigate many challenges, including death, divorce, cancer, burnout, and, of course, the pandemic. She has emerged on the other side wiser, more resilient and more motivated to help other women thrive in their businesses.