Menopause Workshop | iHanuman


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Menopause Workshop

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Recorded in May 2010 at Studio Bamboo in Virginia Beach, Virginia.There are three recorded sessions in this workshop including Menopause, Inversions and Backbends. This 3 hour session describes a sequence of poses to help ease the discomforts and challenges women face during the pause in their monthly menstruation, Menopause. This period of time can last from months to years and can include, among other symptoms - "hot flashes", irritability, and insomnia. Included with this class is an illustrated pose booklet and special series of poses specifically for Hot Flashes illustrated by Bobby Clennell.

The class is geared toward Intermediate and ongoing practitioners of Yoga and is not recommended for Beginners. The props required for this class are: A Wall, 4 Blankets, A Chair, A Strap and 2 Blocks. This is an audio recording, but please view our video playlist of poses from the workshop.

by: Beth Cholette
This 3-hour session was recorded when Iyengar Yoga instructor Bobby Clennell visited Studio Bamboo in Virginia Beach for a series of weekend workshops in May 2010. When you order this audio, you will also receive a PDF file containing an illustrated pose list drawn by Clennell herself, a former professional film animator; this provides an extremely helpful supplement to Clennell’s audio instruction. In addition, at right you can find a link to several short video clips which further demonstrate a few of the posture sequences included in this workshop. The practice level of this session is described as being appropriate for intermediate students, but advanced beginners with a strong practice should be able to follow along as well.Clennell, who tells the class that she is 67 and was 52 when her own periods stopped, speaks extensively on the subjects of menopause, peri-menopause, and post-menopause throughout this workshop. She also addresses related issues such as osteoporosis, talking about how these factors affect a woman’s life in general and her yoga practice in particular. She notes that although a young woman’s yoga practice is usually filled with activity, for an older woman, the emphasis is often on learning to be quiet. Therefore, she begins the workshop as she begins her own home practice: with quieting, supportive postures. Poses in the opening sequence include supported reclined hero’s pose, supported child’s pose, and long holds of downward facing dog with head support. Clennell then has the class work on opening the hips, stressing the importance of working on this area daily. She leads her students through several different variations of hand-to-big-toe pose, versions one and two, performed at the wall; the group remains at the wall for cobbler’s pose with hands reaching under the body to grab the ankles.At this point, Clennell is ready to begin teaching standing postures. Here again she uses the wall as a prop, this time having the students set up with their mats parallel to the wall. The class practices standing postures such as triangle pose and half moon pose both facing towards the wall and facing away from the wall. Clennell explains that facing towards the wall offers greater support and provides more of the feel of a backbend, whereas facing away from the wall helps relieve stiffness and has more of the feel of a forward bend. (Note: Part 2 of the workshop begins with an approximately 11-minute sequence of partner work in triangle pose, so if you are following along at home without a partner, you might want to simply listen or skip this section.)Following the standing practice, Clennell talks about how those in the most active phases of menopause may want to avoid certain abdominal-focused postures such as boat and revolved stomach pose. Her point is that these poses generate heat at a time when it may be better to create a sense of quiet and calm in the body. That being said, however, she does have the participants practice these postures to their individual comfort levels. She then leads the group though a single balance pose, tree (with option of using the wall), before beginning work on backbends. Clennell continues to have her students benefit from the use of props as they incorporate a blanket into camel pose and then engage in further backbending over a chair. The finishing postures in this workshop include a seated chair twist, nirlamba shoulderstand, knees-to-ears pose, and an approximately 7-minute savasana.With this workshop, Clennell has created a delightful experience for women of virtually all ages. I am 42 and have not yet seen any signs of peri-menopause myself, but still, I thoroughly enjoyed Clennell’s teachings and wisdom. In fact, I had just one small disappointment, and that was when Clennell spoke briefly about Pilates in response to a student’s question. Although she states that she has nothing against the practice of Pilates, she conveys several pieces of misinformation: first, that Pilates was developed from yoga (most biographies of founder Joseph Pilates agree that he was influence by many disciplines, including boxing, diving, gymnastics, and possibly yoga), and second, that unlike yoga, a full-body practice, Pilates focuses only on the abdominals. It surprised me that someone who is obviously so experienced and knowledgeable about yoga would perpetuate myths about another wellness discipline. Otherwise, I would was impressed with Clennell and would not hesitate to recommend this workshop for those looking for a combined learning and practice experience.

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