During mid-life, women's bodies fall prey to osteoporosis and the stressful symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, mood swings, depression, fatigue, insomnia and headaches.
There is a way to make the body's transition easier, according to Cyndi Lee, an author and director of OM Yoga Center in New York City. She will stop by The Early Show on Tuesday to demonstrate five yoga poses, which Lee says strengthens, restores and rejuvenates the body as time takes its toll.
Lee says there's really not an age limit for yoga. But, she says, as you grow older your yoga practice changes. When you are young, you may want to do physically challenging yoga. When you are older, you may have to modify your routine to include more "restorative" poses.
Lee warns yoga is not about proving anything or achieving goals. It is a good way to make friends with yourself, the way you are, according to her. You can hold poses as long as it is comfortable. Stop and repeat them if necessary.
Accessories needed for the yoga poses Lee demonstrates on Tuesday are medium-size throw pillows, eye pillows and bolsters (long cushions).
To get started, Lee says the women have to create a "sacred space" to rejuvenate themselves. For yoga, you don't need a lot of room. Lee recommends to simply turn off your cell phone, close the door and set a flower and candle, which will begin to shift your mood.
Pose 1: Breathing
For the first pose, Lee says the breathing calms your nervous system and grounds you. It puts your focus on the present moment, which helps you relax no matter what situation you are in.
Physically, she says, this position helps open shoulder joints and strengthen the back.
The breathing is used in all the other poses as well. And the breath relates to the nervous system. Lee explains the breathing also gives the mind something to focus on, besides the stress.
Movement: Sit on a small pillow and calmly breath in and out through your nose with arm movements.
Pose 2: Spinal Twist
Lee says the seated-spinal twist is good for digestion, which can be problematic for women who are going through menopause. It massages the inner abdominal organs and the discs in the spine and the muscles that run along the spine, which helps to keep you standing tall. She says it also relieves neck tension and headaches.
Lee says the position can be practice at work, on a plane or other places outside the home. The pose allows the eyes to turn around, which exercise and relaxes the face and the eyes.
Movement: Seated with cushion under the buttocks. Twist to the right, put your left hand on your right knee and your right hand on the floor behind your backside.
Pose 3: Downward Dog
Lee says this pose is good for strengthening the bones to battle osteoporosis. According to her it reverses the blood-flow to bring fresh blood to the face, which makes the face look younger.
The pose also lets the abdominal organs reverse themselves by hanging upside down. It strengthens the heart and it opens the back of the body — the lower back and shoulder area. The movement stretches and strengthens at the same time.
Movement: Move cushion and come onto the hands and knees. Push hips up to form and upside down v-shape with the body.
Lee says its fine to bend your knees for this pose, but important to keep your spine straight. You can also put your hands on the back of a chair and then step back until spine is parallel to the floor. This modification is helpful for people that don't have a lot of upper-body strength or if a doctor suggests, for medical reasons, that your head not be below your waste.
Pose 4: Plank Pose
Lee says this pose is especially good for osteoporosis because it develops strong bones and strong abdominal areas. It tones the abdominals without hardening the area, which can be bad for women during menopause.
Movement: The pose is a lot like a push-up, which is hard for most women. To modify, hold the pose for one or two breaths. You can go back up to downward dog or put your knees down and rest in 'child's pose' (curling up in a ball on the floor).
Pose 5: Goddess Pose
Lee says this pose is very relaxing and restorative. She explains this pose relaxes your nervous system and it is good to balance digestion and reproduction.
Movement: Lie down on stomach and roll over. Your buttocks are on the floor. And the bolster is under your spine. The feet will be together with your knees apart. Put a pillow under your knees and put eye pillows over the eyes.