Suza Francina, the author, dedicates this book to the Yoga Sisterhood, of which I consider myself a member. I have been practicing yoga off and on since my early 30s and have never really lost my love for this practice. (See my article in This ‘n That, entitled “I Always Come Back to Yoga.”
In this wonderfully arranged book with lots of snapshots of many yoga poses (asanas), Suza has provided the midlife woman with â€œtoolsâ€ to help her with the transitional period of midlife that we call menopause. Each chapter tackles a specific topic. For example, Chapter One covers alternatives to hormone therapy and Chapter Two delves into the endocrine system. (Hormones are the substances secreted by the endocrine glands. Hormones are also called â€œbiochemical messengersâ€.) Chapter Four is called The Power of Hot Flashes and Chapters Five, Six, and Seven deal with healthy bones, cancer, and heart disease, respectively.
Each chapter is filled with stories of other womenâ€™s menopausal stories and how yoga helped them through this midlife transition. In this way, the author also draws upon the wisdom of other yoga practitioners and writers in the field of yoga, putting quotes as sidebars in appropriate places in each chapter. In effect, you are getting the wisdom of many authors, not just Suza’s.
The book is easy to read and quite comprehensive. Each chapter has photos of poses that help women as they navigate the menopausal trail. The final chapter is a series of photos as part of Suzaâ€™s Practice Guide. There is also a helpful Resources section of yoga teachers featured in the book and a Directory for finding a yoga teacher in your area. Francina also includes womenâ€™s retreats that offer yoga, as well as miscellaneous websites and associations.
Here are a few quotes from Francinaâ€™s book that will hopefully encourage you to read the book and/or join a yoga class, if you have not already done so:
â€œMenopause is a metamorphosis, a complete change at the cellular level.â€ (p. xvii)
â€œYoga is a â€˜unificationâ€™ of physiological, psychological and spiritual therapies. It is a healing science that addresses all the concerns of women going through menopause.â€ (p. xviii)
â€œYoga postures, besides providing a superior form of weight-bearing exercise that stimulates bones to retain calcium, also help to stimulate and distribute the flow of synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints between bones.â€ (p. 105)
â€œYoga can help reduce the risk of breast cancer by stimulating lymph flow, strengthening the endocrine and immune systems, and helping you be more in touch with your body.â€ (p. 127)
â€œThe feminine path to self-realization unfolds when a woman reclaims her own authority over her body and her life. She learns to honor her own needs and rhythms, and to trust her bodyâ€™s innate wisdom.â€ (p. 179)
This book is an excellent resource for all women. It is informative, uplifting, and powerful. Yoga and the Wisdom of Menopause is published by Health Communications, Inc. in Florida and costs $12.95 (soft cover), a bargain for so much information. The publisherâ€™s website is www.hcibooks.com.