Yoga could be of immense help to women going through severe menopausal symptoms, as it appears to improve mental functioning, while reducing night sweats and hot flashes, suggests Indian researchers.
To investigate this fact, about 120 women of the age group 44 to 55 years, with physical and cognitive symptoms of menopause, were randomly assigned yoga exercises such as simple stretching five days a week for eight weeks.
The postures such as meditation and breathing too were included in the yoga intervention, as they are believed to develop mastery over modifications of the mind. Women in the yoga group were also allowed to listen to lectures on how yoga helps in stress management and other such topics. Those in the control group, however, heard lectures on exercise, diet, and physiology of stress and menopause.
After eight weeks, women in the yoga group reported significant reduction of night sweats, hot flashes and sleep disturbances, while women in the control group did not report any such changes.
The study lead, Dr. R. Chattha of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana in Bangalore, India, explains that although both groups showed improvements in concentration, the improvement in yoga group was considerably high.
During the performance by the groups on memory and intelligence with 10 components, the yoga group scored eight, while the control group scored six. Even during the seven subtests, the yoga group showed remarkable improvements in comparison to the control group.
This study shows that yoga is even superior to other physical activities in enhancing cognitive functions which could be due to the focus that yoga lays on breathing, synchronization of breathing with body movements, and relaxation, the researchers conclude.