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Enhancing Longevity with 4 practises for Women's Health

Updated: May 14

In the grand narrative of human history, we are experiencing unprecedented longevity. Currently, the average life expectancy is 80.1 years, a stark contrast to past generations where reaching 50 was considered a feat. This shift in life expectancy underscores the importance of addressing women's health as a cornerstone of longevity. Reflecting on my studies of the Yoga Sutras, particularly Sutra 2.16 penned by Patanjali, it's clear that its message, "The suffering that is yet to come can be prevented," is more relevant now than ever.


Longevity with  women's health practices

The Intersection of Women's Health and Longevity

While this article will predominantly explore women's hormonal health—a passion of mine—it also offers valuable insights applicable to all genders, and especially useful to those women close to you.

Patanjali’s Sutra encourages us to prevent suffering by making conscious decisions in the present that benefit our future health. This ancient wisdom, emphasizing karma and conscious choice, becomes instrumental as we look to cultivate a proactive approach to living a long and healthy life.

As women, particularly given that over 1 billion are projected to enter perimenopause by 2025, understanding the early onset of symptoms starting from the mid-30s is vital. With earlier menstruation and extended reproductive phases compared to previous generations, prioritizing hormonal health is crucial for long-term well-being.


In essence even the smallest actions play a role in determining the future.

womens hormonal health drawing

Coming back to the fact that we are growing older than ever before. As a woman, this means that over 1 billion women are expected to go into perimenopause in 2025 with the average woman starting in her 40s, but symptoms can start as young as 35. We also menstruate earlier and longer than our predecessors. Knowing all this means that taking care of our hormonal health should be on our top self-care list.


"The outer world is nothing more than an inner condition" ~ from the book 'A course in miracles"

Addressing Longevity Through Lifestyle Choices


So what are the 4 ways to practice for longevity?


Sleep and Stress Management

Scientific research has identified sleep and stress management as critical factors in maintaining health and promoting longevity. High stress and poor sleep lead to elevated cortisol levels, which can undermine the effectiveness of exercise, healthy eating, and maintaining a positive mindset. Prioritizing good sleep and stress reduction must be at the forefront of health strategies aimed at enhancing longevity.


Exercise Beyond Yoga

With over 20 years of experience in yoga practice and teaching, I've recognized the necessity of integrating additional forms of exercise into our routines as we age. Yoga, while beneficial, may not be sufficient alone. Incorporating weight-bearing and high-velocity power training is essential for maintaining strength and vitality, especially after 35. This approach to exercise complements yoga and ensures a balanced regimen that supports longevity.


Yoga and then specifically the asana or exercise practice on its own is just not going to do it
adding resistance training to your yoga practice


Nutrition

This feels like kind of a no-brainer, but so many of us are still so lost in what a good diet encompasses. This makes sense as one person's nutrition can be another's poison. For me, it was a long journey to find out what works and what doesn't. Many of you know some of my journey . How I was vegetarian and even vegan for many years, suffering from multiple issues. As I was not listening to what my body needed, but instead following the dogma of what I taught a yoga practicioner/ teacher should be eating. Very stupid in hindsight, but I guess that is what it means to be human. I was very lucky to have come across functional medicine, so that I could get to the root cause of my issues. After which I now know that adding animal protein and skipping certain plant-based foods has made a world of difference. Here are some good practices for nutrition:

  • If you want to explore how a food affects you. Fast for a couple of hours and then eat for instance an apple wait 15-30 minutes and see the effects on your body. Now do the same with heavy pasta, cream & cheese and see how you feel

  • Drop gluten, dairy & refined sugar for a while and see if this makes any difference. It is known that these 3 are highly inflammatory for the body. So even if you are not allergic it is good to see the effects of taking them out of your diet for a while.

  • Add a good protein to each meal & snack. It does not have to be animal protein as long as you add it to each meal. Think of a handful of almonds with a piece of fruit as a snack.

  • Do the same with a high-quality fat, try adding it to each meal. Think good sourced olive oil, avocado, salmon, nuts & their butter.

  • if you are suffering a lot from your food and you do not know what is causing it, even after an elimination diet. I would highly recommend working with a functional doctor. You can find more info & practitioners all over the world here: ifm.org


Add a good protein to each meal & snack. It does not have to be animal protein as long as you add it to each meal.
longevity and womens health nourishment

Mindfulness

Women today are doing too much. Women's bodies are not designed for long-term stress levels, and the result is imbalanced hormones. During times of stress, the adrenals produce more cortisol, and since the body is now essentially in fight-or-flight mode, it starts to reduce sex hormone production. This is a natural survival response. In hard times, the body inhibits sex hormones to reduce the fertility rates; and then in good times, hormones balance and fertility levels increase. Research has shown conclusively that meditation & mindfulness help to reduce stress hormones and increase a beneficial hormone called DHEA, which is the building block for hormone production and a natural anti-ageing hormone. Even just taking a few moments throughout your day to meditate, to reconnect, to pause. Can already make a significant change and has been proven to make you more efficient. So instead of doing an 8-hour workday in one go. Split it up. Work 2 hours and then take a 10-15 minute rest where you let your mind wonder off. Work again for 2 hours and then do a 10-15 minute meditation on gratitude. Work again 2 hours and then go for a 10-15minute mindful walk where you sense, feel and become aware of your surroundings. When you finish your workday don't just rush off, but take a 5-minute breath awareness practice before you go on your way.


Remind yourself

Remember that with self-care, it is not the 'doing' that is hard. It is the remembering. Going for a walk, exercising, taking some time for yourself, breathing awareness - these things are not hard in and of themselves. What can be difficult is the shift in our state of consciousness away from the high-strung distractions of our daily lives.


This year we are hosting two very special retreats at Yogaion.


The pause retreat from 6-12 July in Aljezur, Portugal, Which as the name says it is all about taking a moment to reconnect, to bring your mind to your body. To pause amidst the chaos of life. The retreat is led by and organised by a very special group of woman all contributing their knowledge and care to bring an amazing week of true connection.


From 14-20 September in Cantabria, Spain. I will be hosting a retreat that is very close to my heart. The women's wisdom sculpt retreat. Through nutrition, mindfulness, our innate connection to water & sculpt Yoga. We will come back to ourselves and find new ways of self-care so that we can practice for longevity. Sculpt Yoga is a combination of body awareness, conscious practice, yoga, pilates, strength & cardio, functional movement & core combined with the fluidity that I find when connecting to the ocean. You can check out my Instagram account: shainiverdon to see more on this.



womens health & longevity

Side note on perimenopausal symptoms

As a side note if you are suffering from perimenopausal symptoms I would highly recommend talking to your gynaecologist and delving deeper into the science of bioidentical HRT (hormone replacement therapy) as new studies show great relief not just for now but also for later in life to prevent disease like osteoporosis. It might feel like very far from your bed show especially if you are in your twenties or thirties. But as (Western) women we are so lucky living in this day & age. All the information is out there so that we can inform ourselves and make the choice that is best for us. But we do need to take a proactive stance and not just hand the responsibility for our health of to someone else. This way no matter how young you are, and probably even better the younger you are. As you start incorporating the idea of karma into your life, you realise that even the smallest action now can have a profound effect on your overall health later in life.


As always with much love,

Shaini ❤️


Ps you can always send me a private message if you have any further questions, on the topic 🙏






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