Menopause Yoga for Hot Flashes: 5 Tools to Reduce Hot Flashes


When going through perimenopause there are changes in the body, mind and emotions. Hot Flashes are a common symptom due to these changes. Here are five ways yoga can help to reduce hot flashes.

Hot Flashes

Many women say the most disruptive symptoms of menopause are the hot flashes and they affect three out of every four women. If you want to know more about how yoga can help through menopause you can read ‘Yoga for Menopause: A Complete Guide’. This article shares what is a hot flash and why they occur, and some tips, tools and yoga for hot flashes.

What is a Hot Flash

A hot flash is a feeling of intense heat that comes suddenly and spreads throughout your face, neck, chest and body. Some women experience it as a wave of heat that floods over your head. You may experience:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Redness in your face
  • Sweating
  • Cold shivers
  • Dizziness 

Hot flashes can last anything from a few seconds or a few minutes to an hour. At worst they could occur regularly throughout the day, or alternatively they may just show up a few times a month then the Oestrogen levels drop lower.

Hot flashes tend to start when the hormones begin to change in perimenopause and can last up to five years. However, some women experience them long into their post menopause.

One theory for the cause of hot flashes is the falling level of oestrogen can affect another hormone called noradrenaline (norepinephrine). This is the hormone that helps us to regulate body temperature. The changes in oestrogen and noradrenaline affect the hypothalamus (in the brain) and it becomes more sensitive to temperature changes, in both directions!

Hormonal Changes

As you reach perimenopause there are changes in your body, mind and emotions. Hormones start to shift and change and the menstrual cycles becomes less regular, with longer gaps between your bleeds. During these changes women might start to experience hot flashes and other symptoms related to hormonal changes.

The amount of oestrogen being produced in the ovaries reduces are you body moves our of it’s reproductive years. Hot flashes are a symptom of this hormonal change. 

It is the rise and fall of oestrogen and progesterone throughout our monthly cycle that gives us the fluctuations in our hormones, and as a result in our emotional and energetic shifts. Even with continuous contraception is it likely you still experience slight shifts in your mind and body in this manner. For 40-50 years we experience this cycle as women, and as a result, missing a period can feel destabilising.

Just as every women has a different cycle when menstruating, so every woman’s experience of perimenopause is likely to differ too.

Physical and Emotional Changes

One thing that is common for all women is that there are some physical and emotional shifts that are are unpredictable and out of our control. Often women say things such as their body no longer feels like their own. Some women say they hardly recognise themselves or that their body ‘hates’ them.

Hot flashes are one of these symptoms that are unpredictable and cause a lot of discomfort for many women. Other symptoms could include all, any (or none) of the below:

  • Night sweats
  • Bloating and weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Hair loss
  • Sore breasts
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Brain fog or even short term memory loss
  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Longer, heavier menstruation, or no periods for months.

With all the changes happening to your body and the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, it is vital we learn to befriend our body and take exquisite care of ourselves. Ways we can take better care of ourselves can include nutritious food, plenty of downtime and rest, gentle yoga practices and just generally talking kindly to ourselves.

Many of us have an inner critic telling us we are not good enough. This voice in our head convinces us we are not good enough and not loveable. For so many women this critic focuses on our body and physical appearance and if we meet attractiveness standards that are unobtainable (and set by men). After so many years of listening to this voice we begin to believe it, but it REALLY is not the truth. Menopause is a super important time to practice more self compassion and kindness. It’s time to tune down and out the inner critic and turn the voice into a supportive loving friend.

Things that can trigger a hot flash:

  • Hot drinks and hot showers
  • Being in a crowded space like buses and trains
  • Thoughts can emotions can also be a trigger as they cause tension in the body and as a result change the balance of adrenaline and cortisol.
  • Stimulants (coffee, sugar, spicy foods) – these increase the heart rate and flow of blood and can cause a flash
  • Alcohol

Ways to reduce hot flashes:

There is hope! There is now research and trials showing evidence that simple breath work, yoga and meditation can really make a difference in reducing the frequency of the flashes and improving the quality of women’s live.

Other things that can help to reduce hot flashes are:

Try: the Menopause Yoga class ‘Befriending Your Body’ with Petra Coveney – this class focuses on ways to alleviate hot flashes.

Are Hot Flashes the same as Night Sweats?

Many women only experience hot flashes at night time rather than in the day. This is when hot flashes become night sweats. 

Night sweats are different as they tend to be triggered by changes in temperature during different moments of your sleep cycle.  For some women they wake up up to three times in the night having a night sweat and with the bed clothes soaked through.

Night sweats can be triggered by the same things as the hot flashes, here are some suggestions to reduce night sweats:

  • Avoid stimulants and emotional conversations in the evening and closer to bed time.
  • Eat the evening meal earlier so that digestion can take place before going to bed
  • Improve sleep hygiene with a regular time for bed, turning off screens earlier, sleeping with an open window for air
  • Stay hydrated all through the day and avoid drinking too close to bed time (as bladder problems are common in menopause and can be a reason for waking in the night)
  • Learn to calm the mind before bed with some of the suggestions below (including journalling, sound healing, Yoga Nidra, and restorative yoga in bed!)

How to improve sleep during menopause:

Here are some great ways to improve your sleep:

  1. Lisa Sanfilippo (an MFML teacher and the founder of Sleep recovery) – Try her sleep recovery course on MFML
  2. Sound Healing – try this beautiful technique before bed
  3. Yoga Nidra
  4. Ultimate Relaxation course

Yoga for hot flashes: 5 Tools to Reduce hot flashes

There are many things that can help with reducing hot flashes. Read below for five essential tools to help us to reduce the frequency and intensity of our hot flashes in menopause.


Yoga for hot flashes… can yoga help?

The short answer is YES! Yoga can reduce hot flashes. Yoga invites cooling breath techniques and meditative movement that can calm the mind and create space for heat to release from the body.

In a gentle yoga practice the poses can softly open and release the areas we get sweaty (e.g. around the arms), as we make more space whilst stretching we allow heat to disperse. Tension also creates more heat so as we relax our body and mind we reduce mental and physical tension which reduces hot flashes.

In Ayurveda, hot flashes are an excess of heat (pitta). In Chinese medicine hot flashes are linked to a kidney imbalance which causes an excess of fire and as a result dehydration. Both these eastern systems acknowledge there is an excess of fire and both prescribe rest, and letting go (rather than to fight back and resist!). There is a real need for women to embrace and surrender this to this moment of change.

The message is we need to give ourselves permission to slow down and pause. We need to learn to live more in balance with our bodies. We need to learn tools to reduce stress and care for ourselves. Yoga is a beautiful practice to help with this.

Breathing Techniques:

Breath is a fundamental practice to sooth and calm the body. The best thing is breath is always accessible and available to us. It comes with us wherever we go!

Try this Menopause Yoga class with Petra Coveney, it begins with a breathing technique called the Hot Flush Wave. This is a calming and soothing breath to help us take longer and slower breath and release heat from the body. It is a breath practice that calms the nervous system and takes us into a rest and digest state.

You can also try this Cooling and Calming Yoga Practice with Gabriella Espinosa – This is a great menopause yoga class, providing relief to hot flushes, night sweats, irritability and sleeplessness. In addition to supported forward folds, gentle inversions and restorative poses, there is slow deep breathing and cooling pranayama practices that really relaxes the mind and body.

There are also other cooling breath techniques found in yoga that you can practice to cool the body:

  • Sitali (curled tongue) – Curl your tongue lengthwise and reach it out of your mouth a little. Breathe in and out through the tongue
  • Sitkari (smiling with bared teeth) – Gently close your teeth, rest your tongue in the bottom of your mouth and slowly inhale through your teeth.
  • Straw Breath – As you inhale, open your lips and suck the air gently in as if you were sipping a drink through a straw. Pause at the top of your breath, close the mouth and slowly breath out through the nose.  

Meditation & Self Reflection

Taking time to sit mindfully and meditate is another wonderful tool to invite a slow pace and rest. It can be great to do after a yoga practice when the body is more sensitive and the mind has slowed down a bit!

From this mindful space there is a chance to self-reflect and observe sensation and feelings. It is a chance to send gratitude and love to the body and invite in self-compassion.

So often we hear the term ‘listen to your body’ and ‘do what feels good’ but how do we know if we don’t slow down and create a quiet space for us to be able to listen and hear.


Regularly making time to journal is a really beneficial way to release repetitive thoughts or unhealthy emotions.

It doesn’t need to a bit tedious task, it can just be 5 minutes (with a timer) at any time of day. There can be a focus or no focus and it is simply about putting pen to paper and emptying the mind.

A nice time to do this is after yoga or meditation practice and you can journal about emotions that come up during practice. But it really can be done any time and offers more opportunity for self reflection, awareness and with that comes compassion.

Positive Affirmations:

As we are on a journey of more self acceptance and love, a great way to do this is to write positive affirmations for ourselves. The trick here is to write them as though they are true already in the present!

For example:

  • I am beautiful
  • I love my body and curves exactly as it is
  • I am full of life and vitality

It can be good to repeat these affirmations to yourself throughout the day at different points e.g. on waking up, during a yoga practice, before bed…! Another useful thing to do is write the affirmations out and stick them around our bedroom, especially around mirrors and places where we tend to hear the inner critic the loudest.

Kind words and affirmations help to keep the nervous system calm, the inner critic quiet and the body relaxed and open to the changes of menopause. As a result the hot flashes could reduce in intensity and quantity!

Once you’ve had a go and practiced using these easy tools, it can feel empowering as we are more in control of our body, breath and triggers. Finding ways to manage our menopause symptoms in this way helps take steps towards truly befriend our bodies, build confidence and developing new healthy habits and routines.

Read more about hormonal changes, hot flushes and the menopause:

Hot Flushes by Petra Coveney

Yoga for Menopause: The Complete Guide

Eliminate Hot Flushes by Barbara Warren


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