Eve Grzybowski

Yoga Suits Her

I’ve been teaching yoga since 1980.  A lot of my identity is tied up with being a yoga teacher.  What does that mean?  What should that mean? On this site I explore my personal journey and provide commentary on the state of yoga in the twenty-first century. I invite you to have a look and see what may be here for you.

Photo by: Julie Slavin Photography, Old Bar

Current Post

Perimenopause, Menopause, Yoga and Me

Image of middle age Barbie doll

Even Barbie goes through menopause

Perimenopause

In my late forties, I went through perimenopause. I had known it was coming, It was inevitable, of course. Yet I hoped, just as all women do, that I would have a relatively easy time of it.

Perimenopause can sneak up on you. When I was forty-seven years, I participated in a two week yoga retreat in Indonesia with international teacher, Dona Holleman. She had been trained to teach yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar and was as tough as he was. In the sweltering equatorial heat, we did lots of backbends and variations, headstands, shoulderstands, and long timings in the simple poses. Even the pranayama we did was hard and harsh. 

My menstruation started two weeks early and I went for 3 weeks on and off. ‘On’ meant flooding–that is, heavy bleeding. The backbend workouts increased the flooding. Silly me, I didn’t want to miss out, so I didn’t beg off to take care of myself. To be fair to Dona, I didn’t tell her what I was going through. I think this is still the case, sadly. Women don’t really let it be known that they are struggling with perimenopause, whether to their teachers, employers or colleagues.

Menopause

I made it through to menopause, the inevitable next stage. At this point, I made a conscious decision. No matter how I’d been conditioned as a women to resist menopause, I would open up to it. After all, it’s not a medical condition. It isn’t a personal insult. It’s a natural, organic stage of a women’s life.

I decided to create a big gesture to illustrate to my women friends and myself that we could celebrate this stage. I created a kind of ceremony–a menopause party. I felt like I needed to do something positive to make an impact against the tide of ‘menopause is a nightmare.’

Below is a copy of the party invitation I designed. It features some quotes I discovered. ‘Menopausal women are irrational figures, subject to hysterical moods that turn them into screaming harpies’. I added, ‘So then, come in fancy dress, if you desire, as harpy, crone, witch, grandma, or just your own wise woman self.’

And, ‘Help Eve chase away those ole’ climacteric blues.’

A flyer-invitation to a party with images of women celebrating

There was a television show around then called ‘Sex Life’, and they were about to do a segment on menopause. A producer got wind that I was having a menopause party. I wasn’t about to have them filming at the party, so instead, they interviewed me getting ready for it. They also filmed me doing my  regular yoga practice at my school, Sydney Yoga Centre.

This segment sent a good message to the audience: do yoga and you will fare well in menopause. This isn’t always the case, but was for me. Most of the symptoms of menopause were minimised for me or were non-existent. 

A book that was popular at this time was Lesley Kenton’s Passage to Power. It’s an empowering text on transforming how we usually think about menopause. Kenton suggests that we can turn what is ordinarily considered a dilemma into an opportunity, That we can move naturally into the next stage of our lives–wise, contributing women. 

My 50’s were creative and productive. I got married, sold a yoga business, wrote a book, started up another yoga school, and trained many yoga teachers.

An Opportunity: Embracing Menopause 

If you are interested in making the most of your experience of perimenopause, menopause or even post-menopause, I have a happy announcement. Ana Davis, author, yoga teacher and trainer, and I will be leading a workshop called ‘Embracing Menopause’ at the Yoga Shed on March 17th. And, I’d love for you to join us. To register, email me at: eve.grzybowski@me.com

Sunday March 17th 2019 10am – 1pm

Talk

Ana and I will lead a discussion about the benefits of embracing rather than resisting the process of menopause and making our peace with this tumultuous life-change. We will explain what’s happening in our bodies as we move into the ‘wise woman’ phase, including an all-important understanding of ‘perimenopause’, and how to support ourselves with the tools of yoga. 

Practice

Eve will guide you through a therapeutic Supported Inversions practice especially designed for menopause. The practice will finish with a deep relaxation to leave you feeling refreshed and inspired. 

It’s been out of print for 15 or more years but now it’s back.  It’s available as a paperback as well as a range of digital formats for different devices.  The design of this edition is modelled as closely as possible on the original release from 1997.

Electronic versions:

Paperback version:

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Teach Yourself Yoga.  Just ask and quote ISBN: 978-0-6487945-0-9.

Please send me feedback about the book.  I’d love to hear about any errors or problems with eBooks on various devices.  And please review the book wherever you get it.  Reviews will help more people discover the book.

The Previous 3 Posts

2017: A Good Year for a New Story

2017: A Good Year for a New Story

The French word for sunflower is tournesol, meaning turning toward the sun. ~ Rosina Mihajlovic, Rudolf Steiner School teacher

More than a year ago, I did a weeklong workshop that turned ‘my story’ upside down. My story had been running me for over four decades.
It doesn’t really matter what my particular story was. Each one of us has his or her personal narrative. 
In the safe and nurturing environment of the workshop, I told my story. More importantly, I felt into all the shame and pain associated with it. […]

read more
Five Minute Poses: Supta Virasana

Five Minute Poses: Supta Virasana

Supta Virasana: Your Stomach’s Friend
Supta Virasana, reclining Hero Pose, is just what I need today after experiencing the Big Xmas Lunch Indulgence. No doubt it will be followed by the Big Boxing Day Seafood Extravaganza. […]

read more
Five Minute Poses: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Five Minute Poses: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana: Low Back First Aid
I find Setu Bandha Sarvangasana an invaluable pose for the way it helps counteract low back compression. In my world, lower back ache is a result of gardening, long drives or sitting at my computer.
Part of why the pose is so good for my lower back and sacrum is because it stretches the abdomen, a part of my body that tenses when my back is tight. […]

read more

Classes and Workshops

I’m currently teaching two weekly classes on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales where I live. I also lead workshops here and in other parts of Australia.

Visit the Vault!

I’ve been regularly contributing to this blog since 2009.  There are now over 1250 posts about a very wide range of topics. Click here to explore.

Yoga Resources

Books, videos, teachers, websites, places to buy really hot yoga clothes (kidding), and generally anything I find that I think others might find useful.

A Bit About Eve

I’ve been teaching since I was 35. I’m now 73. In that time there have been a few changes. Click here if you want to find out a bit about my life.

Media

I know, I know.  Yoga teachers all want to teach remotely.  I’ve been no exception.  Here are some video and audio productions that I’ve made. Not many – it’s something that I alway mean to get around to.

Shop

No, I’m not selling yoga mats or clothing.  I don’t even have a t-shirt… yet.  But from time to time I find myself with something that someone may want.  Have a look, I’m never sure what you’ll find.