Abstract

In varying degrees, all women experience menopause, the condition of infertility due to altered reproductive hormones. The menopausal transition includes three phases—perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause—each associated with physical and psychological symptoms that can negatively affect women's successful functioning in everyday life. In addition to conventional therapies intended to decrease the frequency and severity of symptoms, menopausal women are in need of coping mechanisms to assist in managing symptoms as they occur. Using a deductive approach, a secondary analysis of 12 individuals' qualitative journal entries and semi-structured interviews obtained from a mixed-methods embedded research study was conducted to determine whether data exist to support yoga as a means for coping as presented by Lazarus and Folkman's transactional theory of stress and coping and by Iwasaki and Mannell's leisure stress coping conceptual framework. Results indicate that yoga has the potential for serving as a coping mechanism for women between the ages of 40 and 65 who are experiencing menopause and want to improve their health and/or enhance their ability to manage life's stressors. More specifically, findings discussed in this article advocate yoga as being a leisure activity in which problem- and emotion-focused coping strategies can develop, including mechanisms necessary for palliative coping, mood enhancement, and social companionship. To the authors' knowledge, data reported in this manuscript are the first to support the conceptual framework of Crowe, Van Puymbroeck, and Schmid, aimed at explaining yoga as a viable leisure coping strategy. Additional research focused on the psychosocial benefits of yoga, including yoga as coping, is recommended.

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