Meet Petra Coveney

Meet Petra Coveney

Petra Coveney is the founder of Menopause Yoga (launched 2013) and is an international acclaimed teacher, trainer, yoga therapist, author and guest speaker specialising in supporting people through the stages of perimenopause to post menopause which she positively reframes as your Second Spring.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My typical day involves waking at 7am for green tea in bed and listening to BBC radio 4 news. As a former BBC journalist (many years ago) I still like to stay connected with current affairs and also listening in to trends in social change. Then I either get up and shower, yoga stretch, seated short meditation and set an intention for the day. But if I’m teaching clients or training teachers at 8am, I only have 15 minutes – time for 2-3 asana, pranayama and a positive affirmation. These are essential for staying grounded and connected to what I need in terms of self care.

I’m a morning person, so my energy is high and I really need to move my body. If I’m teaching later in the day, I’ll walk my dog on the sea front, or meet friends for an 8am sea swim, or go to the outdoor 50 meter swimming pool, or a short jog (very slowly). If there weather is stormy (which it is in winter), I may just lifts some weights in my living room (we need to maintain our heart health, bone density and muscle strength in post menopause). 

Mid morning, if I’m not teaching, I often have work meetings, record podcast interviews, write blogs or newsletters, and update social media. In the afternoon, I’ll do research, or write or study, then walk my dog again. I enjoy eating a large lunch rather than a big evening meal because my metabolism is slower these days. In the evening I usually meet friends, watch a movie, or give myself some headspace to just chill out. I can’t emphasise how important it is at this stage of life to allow yourself to dream, imagine and simply BE.

How did your yoga journey begin and what inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

My first experience of yoga was being a teenager taught at school by a wonderful Indian woman who came in every week. I remember the exact moment when she led us through a relaxation savasana and breathing at the end of her class – I felt relaxed, transformed. Burt yoga in the 1970’s-80’s wasn’t as available as it is today so I stopped until much later when I was pregnant, and also after my daughter was born. I found yoga was a way to regulate my energy and nervous system as a working parent. It was the late 90’s and Madonna was showing off her biceps and promoting Ashtanga yoga. I attended classes with some wonderful, kind teachers for 8 years. But when I hit my perimenopause, I needed a softer style of yoga, so I was drawn to vinyasa flow and qigong with my teacher Jean Halls and Mimi Quo-deemer. These amazing women trained me as a teacher and helped me through many emotional rollercoasters such a family bereavement and a divorce. Their philosophical, somatic, softer approach was life-saving. I later trained in  Inner Axis with Max Strom, Restorative yoga with Judith Hanson Lasater and Anna Ashby, hot yoga with Kristen Stewart, Yin yoga with Sarah Powers, Yoga Therapy with Colin Dinsmuir from True Yoga plus a myriad of other teachers along the way. Nowadays, I love to slip into the back of another teacher’s class (often much younger than me), and let them lead me. Sometimes I practice with my eyes closed and just enjoy the energy and sense of community.  

What inspired you to specialize in your practice?

I went into perimenopause earlier than my friends and my older sister. My mother had passed away, and I now understand that the grief and other stress factors triggered my slightly earlier change in hormones.

When I went to my doctor, she said there was nothing they could offer, and refused to give me HRT, so I was left on my own.  It was the ‘dark ages’ before the growth of social media and the new wave of menopause awareness. As a former journalist, I knew how to research issues, so I applied myself, drew on sources of information from all over the world, and created the first Menopause Yoga practice and wellbeing programme to include nutrition, herbal and natural remedies, specialised yoga practices tailored to menopause symptoms, and included a community aspect (sangha) so that women could talk to each other and not feel lost, alone or mad! Underlying this holistic approach was my research into ancient traditional chinese medicine where I found old texts describing menopause positively as your Second Spring. I loved that because it made me feel excited about this change in life. 

I felt angry that other women didn’t have these resources to support them through what can be a destabilising transition. So I channeled that outrage into creating Menopause Yoga and the rest is history. 

How have you seen yoga benefit your students?

I haven’t conducted scientific research, but I ask people to give anonymous feedback after my workshops, training courses and retreats. Without exception,95-99% of the women attending say they loved the experience. Apart from the yoga, they always say they enjoyed meeting other women and the positive concept of Second Spring. My classes are tailored to therapeutically help women manage their own symptoms such as cooling hot flushes, channeling menorage, calming anxiety and overwhelm, clearing brain fog and fatigue, easing joint and muscle pain, soothing insomnia. These techniques include vinyasa flow, somatic, yin and restorative yoga with specific breathing and meditation techniques. These symptoms are most likely to start in perimenopause to menopause. But when we reach past menopause, we change up the pace to lift a low mood (anhedonia) and  lethargy (often accompanied by social withdrawal). And women my age need to re-energise as they step into their Second Spring. We have classes that are strengthening and empowering, build emotional resilience and guide women to embrace their new sense of self, find their voice and step into their own power.  So the outcomes for women are different.

What is your favorite quote or life motto?

There are so many that inspire me, and Menopause Yoga includes uplifting and inspiring poetry, quotes and lyrics. Language is so important – it can change your self perception which can transform how you feel physically, emotionally. For example, two of the song that I play in my classes are “Everything Must Change” sung by George Benson, and “Feeling Good”  sung by Nina Simone. I first heard these songs when I was a teenager and they made an impression-  and now I am a queenager they resonate with me even more. These lyrics encourage us to see that everything in our lives is always changing, nothing stays the same, which taps into yoga and Buddhist philosophy. Nina’s song is uplifting inspiring us to step into a new dawn, a new day, a new life.

What’s coming up for you in 2024?

This is another BIG year! I will finally complete a yoga diploma course, launch a new Menopause Yoga teacher training course for Australia with Yoga Australia and may even teach there….tbc. I’m writing my second book on Menooause: The Daily Practice Guide on. Tight deadline with my publisher. Launching a new website with more content for women, for teachers, for employers and healthcare professionals. And I have two retreats and many in person and online training courses. There are currently 700 qualified yoga teachers in over 40 countries so I’m always updating and adding new guest speakers content and ensuring they feel supported.

They say that the secret to happiness is good health, a sense of community or belonging and a sense of  purpose. I’m fortunate to enjoy al of these plus the warmth of my family and friends, and Alfie!

Find out more about Petra:


Instagram: menopause_yoga

Facebook: menopauseyoga

Plus, join Petra for 2 Menopause yoga classes, details below:

Topic: Menopause Monday’s – APRIL ONLINE
Time: Apr 15, 2024 07:00 PM London

Link to join:

Meeting ID: 878 3936 8665

Topic: Menopause Monday’s – APRIL ONLINE
Time: Apr 22, 2024 07:00 PM London
Meeting ID: 858 5924 9050


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