Thriving Through Your Menopause
Today, I want to tackle a potentially anxiety-inducing topic: menopause wellness. Whether you embrace aging or fight it, it's important that we acknowledge this inevitable process. Now, you might be thinking that this is not for you because you are too young but I invite you to keep an open mind. Today, we are going to cover all things menopause.
The Beginning of Your Menopause Story
Menopause is not usually discussed enough. Women aren't given the right resources to navigate the changes in their body until the transition has already begun. Did you know that menopause can start as early as thirty five? The life choices that you make right now will play a role in your menopause story.
The beauty of learning about menopause early in your adult life is that you can gain a greater sense of agency over your body. We don't have to fight aging. It's a natural process and I invite you to attend your own menopause celebration! It is never too late to change the direction of your life and unpacking menopause through the lens of Ayurveda will help you to write the narrative of your own story.
Menopause Through The Lens of Ayurveda
At the age of thirty five, many women start to start to lose the fire of their young adult years as they move into a phase that is more calming. In Ayurveda, this shift is known as a transition from the Pitta dosha (Fire) to the Vata dosha (Air). Both physical and mental shifts occur when you get older. The fact is, your needs change so, what worked for you in your twenties may not work for you in your forties.
Instead of avoiding thinking about aging as many of us do, I encourage my clients to really focus in on that transitional phase and get comfortable with it. When we embrace this natural process we can focus on what actions we need to take to feel great moving forward.
If you feel anxious about menopause, take a look at Jane Fonda's uplifting Ted Talk about women's third chapter. Know that you are not alone and this vital phase of Vata, or the wisdom years, is a beautiful part of life. With that in mind, here are some things you need to know about menopause.
What is Pre-Menopause?
Before women begin menopause, we experience what's called "pre-menopause." If you've heard of this term, you might be wondering what pre-menopause looks like. While this transitional phase looks a little different for everyone, here are a few symptoms that you may experience:
Hot menstrual cycles
The Effects of Abrupt Pitta to Vata Transitions
Menopause comes to us at different times. For those of you who went through hysterectomies, you transitioned from Pitta to Vata in a rather abrupt and maybe even traumatic fashion. It is important to be mindful of how you are treating your body. Now is the time to treat yourself with care and gentleness.
Sometimes symptoms of menopause can be exacerbated by the way you treat your body. Misuse or overuse of the mind, body, emotions, or senses will trigger your body to send signals alerting you that something is wrong. This happens when a woman strains her mind too much, is under too much ongoing stress or pressure, or is doing work that is too "heavy" for her body.
When you over exert your mind or body, you may experience fire or air related symptoms. If you feel fire symptoms, you will want to think about the things you can do to quell the flames, so to speak. If you are experiencing more air related symptoms, you will want to find ways to ground yourself to the earth.
How to Treat Fire and Air Symptoms
If you are prone to fire-based problems like hot flashes or a short temper, follow a Pitta-pacifying diet. Here are some tips to do just that.
Avoid foods that are excessively spicy, such as chilies, cayenne, and black mustard seed.
Reduce overly salty dishes and foods that are sour such as yogurt, ketchup, mustard, and condiments made with vinegar.
Consider cutting back on caffeine and alcohol as they aggravate fire.
Cook with Pitta-reducing spices, such as cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, fennel, and small amounts of cumin seed.
Lifestyle activities such as cold showers, walking barefoot in the grass, putting your feet in cool water and engaging in mindful breath work will help you calm your symptoms.
If you experience air-related symptoms of menopause such as memory loss or vaginal dryness, you will want to work toward bringing the Vata dosha back into balance. Here are some tips to stay grounded:
You will want to eat foods that are cooked, warm, and unctuous (meaning that they have a small number of good fats such as ghee and olive oil).
Eat foods that are sweet, sour and salty
Ginger, black pepper, fenugreek, nutmeg, cinnamon are great for the Vata dosha.
Engage in calming activities such as long walks, meditations and making time for self-care time.
The Importance of Breathing and Sleeping
We all need to breathe and sleep to survive, right? But have you ever considered how you are approaching these two vital functions? Mindful breathing and maintaining a healthy sleep routine are two techniques for a menopause wellness that I'd like to discuss.
One of favorite mindful techniques is alternate nostril breathing (anuloma viloma) which essentially means, expelling all of the toxins through the way your hair grows. If you'd like to see me demonstrate this technique, check out my blog post Breathing Through COVID-19. Alternate nostril breathing has been proven to work and the best of all, it's free, simple, and can be done while watching your favorite show.
The other technique I recommend is creating a steady and healthy sleep routine. Many women struggle with sleep. Time, kids, life and stress usually puts sleep on the back burner. Know that you cannot deprive yourself for too long. Sleep is crucial to your health and cognitive function during the day.
Prepare to Thrive Through Your Menopause
I know that transitioning into your wisdom years can seem daunting. But know that you have agency and control over how you make this natural shift.
I invite you to write down some of the symptoms that we covered today and really start to identify what side you are landing on. Is it fire? Is it air? Once you know what dosha dominates your symptoms you can start implementing these techniques and diet tips. I also recommend journaling about how you are feeling. These small changes will get you on the path to a fulfilling menopause story.
Are interested in learning more about the Ayurvedic approach to menopause? Are you curious about the techniques that I use? Schedule your free breakthrough session and we can begin working toward your ideal menopause journey together.