Is Menopause an End or a Renewal?
It is very narrowing to associate Menopause only to the end of menstruation or to a simple physical evolution.
Too many women are buried (often even before being at this stage of their lives) under the weight of this occidental vision that associates it to a burden…including aging, wrinkles, decay, weight gain, loss of libido, hot flashes, and loss of confidence and self-esteem in their beauty and femininity.
Well, in reality, it is the exact opposite of that.
Ayurveda, the multi-millenniary medicine of India, and Chinese Medicine agree on the fact that this time is on the contrary an accomplishment that opens to the third phase of a woman’s life after menstruation (“Celestial Water” in Chinese Medicine) and pregnancy (“The maturation of the Fruit”).
Menopause is called “Second Spring,” to signify that there is a renewal of the energy and of opportunities in Life.
It is in any case not an aging, but a natural effort of the body to slow down and to bring a new balance for the coming years. It is the ultimate step on a path towards unity and totality where our vital essence , our Spirit, and our potential are balanced to engage in harmony.
At this time, we clarify our inner deeper identity. We leave the past aside to become who we want to be. In fact, our energy is given back to us instead of flowing externally, to nourish a new potential.
Before, we were building a family, a career, we were into relationships, we were identifying ourselves as our social position, our husband, our cultural or familial expectations, etc. But, during Menopause, we are given the power to find our own independence, to express ourselves in full authenticity: moving, following a Yoga retreat, sharing love with our relatives, traveling, nurturing a project.
Living a Healthy Transition
The lowering or loss of hormones induces a diminution of our vital energy (Prana and Ojas), along with the immunity and the internal coherence (Homeostasis, comprising the temperature, the ecosystem and flora, the nervous system,etc.): all is readjusting.
The activity of the sympathetic nervous system rises, which increases the cortisol levels (the stress hormone), the blood pressure, the cardiac rhythm; all that imprisons a lot of fire element (Pitta) in the body and manifests as:
- hot flashes
- cardiac disorders
- dry vagina
- digestive disorders
- memory disorders
…because, as with each transition, there is an adjustment of the Body and Mind.
We can feel overwhelmed by contradictory emotions, but the underlying purpose is to lead to wisdom and understanding that changes and cycles are an inherent part of Life and that it is time for new emotions to emerge, other than frustration or anger.
So, how do we return to that graceful, harmonious and luminous Menopause that women knew in ancient times?
Here are some strategies that any woman can easily put in place:
Please note that these do not apply for everyone, but are here to enrich your perception and offer you keys. In any case, auto-medication is suggested. One should work with an Ayurveda practitioner or competent holistic practitioner who would be able to personalize and adapt a treatment.
1) Igniting the Agni (Digestive Fire)
- Use deepana (carminative) and/or pachana (digestive) spices along with the meals (cumin, fennel, cardamom, turmeric, coriander), but avoid strong spices.
- Avoid drinking with meals and wait until 30 minutes after.
- Eat warm and cooked food.
- Choose healthy food that is easy to digest, made of whole cereals and pulses, and cooked vegetables.
- Avoid or reduce caffeine and alcohol that will bring more warmth and toxins to the liver and stress the nervous system.
- Avoid or reduce the consumption of milk products, and refined commercial products.
2) Calming the Nervous System and the Pitta Dosha
- Ensure proper hydration, regularly drinking warm or lukewarm water.
- Try infusions of fennel, coriander, and sweet mint.
- Eat apples and pomegranates.
- Use tincture or decoction of Milky Oats and/or Skullcap, both nourishing herbs and nervous system tonics.
3) Use Famous Ayurvedic Herbs
- Shatavari root: a superb tonic for women that tones up the uterus, helps against dryness, nourishes the blood, favors the creation of healthy tissues, quiets the mental dispersion, nourishes the immunity, calms spasms, and helps against insomnia.
- Ashoka bark: a wonderful plant for women, that has the special property (Prabhava) at the spiritual level to remove grief and deep sorrow from the heart.
- Neem leaves: a bitter plant to assist the liver, purify the blood, help fight odors, reduce excess heat and inflammations as well as acne and skin disorders.
- Arjuna bark: An excellent plant for the cardiovascular system.
- Brahmi leaves: A relaxing herb that helps with concentration and memory and all neurological and cerebral disorders.
4) Cocooning Oneself
- Wake up before or with the sunrise and sleep early around 10PM.
- Take time to do soft self massage with sesame oil infused with jasmine or rose.
- Do exercises such as Yoga and QiGong to strengthen the body and align the mind.
- Take deep breaths daily and specific Pranayama such as Nadi Shodana (inhale right nostril, exhale left, inhale left, exhale right, etc.) to clarify the channels of energy, or Sheetali (open mouth and make tongue in U shape, inhale/exhale) for a cooling effect.
5) Make Peace
- Make peace with the past, accept the present and hope for the future. Nothing creates greater imbalance than hate, anger, frustration, resentment, and nervousness.
- Give yourself forgiveness, contentment, compassion as answers to all the negative emotions you face. When we forgive ourselves and others, or the turns that our life took, we do not remove nor forget what happened…we free ourselves from the power it had on us and the vitiated attachment to that suffering. It requires no effort…simply an opening of the heart.
Menopause celebrates and welcomes the entrance, the start of a new radiant time of wisdom and grace. It is a transition that we can prepare for with perspective, instead of seeing it as a vortex of changes and instability.
Childhood is the time to absorb, to grow and to discover the world.
Then comes the time to initiate, to build, to do. Those are the years for the Ego and its need to make its place in the world.
Eventually comes another time, a time to let go of that need to prove something to the world and others, to get the energy back on us, to work on a self-accomplishment, for oneself and by oneself.
It is no longer time to be in image or demonstration.
We no longer have anything to prove and clarity comes as we listen to our inner and higher Soul, in a deep contemplation on Life.
It is also time to share this wisdom with our family, relatives and the society more globally.
We can approach the sunset of our life with satisfaction and peace, remembering that ultimately we are a Soul, a pure essence that will remain well after the body will return to mother Earth who lent it.
Hence, by reconnecting to our essence, we will be able to flood the world with our felicity and compassion.
The best way to prepare or live a healthy and serene Menopause is to start right now, wherever you are, with whatever you are.
Ultimately, Menopause is only another phase, such as puberty or pregnancy. It is not a disease, as it is often claimed to be.
As in any transition, it requires that we remain listening and careful to make wise choices since all the disagreements and disorders manifest only to show something that needs to be taken care of.
Bow to and recognize the natural intelligence that is put in place and return its energy inside; it is one of the most beautiful things that you can offer to you and your family.
Let’s help each other for health and femininity, and remove all the negative connotations that make too many woman in our society face this phase with discouragement even before starting to live it.
I hope this article will support you in that way. Let me know below.
Traditional Chinese Medicine for Women: Reflections of the Moon on Water, Xiaolan Zhao avec la collaboration de Kanae Kinoshita, Partie VII