For some women, menstruation stops quite neatly. For others, it is like tidal waves at irregular intervals.
The average age when the period stops is 52. However, the internal shifts may begin well before that and continue beyond that benchmark.
This very individual process depends on both your Ayurvedic constitution and your current condition. How has your body dealt with the challenges of four decades of life?
Menopause is a time when we are naturally and more easily out of balance, because everything is shifting. This is why surfing is the perfect metaphor. We can shift ourselves to riding it rather than tumbling in the waves.
Ayurvedically speaking, change means more Vata dosha so symptoms may show irregularity, more dryness, and more emotional instability when Vata gets out of hand. Meanwhile the energy shifting upward can bring fiery Pitta or congested Kapha disturbances into the heart or head.
Being aware of your menopausal beginnings allows you to anticipate your changes and support the process.
Are you in your 40’s and have your cycles become a little less predictable? Did you notice that your cycles are closer together or are they further apart? How about unbelievable amounts of cervical mucus when you ovulate? Or perhaps any other change now that you’re not ovulating every cycle?
Are you very hormonal and have intense PMS phases or has it already shifted to post-menstrual emotional swings? Then there are hot flashes, power surges that can vary from a comfortable spreading warmth to a rush of heat and sweat.
With Ayurveda, these transitions can be calmer and a much easier experience.
By including the right herbs, following the right lifestyle and diet, it can transform your body into a happier, stronger place. But remember, don’t wait until things are out of hand. Start sooner rather than later to get into the habit of balance.
• Breathing: Use full yogic breathing and alternate nostril breathing to calm the nervous system and turn off the adrenals.
• Movement: Slow, steady practices like yoga and walking will help ground your senses, and feel connected. It also helps maintain awareness as your body transitions, especially with the shift of metabolism that can occur.
• Daily Self Massage: Rhythmic and routine strokes using Vata soothing oils like iYURA Balaayah Black Gram Body Booster, which intensely moisturizes dry skin while strengthening and fortifying it against the aggressive appearance of signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots.
If you choose to, you can also try gently stimulating Marma points. (Of course, avoid oil massage during the menses.)
• Apana-balancing Marma Points: Energy points below the waist can smooth the Apana prana which rules the cycles, urination, bowel movements, and orgasm.
• Vata-soothing Foods and Eating Habits: Include rich, nurturing, and grounding foods like nuts, almonds, warm, moist, and soft foods like bananas and berries along with cooked vegetables, oats, and brown rice.
• Daily Meditation: Clarifying the mind will help maintain a balanced outlook through the transitioning period. Take at least a minute every day to observe your breath in silence and try to calm your mind.
• Herbal Helpers: Shatavari, a phytoestrogen in the Ayurvedic pharmacopeia, is helpful for many women to support their blood and their female organs, while gently balancing hormones.
You can also use a calming, soothing herb like Sandalwood, externally on your skin. Known in Ayurveda for its excellent Pitta-pacifying nature which is the dosha associated with heat and warmth, Sandalwood could come in handy to cool down the skin, and thus help manage one of the earliest symptoms of menopause and hot flashes.
With these tools, you can make a good start at approaching the waves of menopause with balance and grace. If you need more information or guidance, don’t hesitate to consult an Ayurveda Practitioner for a more individualized plan for you.
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