The peri-menauposal, menopausal and post-menopausal stages of life are unique to each woman but universal to all women. It should be looked upon as an opportunity to concentrate on the self and seek help with a positive attitude rather than withdrawing one-self from the rest of the world. Each phase of our life gives its own opportunity for growth and personal expansion so this transitional stage of a woman’s life should be looked upon as her wiser days with a positive approach.
According to Ayurveda, menopause is a natural part of the third stage of life, elderhood. During menopause, levels of estrogen and progesterone, two powerful female hormones, drop; this directly impacts our Ojas (the superfine substance responsible for immunity); this reduction lessens our ability to maintain balance, even in the same environment and with the same stressors. For many of us, it conjures visions of hot flashes, dizzying mood swings, and long nights lying awake.
Through Ayurvedic practices we can make the transition gracefully and navigate this time of life with a positive lens focused on new beginning—a chance to realign with our values and prioritize our own well-being. Here are some tips that can help you make the transition smoother:
• Make Peace with the Past: Making peace with the past and creating acceptance for the present and future is the single-most important element of your transition.
• Incorporate a Vata Balancing Diet: Menopause is a transition into a Vata (Air and Space) dominant stage. Incorporating a vata-balancing diet (that does not aggravate pitta) can be a key component of the transition; this diet consists of warm, well-cooked foods, cooked with spices that aid in digestion, such as cumin, fennel, coriander, saffron, turmeric, and hingvastak.
• Practice Pranayama and Yoga: Learn the art of breathing slowly and deeply and use yoga to calm your nervous system, decrease stress, and help with menopausal symptoms.
• Increase Moisture: Dryness is the quality that tends to become most excessive in the menopausal body; thus the best way to battle this is increase the juice. This can be best done with abhyanga, increasing fluid intake and adding chyavanprash.