I’m going to talk about menopause today. All we hear about menopause is doom, gloom and negativity and hot flashes. But today I am going to explain to you how liberating menopause can be, the fascinating freedom women going through menopause can experience. It will help towards psychologically accepting the process and rising above the negativity. I will share small tips that will help you deal with some of the niggling symptoms and handle them analytically. A person’s lifespan goes through three different phases from new born to childhood, puberty to menopause and from there till death.
Puberty is when your menstrual cycle starts. If we were to think of this whole cycle as a burning candle, the first flame is when puberty starts, and the last flame is when we reach menopause. The time in between the candle keeps burning with both the first and last flame being quite difficult for people, both young and older, to handle.
When we think about this starting point of menstruation our body starts reacting in a certain way because it is geared to want to fertilise the eggs that are within us. It is a biological hijack that we cannot control. We want to find a man, a partner to fertilise our eggs, to have sex, have babies, produce milk – this is us being hijacked by estrogen and progesterone hormones without us realising it. This creates a somewhat ridiculous period within us sometimes, when we stress about who loves us and who doesn’t love us, how we can have sex, find partners, do I look good, I am doing the right or wrong thing, are all chaotic thoughts that result from that hijack. All this self-criticism is due to these hormones, pushing us towards doing what is nature’s prime aim for the female body, to fertilise our eggs and have a baby. That is why we go through such emotional turmoil.
When you get to the menopausal period this emotional and biological hijack that the hormones cause becomes a little slowed down and the body seems to be going through a kind of fight. One part wants to continue in the hormonal era with the emotional and biological physiological attachment, while the other part welcomes the break menopause provides, feelings of I have had enough, I want to fly now. The female body is fluctuating between this two emotions we call the pitta area and vata area – between puberty and menopause – pitta which was the dominant area at the point of menopause is struggling to become the vata area.
Though people call it a midlife crisis, it is not a crisis because it is just hormone changes and life phase undergoing change. For example at around the age of 50 is the natural time everyone, especially women, is looking for a change, a different attitude, different results a different outcome from life. In the western world this is identified as negative but Ayurvedically or in the eastern world it is not considered negative. This is the period when your children are grown up and slowly going out of your house, you have less responsibilities and maybe even less sexual urges. It means it is a period when you are looking for something different from life. You are open to spirituality or to finding God, to finding yourself, your place on this planet. It is a time when a type of sacred door is being opened up and I think women should run through this sacred door because it is a fascinating time when your body is no longer hijacked by these hormones. You are free. Your attachment to your children is more lulled and detached. That is why after 50 when women get grandchildren they can experience love without the responsibility. You can love them and let them go. Not like with your children when you are responsible. You love your grandchildren unconditionally but at the same time you are detached.
Your whole life becomes like that now, even your love to your husband while still unconditional there could be a lessening of the irritations of sexual attention. You love that person because you truly love them and not because of your hormones and the sexual drive it creates. The menopausal phase can be a beautiful one if you identify it correctly. If you prepare to enjoy this freedom you will not induce your fire element within your body. It is this fire element that causes the drying of your body – the drying of your vaginal area, dries your skin making it wrinkly etc. If you understand what is happening within your body you will not give pitta a chance to hijack or dominate your body again. You will see that the pitta induced symptoms reduce.
Instead you will understand true love and freedom and the freedom to do things while finding spiritual connections. It is a different kind of attitude we develop during the menopausal phase. If you find that you are suffering from menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, you should have cooling foods such as greens, rice, cooked vegetables, grounding foods that will help you sustain this phase that is all about change. Cut down on heaty foods such as red meat, alcohol, salads and starchy foods. Cooling foods will help you stay grounded and steady during this time of change from one phase to another. Try three teaspoons of crushed coriander seeds in 200ml of water and leave it to soak overnight and drink the water in the morning, after sifting the coriander. It is diuretic and cooling absorbing all the heat. It helps you remove the heat through your urine, and it cools you down while giving you mental clarity as well. Other remedial options include gotukola as a tea or an herb because it is cooling and also helps increase memory, strengthen your brain and brain cells. If you find that you are getting too cooled then you will have to stop the coriander for a while.
All of this is better done under the guidance, supervision and understanding of an Ayurvedic practitioner who can help you get through this menopausal phase. I personally think this is a liberating phrase, a secret being opened up, a time to enjoy and appreciate.