Managing menopause naturally
“When the Changing woman becomes old she starts to travel East. One day whilst walking, she sees herself in the distance, young as she was once, looking back at her. They approach each other and unite to become one. The Changing woman becomes young once again.”
While I have placed Yoga in the exercise section because they are a series of physical movements, the real benefits from regular yoga practice are emotional and the exercises designed to help us reach mental clarity. Yoga teaches us how to find inner peace and harmony and contributes towards out spiritual development.
A regular practice can help you feel calmer and more centered during perimenopause. If you cannot or do not want to go to a class, I highly recommend checking out Yoga with Adriene on Youtube, for really beautiful, free practices. For example, the healing yoga practice in the link here is specifically designed for when you are feeling an imbalance in the body or as preventative care. It can regulate the endocrine system and balance out hormones.
It is always good to get the blood moving around the body and the heart rate up. Just 15 to 20 minutes of cardio of your choice on a daily basis will strengthen your heart, open your lungs and lift your spirits. Jogging, swimming or brisk walking are all great ways to push up your heart rate and get outside.
Shatavari (black or white) is an Ayurvedic herb that’s found in the tropical areas of Asia, India, Australia, and Africa. It’s of a unique family of herbs known as adaptogens, meaning it gives your body what it specifically needs in order to bring it back to homeostasis or balance. It has been used for centuries in India to help women with their reproductive health, restore and balance hormones, increase libido, fight fatigue, treat PMS and menopausal symptoms, strengthen the immune systems, and improve digestive health. It is also said be effective in treating decreased estrogen levels due to its phytoestrogen component.
Black cohosh – based on current research, black cohosh is most likely to relieve symptoms related to reductions or imbalances in the hormone estrogen. A 2010 review concluded menopausal women experienced a 26% reduction in night sweats and hot flashes when using black cohosh supplements.
Anxiety and sleep disorders
Ashwagandha is an orange-red fruit that has been used in India for over 4,000 years as a tonic medicine to boost energy, learning levels and libido and to help prevent premature ageing. Reports also suggests that it aids sleep, reduces anxiety and supports the immune system. High in antioxidants, the plant has been used traditionally to maintain a youthful complexion and is even said to help slow down the growth of grey hair. Sounds to good to be true!
In one small study a group of 634 subjects with a history of chronic stress took ashwagandha over a period of time and levels of cortisol were shown to be significantly reduced. The report concluded that the root appeared to improve an individual’s resistance towards stress. Another small study found that women (ages 21 to 50) who took ashwagandha for eight weeks had improvements in sexual health compared to those taking a placebo.
Passion flower may help treat anxiety, insomnia, and certain forms of pain because it may increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical the brain makes to help regulate mood. In one study, that focused on menopause and associated symptoms, participants reported less headaches, an easing of depression, insomnia, and anger, compared to a control group, after taking passionflower for 3–6 weeks.
An Ayurvedic recipe for insomnia
Equal parts (1/4 tsp each per cup of milk) of jatamamsi, ashwagandha, shatavari, and nutmeg boiled in milk.
A new beginning…
In traditional Chinese Medicine, rather than having a monthly period, a yang activity that drains the kidney of vitality, with the menopause the flow of energy is reversed in the center of the body, and the blood and jing are directed up to the heart. The reversal of this energy flow is a yin activity and occurs in order to conserve our energy and prolong our lifespan.
It is fundamental that we dispel the discouraging negative connotations of menopause that send most women in our society into this phase feeling defeated before they even begin. This is a transition that can be enjoyed, even embraced and by encouraging our daughters to do the same we can reverse some deeply rooted, often damaging attitudes and misconceptions.
We thank Vicky Collier for her contribution in the writing of this post.
“Menopausia. Los años de la regeneración de la energia” Clara Castelloti
“Period Power” Maisie Hill
“Women who run with the wolves,” Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Straight from the studio
Women's health - how to recharge your batteries