When you think you could be heading into menopause, there’s a lot that’s mysterious and new. It’s time to expand your experiential horizons; stretch some. Is this a symptom of the PAUSE, or am I just restless? Is this room really hot or is it me? Then there’s that stage later in the experience where you may be tempted to lay every mood shift and difficulty on the Pause’s door, fairly or not. Your attitude might easily be: “how can I settle down and just live my life, thanks.”
This is actually a wise instinct, the let-me-settle-down one. While a lot is made of hot flashes and Pitta in menopause, in Ayurveda one holy grail of balancing as you splash thru this transition is PAY ATTENTION TO VATA. Why Vata, you say. I’m hot, I’m heavy, this is not Vata. Actually it most likely is. We’ve all got three doshas spurring on our metabolism. The cool, light, dry, changeable one is Vata. Vata is the dosha inside that gets the most stirred up in the face of change. (In Ayurveda, we heal with opposites. If there’s a lot of shift happening, volatile Vata can get distressed.) While Vata likes variety and rebels against routine, it can be strongly imbalanced by sudden changes, especially those coming from outside one’s control – whether that be smoke, fire, flood, chill, shock, loss of sleep or…menopause. The world doesn’t stop for us when we’re in biological transition; it just keeps rolling on. Wait, wait, I need to slow down! You’re right, you do. (The opposite of fast moving Vata is the healing “slows”.)
Slow down, pause, and get simple minded. Just start with grounding Vata.
How to do this? It’s time to get relentlessly, rebelliously steady. Life in the 21st century makes the routine frenzy of a gerbil on its running wheel look like a sashay. We’re urged to pack more yet ever more into each day, simply to pay the bills, support our loved ones. Run faster! No, get off the wheel.
“What do you mean, get off the wheel? You want me to starve?” Nope. It’s time to befriend Vata in a deeper way. I don’t mean spa time, though if you can do that, sure, it might feel great. I’m talking about plain inexpensive ways to ground Vata, like oil, routine, food, simple things under your control.
If you’ve got a car, you know you have to get an oil change on some kind of regular basis or the auto gets creaky and inefficient. Vata works in similar ways in our bodies, yet within a daily rhythm. Vata gathers on the skin. It can be calmed down with oil. What kind of oil? One that you like, that’s easy to procure. It doesn’t have to be something fancy. When I was going thru menopause, I just poured some of the organic extra virgin olive oil from my kitchen cabinet into a small bottle to have in the bathroom for use. Almond (warming), coconut (cooling), sesame (classic, warming) oil are other fine options. If you’ve got the patience, you can add a drop of some soothing essential oil to the bottle, like lavender or rose. Or not. At bedtime, the oil can go on your feet to invite all the wildly oscillating energy from the day back down toward earth. If you’re very dry you can slather yourself all over after a bath or shower.
It’s time not to skip meals. Lunch is your protection; don’t give it away.
Food: warm, soothing comfort foods. There’s lots of ideas in our two new ebooks.
Then there’s all those healing herbs, charismatic plants as Cate Stillman of Yogahealer would call them. We did a great show together recently about how to eat your healing herbs. You can hear it here.
Mid afternoon, Vata starts to rise. Can you take a fifteen minute break, for something soothing to drink, stretch, a walk in nature? You’ll be thinking wiser, not worse, when you get back to what you were doing.
Wifi: are you still using your smart phone as an alarm clock? Now is the time to give it up for a battery operated plain old plain old. The EMF disrupts melatonin production, among other things. And melatonin protects our breasts. This is all about wellness.
Yet it’s about something else, too. There will be things you want to say “yes” to, and other areas to say “no” to. This is your life, and it’s time to take charge of it. A lot of subtle old beliefs and patterns may bite the dust at this point, and more power to you.
Some times there is nothing we can do on the outside as changes wash over us. All that is possible is to hold with our selves and breathe. To hold with our selves, this is the point, in this major transition.
Deva Khalsa and I continue to teach professional trainings about Working Skillfully with Menopause with Ayurveda. The next one is kindly hosted by High Desert Yoga in Albuquerque this Dec. 2 -3.
Catch us on Facebook soon for tips and comradery and a sneak peek at some of the material.
There’s 5 keys to smoothly moving thru menopause. You’ve got the first one here: ground that Vata.
Photo image with appreciation to Lian Blair