Ayurveda is a nature based medicine that is often termed as 'Yoga's sister science'. Yoga is an in depth practice of looking after the mind and Ayurveda offers advice on how to look after the body. Both disciplines have many over-lapping practices such as cleansing kriyas/activities, body work such as breathing exercises, yoga poses, meditation and dietary recommendations for creating optimum health.
Ayurveda and Yoga view the World in terms of the five elements (Space; Wind; Fire; Water; Earth) which are also linked with Yoga's chakra system. These five elements are symbols of the natural world around us and the energetic world within.
These five elements create an ecosystem both externally and internally. When one element is disturbed the whole ecosystem is affected.
We can imagine a scenario using the World we see around us:
Earth = A lush green soil filled field of flowers, plants, grass, trees, insects and animals
Water = A river running down the hill leading to the field and into a lake below the field
Fire = The warmth and light of the sunshine basking the field and everything in it in light and heat
Wind = A fresh breeze blowing across the grass, moving the trees, flowers, caressing and bringing air and breath to the many plants and animals upon the field
Space = The area that holds open the possibility for the soil to move and shift, the grass and flowers and trees to grow into, the insects and animals to move and fly to and fro and the open spaces available for the heat and light to flow into and the wind to blow through.
In the scenario above, if the stream dries up or overflows and floods the surrounding fields it will affect either the fire element (cooling the temperature of the surrounding area) or the earth (soaking the soil and associated things) first. After this, other elements are also affected if balance isn't restored.
If the sun starts blazing relentlessly on the surrounding area or is blocked from reaching the other elements it will affect either the Wind element (creating thermals) or the Earth element (scorching the ground and animals) first. If balance isn't restored it will start to affect the other elements accordingly.
Menopause is a natural change and an elemental change. In menopause, the Space and Wind element balance is tested. Over the years that the space and wind elements in the body change, the ecosystem of a woman's body goes into an adaptation phase. If a woman's health was robust before the 'change' then menopause can be relatively symptom free. But if stress, imbalance and poor health occurred before the menopause or along with it, it can be a rough ride!
In an Ayurvedic consultation, your Ayurvedic practitioner will assess your current inner ecosystem via the symbols of the five elements and look for areas of chronic and acute imbalance. Natural remedial action will be suggested via the five ayurvedic remedies including yoga, diet, lifestyle, concentrated food supplements and massage.
Because menopause is considered a space and wind element adaptation process, symptoms that can occur first are the Fire, Earth, Water and Space elements. This can cause hormonal, digestive symptoms along with hydration and immune issues, structural changes and strength changes along with changes in the mind. As you can see, this can lead to a very long list of symptoms!
Some remedies that could be beneficial alongside a traditional Ayurvedic consultation and advice are:
Insomnia/anxiety/lack of confidence:
- Oil pulling
- Full body warm oil massage
- Yin Yoga sessions
Hot flushes/Inflamed joints/Anger and Irritability
- Warm oil foot massages
- Daily aloe vera juice
- Rose water face sprays
- Singing and chanting yoga class
Weight gain/Water retention/Lethargy
- Add pippali (long pepper) to meals
- Fast from 6pm - 10am each day
- Strong vinyasa flow
- Warm oil abdominal massage