Autumn - the season of instability
October is Menopause Awareness Month - an opportunity to draw attention to the awesome women transitioning through this stage in life.
But why does the season of Autumn cause such a sense of instability among women going through menopause? Have you noticed that uncertain feeling as if the wind whipping up around you would lift you off your feet, sweep you swirling in its breath and drop you ....where ...you don't yet know?
In Menopause Yoga, we observe how the hormonal changes in our bodies (from perimenopause or postmenopause) hardwire our minds, bodies and emotions to the changing seasons. I have seen women who previously enjoyed working out in a gym suddenly feel drawn to being outdoors, an almost primal urge to feel the expansive skies above their heads and the sun and wind on their cheeks.
The changing seasons resonate deeply with our own awareness of our fertility shifting and moving into a whole new stage of our lives. As the Summer of our fertility fades, we move into Autumn and watch the leaves turning golden brown as they fall from the trees. Although this is a necessary and natural change, there can be a sense of loss. An Autumn chill in the air is a foreboding of the coming Winter.
And this can feel frightening if this natural transition is viewed as out of our control. But it doesn't need to feel this way.
The seasons prepare us for a deep shift within us which offers great insight, a sudden clarity and the potential for a new sense of purpose, energy and creativity.
Winter is the stage of the Wise Woman whose life experience is of value to others.
From winter we can reemerge - with the seasons - and reawaken to our Second Spring.
How can we re-find stability, how do we land safely with our feet on the ground?
Below is my guidance with practical advice for adjusting your lifestyle, and yoga sequences, breathwork and meditations you can practice to carry you through this season.
AUTUMN TO WINTER
Our transition from perimenopause to menopause is associated with an increase in the Ayurvedic dosha Vata, which is characterised as air and space.
Ayurveda is the sister-science to yoga which observes how women at this stage of life experience symptoms such as anxiety, worry, brain fog and overwhelm, bloatedness and broken sleep.
Ayurveda says these are symptoms of an excess of air in the brain and body.
Whether you agree with the concepts of Ayurveda, or not, the metaphors and imagery can be helpful in understanding these common symptoms - and solutions.
When we feel unsure and anxious, creating structure in your daily life can be very grounding.
Write a Journal every morning or evening to observe what agitates your symptoms?
Create more Structured Routine in your daily life. The discipline of a daily structure will give you something to 'hold on to' if the winds of change feel unstable.
Eat cooked, warm foods that are easy to digest, including unctuous olive oil to lubricate dry skin and joints, sweet potatoes and seasonal vegetables, a range of proteins, warm water and dairy or non dairy milks. Avoid dry, hard to digest foods and if you choose to eat nuts, consider grinding them or soaking overnight before you add them to meals.
Moisturise your skin with a natural organic oils and massage your joints to prevent and ease soreness.
Practice the Vata Menopause Yoga video sequences on my website FREE. Move slowly and with breathe with gentle Ocean breath to soothe and calm the nervous system. Increase the time you spend in the restorative poses at the end of the class, to replenish your energy.
Try the Mind Meets the Breath meditation (yoga brick or small sand bag on the top of your head) for a sense of mental calm and physical grounding.