What is the third phase of life?
In Ayurveda the cycle of life is broken into three phases: Kapha Phase (Birth – 20 Years), Pitta (20 years – 60 years), and Vata (60 years-End of Life).
In the Western world we label things a bit differently specifically when talking about an adult woman’s life cycle. One term that identifies a big transition many of us are familiar with is called menopause.
What does menopause mean to you?
I like to think of it as a beautiful time in a woman’s life cycle when she posses so much wisdom and opportunity to reflect, learn, and evolve. After all, growing old is a privilege not everyone gets so why is there so much negativity surrounding this particular “Phase of Life”?
Because it can also be hard, sad, and traumatic for many women.
Our bodies and minds are no longer the same. Many women feel isolated. Alone. Invisible. Helpless. Frustrated as things aren’t the way they used to be. The routines and habits that worked for years (or so we thought) no longer work.
Did you know you are not alone?
Seventy-five percent of women experience complaints. According to research, the most common menopausal symptoms include mood fluctuations, low-libido, night sweats, and hot flushes.
Hormonal imbalances may be triggering these conditions along with others such as insomnia, osteopenia, or osteoporosis.
What are the Three Phases of Menopause?
The process begins typically in a women’s mid-30’s when she begins to experience hormone fluctuations. Maybe a woman will start to miss her period or experiences cycles that are heavier or lighter than the norm for her. Many women don’t realize that this is prime time to start preparing for menopause.
Some women may have osteopenia during this phase.
The journey can last as long as 5-15 years. Some may begin in mid-40’s to mid-50’s.
Typically, menopause occurs around average age of 51-55 years old, once a women has experienced at least 12 months of amenorrhea, no more menstrual cycles.
This varies by woman, no two stories are the same.
The remainder of a woman’s life cycle from the time she passes her childbearing years to end of life.
How to Enter the Third Phase of Life Gracefully
Regardless of what stage a woman is in, it is never too late to make changes to balance the endocrine and nervous system.
Let’s explore three key factors that can turn this into a more positive experience.
Factor #1: Self-Acceptance
Self-acceptance is a BIG one. Accepting that your body is changing and being able to see the beauty in this change is key to changing your mindset and your experience.
Meditation helps use learn how to practice self-acceptance and self-compassion, by accepting “what is.” There is a saying “so ham”/“ham so” means, I am, That I am. This mantra fosters a sense of “acceptance.” With acceptance, we are able to embrace change.
Journaling can be a wonderful way to express thoughts. It also serves as a time of reflection. Gratitude journaling, reflection, and affirmation statements are all purposeful.
Sound Bath Therapy can help to lower stress. Enlisting the support and guidance of a Health & Wellness Coach can help you begin your journey with higher success.
Find hobbies that peak interest and foster connections help to dissolve feelings of being isolated, invisible, or alone.
Factor #2: Food Choices
A predominately plant-based whole foods diet is ideal. Avoid processed foods, added sugar, and ideally opt for gluten-free. Dark leafy greens, lots of vegetables, berries are all ideal foods that are packed full of fiber, antioxidants, and low in glycemic index.
You are what you eat. Eat clean. Eat colorful fruits and veggies.
Factor #3: Manage Your Stress
What does stress have to do with it?
Stress is one of the MOST exacerbating causes of menopause symptoms.
Stress can affect a person physically, psychologically, and emotionally.
Chronic stress is directly linked to osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, among other conditions.
Living in a state of stress is not sustainable. And, unless it is addressed it will affect a woman’s long-term health.
Increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline can cause anxiety, weight gain, and sleep issues like insomnia.
Yoga Therapy is one of the most commonly used therapies to help women cope with menopausal symptoms. Since 2008, many studies have been conducted on the ability of yoga to heal and complement other therapies.
Yoga Therapy combines:
- Breath Work – calming and energizing practices, as needed.
- Mudras – gestures used to channel the flow of energy in the body.
- Yoga Nidra, known as yogic sleep, unlike meditation which teaches single-pointed focus, Yoga Nidra scans the entire body with the goal of deeper inner awareness of how the body is feeling, with guided imagery as well. Yoga Nidra may help with overcoming insomnia, stress, and fatigue
- Hatha Yoga (slower, longer holds) help to build strength, stability, improve posture, and coordination. Add the 12 Yoga Poses to increase BMD as proven by Dr. Loren Fishman, MD.
- Restorative Yoga is helpful to rebalance the mind and body during times of stress, which makes it ideal for menopause.
Overall Benefits of Yoga:
- Manage stress = Lower cortisol. Calming the nervous system may help with sleep issues.
- Some studies have shown yoga to reduce hot flushes and mood swings.
- Can increase energy when needed at times when feeling low-energy/mood.
- Improve focus, concentration, and memory.
- Promote self-acceptance and self-love.
- Support body image and empowerment.
- Yoga helps to increase body awareness, build strength, improve posture, coordination, and balance which can help reduce the risk of falling and breaking a bone.
- When we meditate we learn to live in the present moment. Make better lifestyle and nutritional choices. Foster feelings of self-acceptance.
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Wonderful article my dear.
You have been such a gift to me! Your knowledge of proper alignment in poses, and the knowledge you share for my practice is such a great resource for dealing with osteoporosis.
My body feels stronger and better because of you.
Thank you for the kind words Vickie. Happy to hear you are feeling stronger as a result of your consistent practice!