The Ayurvedic path to better health consists of two simple steps:
1. Do less
2. Be more
– Shubra Krishan
When was your last power day when you burst with energy? Without hesitation, you tackled new projects, extended your run, and in the evening you also did the housework with ease.
Do you also remember the last day on which you could hardly get out of bed despite getting enough sleep? Even small tasks felt like a burden. Just the thought of company made you sigh inwardly and you just wanted to hide from everything.
Diet, restful sleep, your personal well-being and your current stress level have a major impact on how you feel and how strong you are.
But above all these criteria is one major factor that shapes you: your menstrual cycle.
It influences your body and your being, it shapes your life.
Ayurveda is an Indian science that is more than 5000 years old and deals with body, mind and soul.
For western medicine, the female menstrual cycle is only interesting from a biological point of view.
Ayurveda goes one step further. It not only explains how the cycle phases change your body, but also what the phases stand for and how this is reflected in your psyche.
Your basic constitution (more on that later), for example, can be responsible for the fact that you are more affected by PMS. It is also possible that you really blossom in a certain cycle phase because your dosha (basic constitution) is strengthened.
If you know and understand which cycle phase you are in, you can strengthen and support your body. It's also easier to deal with low energy, jittery, and inconsistent days. You can classify your inner emotional world better and even use it to your advantage.
In this post you will learn:
- What Ayurveda is
- How the cycle phases relate to Ayurveda
- How you can use this knowledge for yourself
1 What is Ayurveda?
'Ayu' means life in Sanskrit. 'Veda' stands for knowledge. Ayurveda is the knowledge of life. 5000 years ago, Indian physicians began to record in the ancient Vedic scriptures how to maintain health.
Ayurveda has a holistic approach. Health is always considered from physical, mental, emotional and also spiritual aspects.
That is why the pillars on which Ayurvedic medicine is based are just as broad:
- The individual constitution types should be brought into balance through nutrition.
- The rhythm of life with habits and routines is adapted to the phases of the day, year and life.
- Awareness is strengthened through meditation, yoga and breathing exercises.
- Medicinal plants and minerals strengthen the body and support self-healing.
- Cleansing rituals such as detoxification, oil massages and oil pulling are carried out regularly.
- All senses are given a major role. They are stimulated and encouraged with tastes, colors and sounds.
The Ayurvedic world view is made up of the 3 basic forces of nature, which are called doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha .
Vata contains the elements of air and space. Vata is the principle of movement. Breathing, heartbeat or movement in the digestive tract are physical characteristics. People with the basic constitution Vata are open, creative, communicative, flighty and unstable.
Pitta contains fire and water. Pitta is the principle of transformation. The digestion or processing of information and experiences represents Pitta. Characteristic traits of Pitta are ambition, curiosity, analysis, aggression and anger.
Kapha contains water and earth. Kapha is the principle of structure. It is responsible for the composition and structure of body tissue. In character, Kapha shows itself through calmness, balance, caring and cosiness.
Every human is unique. All three doshas are present in each individual, but in what form is very individual. One dosha often dominates, but there are also mixed types. This basic constitution is given from birth and determines personality, behavior and even appearance.
In Ayurvedic teaching, health means that the doshas are balanced. This is the case when you tailor your life to your needs.
Everything in nature is cyclical, each phase of the cycle is assigned a dosha. Spring, summer, autumn and winter. pick up and drop off. Breath in and breath out. Coming into the world and leaving it.
And also the follicular and luteal phase of the female cycle.
2 What does Ayurveda have to do with the cycle?
The menstrual cycle lasts an average of 28 days. It is counted from the first day of the menstrual period and ends on the last day before the next menstrual period.
The first half of the cycle is called the follicular phase. As an egg matures, it produces more and more estrogen.
The second half of the cycle, the luteal phase, begins with ovulation. Now the progesterone level rises. If the egg is not fertilized, the progesterone level drops again and the menstrual period starts a new cycle.
The menstrual period is the time of purification and is characterized by Vata . The uterus contracts and sheds old tissue.
If Vata is already imbalanced in you, you may experience increased pain and constipation during this time. You can also perceive the airy element of Vata on an emotional level. Remember the saying 'be upset'.
Cleansing isn't just about the body. It is typical of this phase that you are more sensitive and emotional. Many women feel the need to be themselves, to look inward. Thoughts are also in motion due to Vata, creativity and inventiveness are typical for the menstrual phase.
Kapha prevails between menstruation and ovulation. The mucous membrane builds up again and the follicles mature.
If kapha is already imbalanced beforehand, you may feel heavy and weak in the follicular phase.
The Kapha phase stands for renewal and development. You can now give shape to the creative ideas from the Vata phase.
The Pitta phase is reached with ovulation. Your inner fire burns. You feel attractive, feminine, confident and communicative.
The planning of the idea is complete, it is time to act, to implement it.
If Pitta is imbalanced in you, you may suffer from bleeding between periods, hot flashes, a red face or acne during the luteal phase.
The luteal phase is characterized by Vata and Pitta .
Estrogen levels drop, progesterone rises, and the two doshas merge. The active Pitta becomes a calmer Vata. The body often signals this with its need to retreat.
If you have a lot of Pitta, you may find the transition from the luteal phase to your menstrual period particularly difficult and you may suffer from the typical symptoms of PMS.
3 How can you use this knowledge for yourself?
Read your body's signals and get to know it better. Various cycle disorders can indicate an imbalance in your basic constitution. Supporting your body with Ayurveda is neither expensive nor complicated. There are small and simple rituals in everyday life that bring you back into balance.
Vaginal dryness, an irregular menstrual cycle, cramps and pain can be traced back to the Vata dosha.
You can counteract the cold, dry and unstable Vata with warmth, rest and grounding:
Intuitively, your body usually asks for it. Snuggle up with a hot water bottle. Avoid cold foods and hard-to-digest raw foods. Your body needs warm, filling foods; a porridge or root vegetable stew is ideal. Balance exercises from yoga practice help you to ground yourself. Oil massages (sesame oil is particularly suitable) loosen your cramps and also warm you up.
Red skin, rashes, acne, diarrhea, very heavy menstruation and bleeding between periods indicate the Pitta dosha.
If the fiery Pitta burns too much in you, grounding and cooling will help. Try to avoid caffeine and sugar during this time, they will only fuel your pitta unnecessarily. Take a conscious break, preferably with a walk in the countryside. Breathing exercises and meditation bring you back to the now when you want to rush away from sheer pitta. Don't miss out on sleep, even with a lot of Pitta your body needs rest. Maybe it will help you to write a diary as an evening ritual and thus end your day.
Heaviness, nausea, loss of appetite, tiredness, tender and painful breasts, and susceptibility to colds are based on the Kapha dosha.
In order not to freeze in kapha, your body needs activation and support for detoxification.
Light and spicy foods are ideal. Avoid salty and greasy foods and in general, eat nothing between meals during this time. Get ready for a sweaty workout, be it running or Pilates. Support your body with plenty of warm water or tea. Oil pulling, tongue scraping or dry brushing are ideal additions to your morning routine to really boost your metabolism.
Observe you, your energy level, your needs during your cycle. It is best to record this in writing, in your diary or in a note app. The more you know yourself, the better you can take advantage of this.
Don't force something that doesn't fit at the wrong moment. This is like wanting to swim upstream. It works for a short time, but is infinitely more tiring than going with the current.
You may find that certain things are easier for you in certain phases than in others.
Whenever you can, schedule your appointments to match your internal clock.
Use the Vata time (menstrual bleeding) for brainstorming, forming ideas and living out your creativity.
Plan in the Kapha period (follicular phase) and prepare everything you need for implementation.
Use the energy boost of Pitta time (luteal phase) and implement your plan, make presentations and important conversations in this phase of extroversion and self-confidence.
If you pay attention to the principles of the 3 doshas in your cycle, you will find your inner strength again. Observe your cycle, your needs and, thanks to Ayurveda, live a life in balance with your basic constitution.
About the author:
With Lagom, Corinne Tolotto is a certified organizing coach and brings more structure, lightness and joy to her clients' lives. On her blog she writes about tidying up, sustainability and productivity.