Learning to go with YOUR flow!
This week, I have decided to offer you an article on the menstrual cycle to help you better understand this phenomenon through the Ayurvedic lense. Depending on your predominant dosha, I have developed some tips to help relieve and support your body during this time of the month which can sometimes be very taxing, both on the body and on the morale!
In Ayurveda, the cycle follows the lunar calendar: periods come every 28 days and last an average of 5 to 6 days. Discomfort associated with the menstrual cycle is often linked to imbalances in the balance of your tridoshic constitution. I believe that it is indeed very important to pay attention to all the small details of our menstrual cycle in order to have a good overview of our health as a woman: you have to listen to your body to maintain an optimal state of harmony.
Each dosha is responsible for a part of our menstrual cycle and depending on our energy constitution, this plays a role in the symptoms we experience. The level of toxins in the body (ama) is also strongly responsible for the discomfort associated with menstruation. Here are small daily actions easy to integrate into your routine in order to regulate your cycle, very gently ...
Vata-predominant people tend to have an irregular, scant, or absent flow, which can often be accompanied by very painful cramps. This is because of the association of Vata energy with the element of air, which makes the body more prone to dryness and cooling. Result: there is a disturbance in the flow of blood circulation.
How to counterbalance Vata during the menstrual cycle:
- To counterbalance the dry and cold qualities of Vata, it is good to eat hot, creamy, and well-spiced foods prepared in healthy oils like ghee. Herbs like turmeric, cumin, and nutmeg are great for Vata. To replace coffee (I know this is not always an easy task!), golden milk is an option that I recommend for both invigorating and pacifying Vata. (click here for our recipe!).
- To relieve pain, one should seek to warm and relax the muscles and tissues of the body as much as possible. Self-massage every day of your cycle (and even during the premenstrual period) with our Vata Body Oil helps to relax this part of your body, in addition to its fragrance which is so relaxing. Also, we never say no to this traditional hot water bottle ...!
- Rest also plays a key role in harmonizing the Vata cycle. It is indeed necessary to rest the mind and body in order to pacify the very anxious and restless nature of Vata. The technique of alternating nostril breathing (click here for our article on Nadi shodhana) as well as the child's posture, Balâsana, which are very relaxing and easy to integrate into everyday life, help to re-energize and to pay better attention to one's body.
People with Pitta predominance often face very heavy menstrual cycles that come on very quickly. Associated with the element of fire and water, Pitta energy, therefore, makes menstruation very intense which is often accompanied by hot flashes, great emotional and bodily sensitivity as well as swelling (of the breasts and belly, for example). The digestive system can also be affected, often leading to diarrhea and nausea.
How to counterbalance Pitta during the menstrual cycle:
You have to rebalance your inner fire!
- Avoid strenuous activities that further activate blood circulation. A short yoga and meditation session is an interesting alternative to refocus on your body. Opt for refreshing postures such as Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), to open up the front of the body and free up internal organs. It should be noted that inverted postures (head down) should be avoided during menstrual bleeding.
Choose refreshing and calming foods, since you need to cool the body and avoid attacking it (spicy, fatty, very sweet or salty foods, caffeine/alcohol).
- Pitta's very intense flow can exhaust the body, both mentally and physically. I recommend incorporating adaptogenic herbs into your daily life, such as Shatavari, to help the body regain a state of balance by soothing excessive Pitta fire and supporting the adrenal glands. (click here for our article on adaptogens and adrenals).
This third and final energy combines with the elements of earth and water, making the menstrual cycle quite slow - it can last for a longer period of time. Indeed, during the cycle, the circulation of fluids and digestion can be done more difficult, which can lead to pain and fatigue. The mood also often lets itself be pulled into a state of heaviness and lethargy, which makes you want to stay bedridden.
How to counterbalance Kapha during the menstrual cycle:
- Wake up the body before the bleeding arrives. The practice of physical activity, although it is beneficial for all doshas, is particularly recommended for people predominantly Kapha near menstruation since it helps to energize the body and activate blood circulation. Result: it prevents stagnation of the menstrual cycle.
- The body and the mind need to be warmed up and energized to counter the effect of heaviness, slowness. Favor a spicy diet, such as soups and stews including black pepper, cinnamon, curry, ginger. Ayurvedic golden milk is also very effective for Kapha. Of course, it is advisable to avoid foods that are too heavy and very sweet/salty in order to avoid accentuating the feeling of lethargy.
- For pain, warming your body is an excellent remedy. Take hot baths with a small amount of the following essential oils: cinnamon, ginger, and cedar, for example. Before or after the bath, a self-massage session with Kapha Body Oil all over the body, with priority given to the stomach area, will allow you to completely relax.
- The practice of dry brushing, Guyana, is particularly recommended for Kapha: this self-brushing ritual promotes the elimination of ama (cellular waste) from the body. Click here to access our article on this Ayurvedic ritual.
Of course, each person is unique and this previous information is for informational purposes only, to help you better understand what is going on in your body when your period arrives. The menstrual flow can also be subject to variations depending on the period of our life.
If you have any questions regarding your period, I will be happy to follow and support you, just make an appointment for an Ayurvedic consultation with me by clicking HERE!