Cassie and Grace met over a cup of coffee on a warm, sunny afternoon. But the brightness of the day didn’t quite reflect on Cassie’s face and Grace was quick to notice. She couldn’t resist asking.
“The common problems that we women face”, said Cassie drooping in despair. Just then, the excitement in Grace’s voice interrupted Cassie’s flow of negative thoughts. Grace mentioned that she had done a workshop on ‘Ayurveda and female issues’ a few years ago and having modified her lifestyle since has made all the difference in her life.
Grace went on to explain how according to Ayurveda, our body is made up of five elements, that is, earth, water, fire, air, and ether or space. These elements are present in different proportions in our body that define our doshas or biochemical forces.
She then told Cassie that there are three doshas depending on which element is dominant—
- Vata—when the air and space elements are dominant
- Pitta—when the fire and water elements are dominant
- Kapha – when the water and earth elements are dominant.
An imbalance of one or more of these doshas causes health problems.
“But don’t you worry Cassie! I’ll take you to my Ayurvedic doctor and she will help you through it. Ayurveda is unique in its approach because it corrects these imbalances which is the root cause of your visible symptoms instead of just suppressing the symptoms.
Meanwhile let me brief you on what Ayurveda suggests for these lifestyle problems that we females face.”
- If you’re suffering from PCOS, it is mainly your pitta that is imbalanced and Ayurveda suggests you go for a healthy lifestyle. Start your day with a cup of warm lemon-honey water instead of coffee. Why not swap the regular pancakes with barley pancakes? Hari Om meditation calms our mind by balancing our chakras or energy centers. And don’t we all know that a relaxed mind is the secret to a healthy body.
To get rid of the fat around your abdomen (ovaries), yoga asanas like naukasana, gomukhasana, virbhadrasana, and surya namaskara (sun salutation) can help.
- If you’re PMSing, it indicates an imbalanced vata dosha. Quite intuitively, following a vata pacifying diet and regime will be of great help. One can have khichdi (Indian porridge) with a generous amount of ghee (clarified butter) guiltlessly. Veggies like bottle gourd, ash gourd, squash, and pumpkin can be stir-fried in ghee or olive oil. Don’t forget to add a dash of spices like cumin, carom seeds, and asafetida. For the time being, skip hot spices!Alternatively, you can try a warm herbal tea which is nothing but a boiled concoction of cumin and coriander. Use a hot water bottle and ask a loved one to give you a gentle oil massage on the lower back and abdomen. Prana mudra—a form of yoga using hands and breath—works wonders. Indian herbs like shatavari, brahmi and haritaki can be taken to alleviate the vata dosha and your symptoms after consulting an Ayurveda doctor.
- If you are dealing with skin and hair related issues, your body is telling you that your pitta level needs to be kept in check. One way you can do that is by avoiding hot and spicy food, junk food, or food that is too sweet or too salty. But if cravings hit you hard, you can definitely give in to healthier alternatives like dates barfi or dry fruit laddoo (Indian sweet meats). Amruth, punirnava, and haritaki as blood purifiers can help clear your skin.Hairfall and greying of hair are signs of stress, weak roots, low nourishment to bones, and improper digestion and absorption. Your hair follicles will thank you for choosing a diet which is rich in calcium, minerals, and micronutrients. You can have soaked walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or almonds, as well as figs as your morning munchies.
- If you’re dealing with obesity, you are probably eating more than your body needs. If that is true, have you ever wondered why?! Well, our mind plays a pivotal role in eating. It is our innate nature to feel comfortable after eating. The rise in our sugar level raises our mood. But if we are more mindful of our thoughts, we can let ourselves journal the overwhelming feelings of fear and loneliness. When it is all out on the paper, you feel lighter and can easily sit for an online guided meditation. It is just the right antidote to fill the voids in our hearts (and minds).
- Finally, if you’re dealing with insomnia, you’re not alone! Three in ten people around the world are dealing with it too! Ayurveda’s solution for insomnia is in following a dinacharya, or a healthy daily routine. But did you know that the secret of a healthy and stress-free day lies in the night before? Sleeping on time the previous night gives you enough room for rest. This way you can start your day early with yoga, meditation, and self-massage followed by a warm breakfast. If you can, steal a little time from your day every now and then to sit in silence or stretch yourself. Both are equally rewarding. But don’t forget to eat your meals on time. Try unwinding around 5:00 pm and finish your dinner by 7:00 pm, followed by some soothing music and time for your family. After a couple of hours of having your last meal, you can try Vayu mudra for a good night’s sleep. Few rounds of anulom vilom (opposite nostril breathing) and decreased screen time can help alleviate your vata as too much information can make our mind restless.
Catering to your health needs through Ayurveda is essentially about making lifestyle changes along with the right mix of herbs.
If the recipe of a healthy day lies in this article, then the secret of a healthy life lies in a healthy day that is multiplied by 365 days of a year, year after year. A healthy life is a choice and you can make that choice now!
Women's Health Retreat