Sunday, June 17, 2012

what's your dosha?

As each human being possesses a unique combination of doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), women may suffer from different menopausal symptoms according to the dosha that is predominant in their constitution.

For this reason, the ideal approach to yoga during menopause is one that takes into account your current imbalances, be they physical or emotional, encourages development of the continual self-care concept and connects with a woman’s innate wisdom. Yoga for menopause is best taught individually, as poses and breathing exercises should be adapted to each individual's needs.

Since menopause is the transition from the Pitta phase of life to the Vata phase, if a woman already has a significant Pitta or Vata imbalance in the years before menopause, things are likely to get worse during menopause, which is a period when hormonal and other natural changes take place in the body.

So, what's your dosha?
I have found an excellent diagnostic tool online. Take the Ayurveda test and learn more about ways to rebalance your doshas.

Ayurveda teaches us that diet can be a crucial tool in menopause management.

If you are prone to Pitta-based problems, such as hot flashes, mood swings and anger, follow a Pitta-pacifying diet: avoid foods that are spicy, such as chilies, cayenne and black mustard seed, salty foods and foods that are sour, such as yogurt (unless it is diluted and sweetened in a lassi) and sour condiments such as mustard and vinegar.

Favour foods that are bitter, astringent and sweet, as these are cooling to Pitta dosha. Sweet, juicy fruits such as pears and plums also pacify Pitta dosha. Cook with Pitta-reducing spices, such as cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, fennel and small amounts of cumin seed.

If you experience Vata-related symptoms of menopause such as restlessness, anxiety, depression, brain fog, memory loss or vaginal dryness, you'll want to bring Vata dosha back into balance. For this, you'd better stick to foods that are cooked, warm, and unctuous (meaning that they have a small amount of good fats such as ghee and olive oil). Eat foods that are sweet, sour and salty, as this balances Vata dosha.

For both Pitta and Vata imbalances, a breakfast of cooked apples and prunes and figs is a good way to start the day, as it balances the doshas and cleanses the digestion.
Try to eat your main meal at noon, when digestion is the strongest, and eat at the same time every day. Sleep is just as important to balance Vata and Pitta: go to bed and wake up at the same time (so difficult and yet so important for Vatas who are natural night-owls like myself)

Kaphas tend to be rounder and have large frames. Their menopausal symptoms are therefore characterized by weight gain, feeling tired and bloated. Kaphas should watch their diets, eat small portions, avoid cold, oily, sweet and heavy foods. Eat three meals a day, with the lunch being the main meal. Weekly fasting is helpful. Most or all of the daily food should be consumed between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. They should also get plenty of physical exercise.

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