Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Light my fire! Hot and flushed we stand (part 2)

Those who regularly use a sauna or a steam room are well-aware of its benefits: sweating profusely makes them feel a lot better. Saunas and steam rooms are found in many traditional cultures where they serve diverse purposes: from therapeutic, to hygienic, to ritual and even social.
Countless studies show the health promoting properties of sweating.  

Improves your immune system
Improves your strength and vitality
Strengthens the cardio-vascular system (heart and blood circulation)
Helps control your blood pressure
Detoxifies your body
Gives you more energy
Relieves joint pain, sore muscles, arthritis

Hot flushes that are accompanied by profuse sweating  may serve exactly the same purpose: improve our health.

Many yoga poses are designed to stoke our internal fire. As our metabolism slows down during the menopause, that internal fire becomes even more important.

Agni or fire is one of the 5 elements of creation according to Ayurveda. Fire is responsible for all transformation and thus all possibilities.
Agni, the pivotal element of creation is the capacity to digest and transform. As in the macrocosm (universe) so in the microcosm (us), says Ayurveda. Thus, as in the case of food it is what breaks it down into its essential components and then reconfigures them into the consciousness that permeates and nourishes us at the cellular level. Agni is the main source of life and both Yoga and Ayurveda have long recognised its  physiological functions.
Agni is the Fire that warms, nourishes, gives light, burns all impurities and purifies us.

If you want to make peace with your hot flushes i suggest a very simple meditation technique.

Candlelight meditation

Choose a quiet place where you can sit comfortably for 15 minutes without distractions, then light a candle.
As you sit comfortably with an erect spine and eyes focused on the flame, to settle your body first tense and then release the muscles from your toes to your head until  they become relaxed and still.

Follow your breath as you gaze into the candle flame. During meditation your business is simple awareness, nothing else. Distracting thoughts will arise but you will not “hook” to them and follow them. Instead you will gently direct your focus back to the candle flame and following your breath.

When your mediation comes to an end rest  for 3 or 4 minutes before rising.  This transition time is important so do not return to daily activity suddenly, after meditating.

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