Have you ever wondered why your experience of menopause is so intense while your girlfriend just seems to be cruising through it or vice versa? Why is one of you struggling with hot flashes, intense mood swings, anxiety, and heart palpitations while the other isn’t? Why is one of you gaining massive weight and the other seems to get skinnier the more she eats? I get it, it can be frustrating!
The good news is: Ayurveda gives us an answer to this baffling phenomenon.
The fact is that there is not ONE type of menopause but actually THREE. Surprising, right?
We will get into the difference of those types in a second but first, we have to look at what the three types have in common. Menopause, as you probably gathered, is a natural transition in a woman’s life. It marks the transition into wise womanhood, that is if we are conscious about it. And because it is a transitional phase there is an overlying energy that marks all three types. In Ayurveda, we call this energy Vata.
Vata is comprised of air and ether and thus it is light and subtle.
You might notice that in this phase of your life intuition heightens and you tap more deeply into your creativity. Also, your connection to spirit will naturally deepen and you have a greater chance to tap into inner wisdom … that is if you pay attention and you choose to make this a conscious journey. If not, it will turn into confusion, anxiety, worry, nervousness… you get the idea.
Vata also makes things move. I like menopause to moving house. When you are moving house you will discover all kinds of things you have forgotten about… stuff that is old or outdated, stuff you no longer need or is worthless to you. In short, it’s stuff from the back of the closet. The same applies to your body. Undigested, stuffed emotions that have been stored in your tissues are likely to come up. Excess energy, stress, imbalances that the body had handled before is now getting revealed…
Yep, it is time to deal with anything you have ignored in the first half of your life.
Vata by nature also deteriorates things… in this case your body. I don’t mean to depress your or anything but you do need to realize that from a natural standpoint the body starts to degrade. The good news is there is an antidote. And the antidote is called: skillful self-care.
You know how people often say “I can’t do so much anymore, my body is less forgiving as I get older”. That’s because that Vata force is moving in big time. It’s time to take another very close look at your diet, lifestyle, exercise rhythm or lack thereof, yoga, massage, and attitude. If you don’t get super skillful about all those, deterioration will show up faster than in other stages of life.
Now let’s look at the rather interesting question.
Why some women have an easier time through menopause than others.
We all are born with a certain constitution, Vata, Pitta or Kapha. Vatas are the celestial light weights, Pitta’s the fiery mid weights and get it done types, Kaphas the strong endurance runners.
If you have a primarily Vata constitution and you enter into the Vata phase of life there is a double whammy. and if on top you have lived a Vata type lifestyle… you know the kind where you run around everywhere like a chicken with your head cut off, maybe traveled a lot, did too many things, spent too much time in cities and got overloaded with stimuli, ate too many chips or popcorn… you got a triple whammy. Your symptoms are likely to be more severe than for others. Here are some symptoms that may show up for you… hot flashes followed by cold, scanty, irregular or missed periods, vaginal dryness, painful sex, losing weight (!!!), insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, urinary incontinence, constipation, osteoporosis… depressed hearing about all that yet?
If this is you:
Nourishment becomes important for you, very important. You got to step up your self-care game numerous notches, no exceptions.
If you are primarily a Pitta type or have lived a pitta aggravating lifestyle you are likely to have a slightly easier time with menopause, but not by much. Vata and Pitta share some of the same qualities like dry, light and subtle … remember at menopause you are entering Vata phase of life. Besides Vata (air) fans the fire of pitta. A pitta aggravating lifestyle is a kind where you overdo things, too much work, too much exercise, intense attitude, perfectionism… the A-type syndrome. It’s the fiery approach to life. You will likely have to deal with intense hot flashes and night sweats, spells of heavy bleeding, irritability, and/or diarrhea. An excess fire also leads to inflammation. Specifically that maybe show up as burning, vaginitis, cystitis, inflamed muscles and the like.
Kapha women have the easiest time. Kapha, being comprised of earth and water, has natural strength and resilience to it. The moving Vata energy has a hard time disturbing the stability of Kapha, it’s hard for air to move earth… that’s good in this case because it leads to fewer and less severe symptoms. Still,Vata can disturb Kapha and you might experience more watery type imbalances like swelling breasts, abdominal heaviness, weight gain, crying spells and a feeling of listlessness.
Let’s sum it up. The three types of menopause are this:
Vata type – that’s the one that suffers the most
Vata-Pitta type – that’s the one that shows up with more fiery symptoms
Vata-Kapha type – that’s the one with fewer, less severe symptoms
Again notice, Vata is involved in all three types. And let’s remember Vata deteriorates and destroys things and you will stay in this energy for the rest of your life. So no matter what body type you are, stepping up your self-care game is crucial, it will counteract the destructive Vata energy. If you take it up a notch, you will age gracefully and shine with vibrancy.