Prepare Yourself for a Smoother Cycle
In the west, menstruation is often considered a nuisance that hinders women in their every day life. Before and during their period they may feel fatigued or irritable, and experience pain in different parts of the body. Ayurveda, on the other hand, considers the menstrual cycle a blessing rather than a curse. Its purpose is not only to prepare the body for conception and pregnancy but also to cleanse toxins out of the system. Women have a unique chance to renew their body every month and with a few simple ayurvedic adjustments their cycle can be more comfortable.
The causes of symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is associated with over 150 symptoms. According to The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians the symptoms you experience depend on which subdoshas are out of balance, how much Ama (accumulated toxins) is in the body, and where it is located. This is the reason why the combination of symptoms varies for each woman, and even for the same woman from cycle to cycle.
Apana Vata is the ayurvedic subdosha that governs the menstrual cycle--it is located in the lower abdomen and is responsible for the downward flow through the intestines, urinary and reproductive tracts.
- When Apana Vata is out of balance, the menstrual flow can be irregular and painful. When it is severely out of balance it can lead to constipation and diarrhea.
- When Apana and Prana Vata (which governs the mind) are both disrupted you can feel irritable, and have difficulty making decisions and solving problems.
- Sadhaka Pitta, the subdosha that supports the heart, becomes aggravated in a lot of women. When this happens you may experience anger and mood swings.
- When, in addition to Apana Vata, Samana Vata and Pachaka Pitta (which both govern digestion) are out of balance, symptoms such as bloating, upset stomach and food cravings can occur.
- A lot of Ama accumulated in the body can cause fatigue and lethargy. If Ama is responsible for most of your symptoms you usually feel much better after your period.
- Ama in the breast area can lead to breast tenderness, while Ama in the skin can cause breakouts.
- When Ama enters the mental channels and both Sadhaka Pitta and Prana Vata are aggravated you may experience sadness, low self-confidence, and self-depreciation.
How to prepare for an easier cycle
Because of the variety of symptoms and the involvement of so many subdoshas, it is always good to see an ayurvedic physician who can tailor a program to your specific needs. However, The Council offers some general guidelines every woman can benefit from.
- "Keep your body Ama free," is his first recommendation. Ama results from improper diet, poor digestion and inefficient elimination. To eliminate toxins from your diet, avoid stimulants such as alcohol, cigarettes and coffee. Stay away from fast food, junk food, leftovers and preservatives. Consume a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, lentils, milk, lassi and fresh cheese such as panir and ricotta. These fresh and nourishing foods will not only keep your body cleaner but will be easier on your digestive system.
- Take it easy during your period. If you assist your body in purifying itself the process will be smoother and more comfortable. Try to rest for at least one day-you probably don't feel like doing anything anyway. Turn inward, and try to avoid things that make you upset or worried. Do something you enjoy. Eat light, warm, preferably liquid foods that pacify Vata. Your digestive fire is weaker during this time so try not to strain it. Avoid exercise more strenuous than a short walk. Skip your daily massage during the days of your period.
- Prepare ahead. A balanced routine during the entire month will reward you with less discomfort. Follow a balanced daily routine, including going to bed before 10 p.m. and getting up at 6 a.m. Eat your meals around the same time every day. Regular moderate exercise improves circulation and metabolism, which are essential for the purification process. Practice deep and easy breathing for increased vitality. Start the day with a full-body massage with Rejuvenation Oil for Women or Youthful Skin Oil for Women. Pay attention to your elimination. If you don't have a bowel movement every day, include cooked prunes and figs in your diet. Cook them with a stewed apple every morning. Consume more fresh papaya, pomegranate and pineapple to balance hormones and open up the channels of the physiology. Reduce eggplant, banana, bell pepper, tomato and big beans in your diet because they clog the microcirculatory channels of the body. Use the following spice mix when you cook to balance your cycle. Mix 6 parts fennel, 1 part black cumin, 1 part cumin, 6 parts coriander, 1 part turmeric and 1 part black pepper. Sauté the mix in ghee and add it to your meals.
- Take advantage of the power of herbals. Take the Maharishi Ayurveda Smooth Cycle tablets every day for hormonal balance and a more comfortable period. Take Genitrac tablets daily-they clean and support the genitourinary tract. To aid elimination and unblock the channels of Apana Vata, take Triphala tablets for at least three days prior to your period. If you experience anger or mood swings the Blissful Joy tablets and Blissfull Heart aroma oil can balance your Sadhaka Pitta. If you are under a lot of mental stress or your resistance to stress is low, take Worry Free tablets and Worry Free Tea regularly, complemented by Worry Free Aroma.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.