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Vintage. Council of the Soul through Menopause.

Updated: May 9

An oil panting of an aged woman stands alone in a gallery.  Lines in her face show how long her path on this earth has lasted.  In earnest gaze, her eyes hold something mystical that can only be described as wisdom.  A knowing.  Teachings that came in moments of needing.  A history of the world in the era of her life.  She is beginning to tap in to the divine, and the one true home that she will return to.

If we lift the veil of resistance to our own aging, we may find an appreciation of the process itself.  Cultivating compassion to the vulnerability of younger generations, as we move away from our own youth.  We may find beauty in our own faces, and the lines that tell the story of a human’s individual journey.   In Japan, Kanreki is a tradition of honor and respect to those that reach their 60th birthday.  It represents a second Spring to our lives.  It is a blessing of good fortune to those who have reached this age.  On this day, people who have in good blessings, aged to sixty, wear a red hat, to symbolize a glorious kind of becoming.

We botox our way into our old age in this country.  I look in disdain at my own horizontal forehead wrinkles and the lines that show my fifty three years on this beautiful planet.  I think a lot about where I am going now.  There was a time that my wants were different.  I like to call the thirties a driven decade and the forties, finally a time of becoming.  The fifties hit hard in a different way and we begin to truly let go of the clenches inside our bodies.  We realize that we never had control of life to begin with.  I love this time, although my heart hurts more than I sometimes like.  I have learned to take sips of my pain and feel freely to pass on to the next moment.  Things flow and continue around me.  Power comes to us who connect to everything around us.  I am nothing if not a part of everything. There is a fire in our thirties that we begin to lose in our forties, as we become air.  In Menopause our bodies rise to higher vibrations and our spirits become more transparent.  Letting go is the ultimate offering if we can find a way to become friends with the aging process.  Our last passage is to ready ourselves in our walk alone into the unknown.  Our spirit longs to make its way back to it’s one true home.

My secret weapon to aging has been in learning practices of Dinacharya.  Habits that introduce you to truly love yourself and your body.  We grow up with too much noise, pressure and activity.  For me, learning in my late thirties to begin to slow down and be present in my practices changed everything for me.  I also learned how to live my life sober.  I also learned that I came to this planet to feel and cultivate empathy, to myself and others.  I do not resist the aging process, but rather, I look forward to my last few decades here.  I can truly envision a strong disciplined path of joyful habits to enjoy for the rest of my life. Good practices, good friends, and good work sounds as close to a perfect life as I could ever wish for.

Like trees, flowers, animals, in nature, we see aging and death.  This can make us uncomfortable.  If we sit with this we can see reality.  We grow beautifully in age.  We can be vibrant and grow old with grace and wellness.  Let us learn to leave youth to the young. It is now time to do the inner work.   Many of us in deep reflection can admit how difficult youth was, and how enlightening our older years can be.  We can find and practice peace.  Our egos are sitting down more.  We are finding less reason to debate our oppositions in life and truly let go.  Enjoying the moment more.  Sharing experiences with friends and finding our true earth families.

Ayurveda is a sister science to yoga.  As Yoga is for the body, mind and spirit,  Ayurveda embodies living in connection to the world outside of us and what the world offers up. Using Mother Nature as it should be used for healing, spiritual growth and wellness.  We are treated in this country, that as we get older, our only option is to medicate ourselves and die slowly.  I believe with all of my heart that our bodies are capable of taking us the long distance home with vitality, energy and strong mental agency.  If we become familiar with strong self disciplines, our older years may become the best season of our lives.

Recently Facebook memories showed me a 12 year old picture of myself.  My skin was puffy and red.  My forehead had a dark shadowing of  age spots across the entire area above my eyes.  I remember that for years I kept bangs to hide these red growing areas.  Those age spots are all gone.  Not diminished but gone.  During this time in my life, I was living a hard lifestyle with no self care practices.  Consuming processed foods, alcohol, smoking cigarettes.  Many years later, I think back to the one strong habit I began was dry brushing.  On a cellular level, when we dry brush the skin, our body automatically regenerates new skin cells on the deepest levels.  So it is not only anti aging, it is great for getting rid of old dry skin cells as well.  This is a practice that we need most in the Spring and Fall.  I keep a long dry brush hanging in my shower as a reminder brush my skin before showering.  Also you will notice how much your skin actually wakes up when you brush.  It is sensory as well.  Dry brushing is a practice that is thousands of years old.  It is an Ayurvedic remedy for aging but modern science finds its benefits are great for awakening the parasympathetic system as well.  If we dry brush regularly, we will see the results.  I always say not ten weeks but ten years of this practice will make you look years younger.

Oils are the greatest nourishment to the skin and joints.  In Ayurveda we look at localized healing.  If we have joints that are achey or feel sore, rubbing oil on the joints are a great way to get nourishment close to the place that you need healing.  Also oils not only hydrate the skin, but also detox the skin.  This is why oils will not increase black heads and clogged pores, but will pull dirt and toxins out of the skin.  Today you will see this in many of the oil cleansers that are marketed.  I love serums and oil based creams.  I pile many on in the morning and night as well.  This is how to get deep nourishment if you have dry skin, especially as we age.

As we age, our tissues lose nutrients that create hormonal and digestive balance and we become drier.  Our metabolism takes a dip and we find erratic patterns may begin due to this deep need of nourishment into the tissues.  Thyroid problems may begin and nervous system disorders.  Ear nose and throat problems are possible due to deep dryness.  If you think about an entire body becoming dryer and how that can affect lymphatic drainage.  Much like air, patterns of detoxification may rise instead of flush downward.  The root cause of this phenomenon is dryness.  This is why many elderly people begin to have ear, nose and throat problems.  Toxins are collecting near the throat chakra.  This energetic center is wildly alive and erratic if left untamed.  We may find that because the throat chakra is made of the element of air, and we are becoming dryer, we may find difficulty keeping this area clear.  Practices for wellness are deeply essential concerning detoxification.  After Menopause, drastic change concerning food is of utmost importance.  We can look at this as a higher calling.  Spiritually, God is asking us to rise in our actions.  We can find practices that prepare us for depth, vision, and clarity.  We are called to clean up our acts more so than we ever have in our lives.  We need to find disciplines that allow us to abstain from things that will harm us in our delicate aging process.  Processed foods have no nutrient value and are hard on every system of the body.  We do not need more dryness, we need less.  Also it is important to give up sugar.  Processed sugar becomes toxic in the body.  These toxins collect in our vulnerable tissues and joints.  We may also notice inflammation can occur when eating sugar.  Our bodies do not process it as easily as when we are younger.  If you have a sweet tooth, eat fruit.

Fruit is sacred and embodies the essence of life itself. Sacred nutrients in fruit keep us from getting sick, boosting our immune systems.  We NEED fruit.  There are many ways to incorporate fruit daily.  Slicing up many fruits and making a beautiful tray is enticing to the eyes.  Creatively we can make smoothies, smoothie bowls, and Nicecream with frozen bananas.  I have many videos and blogs on how to create magic with fruit.  The internet is full of ideas as well.  Have fun and enjoy your fruit every day.  Remember that nuts are a part of the fruit family as well.  Sprinkle some nuts on a smoothie bowl to add some texture and crunch into your meals.  Most of the time I have a smoothie bowl for dinner through the week.  It is like having dessert everyday.  Fruits contain vitamins C, vitamin K and fiber.  Berries and apples contain antioxidants that can help in cancer and chronic disease prevention.

Salt has benefits.  We have been programmed to believe that salt is bad for us.  Salt brings fluidity to the body.  Taking minerals and nutrients to deep tissues and cells.  An excellent practice is drinking warm water in the morning with lemon and a sprinkle of Himalayan pink salt.  Also Baltic and Celtic sea salts are excellent.  Salt contains sodium and potassium, giving the body deep hydration.  Benefits also include balancing electrolytes and preventing muscle cramping.  Salt also supports a healthy nervous system while improving sleep.

Moving our bodies is crucial as we age.  Movement is one of our greatest medicines.  Movement pulls oils into the joints, allowing us to stay fluid and boost our circulation.    Walking is the best exercise we can incorporate into our life.  Yoga is essential for allowing us to keep flexibility and strength.  Yoga also lengthens our muscles keeping our spine and gate aligned.  I believe that Yoga is the one practice that will allow you to do all of the other practices that you love.  Yoga is the center of every act that I do everyday.  Some people may have the passion of gardening or hiking.  Some people love to lift weights and go to the gym.  Yoga will always allow us to do all of the other things.  Fifteen minutes of stretching everyday is vital for keeping our body in optimal shape after the age of forty.  Heaviness in the body can slow us down.  Have you ever noticed that when feeling sluggish, the only true medicine is to move yourself, shaking the heaviness around.  We must stay diligent against lethargy and depression as we age.

Our skin holds everything inside, can you imagine how important this is.  We must love our skin.  Keeping our bodies oiled down will keep our skin healthy and nourished.  Oiling our bodies after bathing is a good way to keep our lymphatic and circulatory systems encouraged.  Massaging the oils from our toes upward toward our heart is a great way to encourage flow.  Once you have massaged oils to the heart you can rub serums and moisturizers onto your face and decolette.  I have made several videos on abhyanga massage and my skincare routine’s for deeper instruction.  In the Spring and Autumn, I oil twice a day because my skin becomes dryer.  This can also tame the imbalance of Vata which can cause insomnia and constipation.  Oiling is a five thousand year old practice that keep women looking beautiful and young after menopause.  (and men too!)   

People who live to be 100 or older are called centenarians.  There is a Netflix show called Secrets of the Blue Zones.  This book and documentary is based around small pockets of areas around the world that have the most centenarians.  All of these groups have a few things in common.  All of these groups grow their own gardens.  They all eat root vegetables and most of their diets are based around nutrient dense plants.  There is meat in many of their diets but very little.  The meat does not come from farms that include animal suffrage.  These centurions all have active lifestyles, many of them work every day.  Blue zone communities cook together, sharing time in the kitchen, everyone completing tasks for meals.  Nutrients are life.  Plants are life.  Whole foods creative vitality in the body.  Why have we lost the joy of putting our own meals together in our kitchens.  We all have a kitchen.  There is joy in family and friends cooking together and sharing time.  Some of the greatest times I have had in my Ayurvedic trainings are the times we shared in culinary hours.  I have shared the experience of a groups of women all cooking a feast together.  This reminds me of my childhood when all of my aunts came together at the end of summer.  Creating jams and jellies and stews to preserve for the winter.  Plants are LIFE.  Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are essential for health.  Local legumes are staples among centurions.  Lentils, beans and peas are rich in fiber, which can improve blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduce cancer risk.

Feeding windows can raise our Agni.  If we limit our feeding window each day, our body raises digestive fires.  This will boost our metabolism and energy levels.  There are many ways to chose a path of fasting.  I have found that what works for me, may not work for others.  I like a stringent fasting schedule Monday through Friday because of my work week.   I wake up around 5 am.  I drink warm water with ginger and lemon in the morning.  I break my fast at 10 AM and stop eating by 3 PM.  This may seem strict but after the first week, it is so easy.  Yes I get hungry at bedtime but it feels good to feel that fire.  The meal that breaks my fast is usually some pasta or a protein and salad.  I can be creative in the kitchen and mix it up depending on the season or what I am in the mood for.  I have more stews and soups in the colder months and fresh salad bowls in the warmer seasons.  I allow myself an afternoon coffee with cream and sugar, during my feeding window.  My last meal is usually a smoothie bowl with lots of fruit and nuts on top.  You can enjoy your feeding window in comfort and learn to get hungry again.  This gives our body time to focus on healing when we are not eating and nibbling all of the time.  Saturdays is my free day.  I usually have brunch with my girlfriends on Saturdays and a later dinner.  No rules.  Sunday i walk lightly back in to the fast, sometimes just eating fruit all day or one meal at dinner time if we have plans with family.  I have discussed fasting in depth in many podcasts and vlogs, also there is a lot of information now about intermittent fasting so that you may find the plan that works best for you.

Detoxification is vital as we age.  There are toxins in our food, toxins in our products and even toxins in what we see.  We ingest toxins on many levels in our day.  There are many paths to detoxification, our strongest being the transformative element of fire.  Fire transforms toxins on deep cellular levels, renewing our tissues and bringing our bodies to great heights of homeostasis.  Saunas induce sweating which is a way to keep the body running well.  Heat can also lubricate the joints and keep circulation fluid.   Fire always can enhance the way a body functions, allowing it to run like a well oiled machine.  Infrared Yoga can ease pain in the the low back, allow for more flexibility and help us to sleep.  Renewal and cellular generation takes place.  We love summers, and saunas and warmth.  We lose fire as we age and we must find ways to keep our fires strong, especially after the age of 50.

Practicing cold therapy is as important as our fire practices.  Cold boosts our immune system and alkalizes our bodies,  keeping us safe from cold and flu season.   Cold therapies also reduce inflammation in the body.  The last few months I have began to practice cold baths and showers again.  This is something I have not practiced since my late thirties.  I have always relished the summers and resisted the winters until I realized how important the cold can be.  Allowing the cold to come in to our tissues can be healing.  I was in a Spring retreat a couple of years ago and we slept and meditated on moist and cold earth throughout the week.  I came to a place inside of myself in this discomfort of how much I resisted cold weather.  My body would clench up and my mind would run sentences of how much I hated the cold.  I saw how this perception was affecting my circulation and joints.  We need to find homeostasis in the body and the only way that this is possible is through using every element given to us on this planet.  Cold is one of those elements.  We live in a culture that hugs the comfort of warmth like a big furry coat while resisting cold therapy on every level.  We love our saunas and hot yoga and cringe at winter and ice therapy.  Cold is as healing as hot, and in many cases more important, especially where inflammation is concerned.  Cold showers can be deeply uncomfortable in the beginning.  I invite you to stay with this practice.  There are ways to allow the cold in and to see quite quickly that in non resistance we can finally learn to love the healing qualities of cold therapies.  Even in Winter, our bodies are in a higher state of homeostasis than in the Autumn and Spring.  As hot detoxes, cold alkalizes and wakes up our cells, boosts our immunity and regulates the parasympathetic nervous system.  Practicing cold showers have changed my life.  If you can learn to condition yourself to ice bathing for three minutes the rewards are bountiful.  Recently I was able to find a place in Columbus that has an ice bath.  I have sat in the 44 degree water three times for three minutes.  After about forty seconds of sitting in icy cold water, if you breathe deeply and allow the cold to come in to your body, you begin to feel every cell wake up.  A feeling of bliss ensues.  This is the power of alkalization.  Cold therapy is excellent for arthritis and joint pain.  Also boosting our immune system.  Most Americans suffer with inflammation.  Cold is a remedy for this.  Give yourself time to habit yourself to uncomfortable practices.

Herbs and plant medicines.  Herbs are important as we age.  We must realize as we discover the power of herbs, that all of our bodies are different and react to herbs differently.  Also dosages.  I will say to consult a herbalist if delving in to taking herbal supplements.  There is also an enormous amount of information on the internet.  I have a few herbal books that I refer to and I believe that it is important for us all to become knowledgable on the precious plants that the world offers up to us!  I do want to speak on a few that are good for Menopause.  Ginkgo biloba has been a herb that I take for focus.  Valerian Root can be excellent for insomnia and overactive mind.  Black Cohosh alleviates hot flashes and vaginal dryness.  Shatavari is also good for thyroid issue as well as vaginal dryness.  Ginseng boosts energy levels and reduces menopausal symptoms.  Maca Root regulates hormones and may increase libido.  Evening Primrose oil eases dry skin and menopausal discomfort.  Flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.  Sage reduces sweating and supports hormonal balance.  Wild Yam supports hormone production and reduces dryness.  Ashwaganda is a powerful adaptogen that can support hormonal balance.  Do your study and reach out to a herbalist for more information.  Also be sure to check with any contraindications that you may have that could interfere with your other medications.

As always, check in with your Physician or  Nurse Practitioner before making changes in your lifestyle and diet.  Ayurveda is here to compliment your other wellness and medical practices.  Consult your Doctor before taking any steps that you feel uncertain about concerning your precious health!

Tina Chabot

Tina Chabot School of Yoga

e-RYT 500

Ayurvedic Health Counselor

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