Menopause: The Alchemy of Life
- Created on Monday, 12 June 2006 11:00
Menopause can happen anytime, these days women are getting it faster than ever, as early as in their mid 30s. Understand and embrace the signs of 'life-changing' transformation.
Many years ago, I went out for a walk and simply couldn't breathe. My chest suddenly felt like it was closing in on my heart and my ribs were like strings pulling a corset tighter. It was an ache, a frozen heaviness, a strange sensation that my ribcage was suffocating me. I stopped and stared at the horizon, unable to move. In a moment of sheer terror, I became very still and all of a sudden, I noticed everything. It wasn't a heart attack, but it seemed to feel like one. It wasn't a panic attack, but it darn near became one. It was nothing and everything. This is one of many visceral experiences women endure and move through during menopause. Unexplainable yet very real.
We all go through ups and downs, through stress and life challenges. But when "the change" just happens, it can be quite overwhelming. Like a hormone roller coaster, some women living a normal life suddenly have their world turned upside down. For it seems menopause is a que for a complete surrender. For those who choose to carry on as they always have, menopause without support could turn into a nomad journey into a barren desert of nothingness.
Menopause is naturally a force of nature and one must look to nature and the nature of things during this phase of a woman’s life. Thus begins a look at her life tapestry and what she has woven. In one sense menopause seems like the end of being ‘female’, the entering of infertility, a time to retreat. But in a traditional sense, it is the time to birth her core wisdom, her instinct and authentic self.
I did not expect, realize or even consider that I had already entered menopause around the age of 36. Some experts tell us that menopause is occurring the day we are born such that we already in a state of declines as each year go by. A woman under stress such as having a sudden accident, divorce or family death may spark an onset. However, living as a woman in modern society, statistics don’t seem to help or serve when a relatively young, healthy active woman all of a sudden for no reason cannot remember where she parked her car, has no recollection of what she drove into town for, is silently rebelling against anything that does not include staying in bed or being alone and is trying to cope with the fact that her body albeit everything she is doing refuses to cooperate.
Ways that worked before to lighten spirit may suddenly seem not to work anymore. As the months progress, body temperature begins to change, sleep patterns become disturbed while hair, skin and nails change. A gust of hormones are leaving, so say goodbye to oestrogen and welcome a new world, a new mind, a new body, a new you. The Change of Life is truly happening. I was truly blown away by the change. I had to ask, will I become traumatized or will I listen, learn and transform? It was time to choose.
To remain caged in your own body and heart unwilling to accept the changes occurring or begin to consider this as a meaningful transition would be un-wise and un-useful. When the change occurs, a change must occur. Listening, feeling, observing and becoming very aware of oneself is the beginning of a healthy transformation.
Yoga is a start. With simple, restorative and gentle yoga, a woman is soothed in her own bones. The health benefits are subtle but often profound. Relaxation, gentle exercise, weight bearing postures, core stability and joint mobility all serve to benefit the female body through this tremendous process. With yoga, joints, digestive and skeletal systems are strengthened. Awareness of breath, movement and tension provide daily doses of de-stressing.
Woman’s yoga is designed to offer all the elements that support the continuous and naturally changing landscape of a woman's body, mind and spirit. She will make her way to the other side. A yoga practice nurtures a woman and allows her to feel. Menopause is truly a woman’s time. It is her opportunity to tap into her own second wind.
Tailored to help each woman explore her unique requirements, yoga at this time is not about physical fitness, or getting ‘into shape’. Yoga for the mature woman is about developing a new core foundation, to be flexible in adversity and to reap the reservoirs of earned stillness.
by Danielle Purcell
A Certified Yoga Instructor and Retired US Army Force Officer
Keywords: Jakartadoyoga, Yoga Studio, Yoga, Iyengar, Jakarta, Indonesia, Health