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Hormonal Changes and Finding Balance – Blog

Do you notice you feel different throughout the month? Perhaps you exude confidence and can’t wait to socialise at certain times, and at others, you can’t wait to curl up for some much-needed alone time. Much of this is down to hormones, and the way they shift throughout the menstrual cycle.

Hormones are chemical messengers, and they significantly impact the way we feel and function on a day-today basis. Hormones are produced by endocrine glands such as the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, adrenals and gonads, and they’re also highly influenced by our actions and the world outside of us. When it comes to finding balance, hormones can make it seem tricky; throughout a typical 28 day menstrual cycle, women are likely to transition through a multitude of physical changes and emotional feelings, which means we’re simply not the same person from week-to-week, and we need to listen to our bodies and adapt to our needs.

The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda has long known how much of a powerful influence hormones have upon us, and can provide us with knowledge of how to feel balanced throughout hormonal changes. Through using the principles of Ayurveda and the three ‘doshas’ (three types of energy), let’s look at how we can find balance throughout the changes in the menstrual cycle, as well as in menopause when hormones shift once again.

Menstrual Phase: The Vata Phase

During menstruation, the uterine lining sheds, and the body is generally getting rid of what it no longer needs. We may feel more introverted, fatigued, vulnerable and sensitive during this time, and it’s vital to honour these sensations. Hormone levels drop during menstruation, as can iron levels, leading to those feelings of typical and mental tiredness. From an Ayurvedic perspective, menstruation is governed by Vata energy, which holds the qualities of coldness, lightness, dryness, anxiety and a scattered mind. In order to find balance during this phase, it’s essential to listen to your body and give it plenty of rest and rejuvenation. Focus on warmth in the form of soups, stews, Wunder Workshop’s Golden Mylk Turmeric Latte, and load up on iron-rich foods like lentils, spinach, molasses, dried fruits, and meat and seafood if you eat them. As sensitivity and intuition can also be heightened during this phase, it’s the perfect time for journaling with the Self-Love Journal, planning, and creativity. When it comes to movement, choose gentle forms such as walking or restful yoga.

Follicular Phase: The Kapha Phase

As menstruation finishes, hormone levels rise again, especially oestrogen, which helps rebuild the uterine lining. This phase is governed by the Kapha dosha, which means we may feel stronger, and emotionally quite balanced. During this part of the menstrual cycle, we’re generally able to take on a little more stress both mentally and physically, so this is a great time to choose more challenging forms of yoga or strengthening exercise, as well as getting stuck into work projects. Kapha energy can often make us feel heavy and stagnant, so if you want to practice a brief detox, this is the most appropriate time in the menstrual cycle to do it. Opt for light and cleansing foods like leafy greens, broths, and The Cosmic Dealer Ayurvedic Herbal Detox Tea, with special ingredients to encourage de-bloating and detoxification. This is also a great time to use the Hydrea Combination Detox Massage Brush to invigorate your body and stimulate the lymphatic system with a little body brushing.

Ovulation: The Pitta Phase

Around day 14, you may feel a little hot and flustered as body temperature rises and luteinising hormone and follicle stimulating hormones surge. This is a time of transformation, as levels of oestrogen drop and progesterone rises. There’s a huge amount happening at this time, because your body thinks there’s a chance you could be about to fertilise an egg and become pregnant. If you do become pregnant, progesterone levels continue to rise; if you don’t, progesterone will still remain high, before it drops prior to menstruation. This stage is governed by the Pitta dosha, which can encourage us to feel more fiery, sociable and open to communicating well with others. It’s a great time to host an event, attend meetings and parties, as well as meeting new people. Due to the hormonal dance happening within you however, you could feel extra irritable and argumentative, so be mindful when entering into potentially heated conversations. Find balance by cooling and soothing your systems; fill the air with Made By Zen’s Super Relax, with calming bergamot, Ho wood, lavender, clary sage, ylang ylang and cardamom, set up your Restorative Yoga Kit, and pop on an eye pillow for some much needed relaxation.

Luteal Phase: The Pitta Phase – with other changes likely

During the luteal phase, high levels of progesterone can cause those common pre-menstrual symptoms of sore and swollen breasts, bloating, anxiety, agitation or low mood. Right after ovulation, this is when we may be feeling extra ‘hormonal’, and it’s so important to adapt to your needs. The luteal phase is relatively long compared to other phases of the menstrual cycle, lasting roughly two weeks. During this time, we may be accustomed to pushing through tiredness, holding back tears and wondering why we just don’t feel the same as we did only a few days ago, but what your body and mind really needs is a shift in how you approach life right now. The Pitta dosha does still govern a lot of the luteal phase, potentially causing mood swings and cravings (which most of the time are totally valid), however lots of anxiety and fatigue could indicate an excess of Vata energy, whilst sluggishness and lethargy may signal you’re holding on to a lot of Kapha right now. We’re generally a little more susceptible to stress at this time, so consider not taking on too much and being firm with your boundaries in the luteal phase. Energy levels and strength can drop too, so be compassionate and kind to yourself if you’re not quite performing the same on your morning run, in the gym or at your yoga class. This is a great time to focus on self-care and what needs attending to closer to home; use the Palm of Feronia Amethyst & Magnesium Bath Soak to soothe aching muscles, and the ede Post Shower Nirvana Body Oil to practice the Ayurvedic art of Abhyanga or ‘self massage’. Wunder Workshop’s Goddess Tea also contains an invigorating and womb-tonic of nettle, oat straw, yarrow, linden, chamomile, rose, raspberry leaf and mugwort to settle sweet cravings and bring balance.

Menopause: The Vata Phase

After all those years of hormonal ups and downs (as well as the transition through perimenopause), the body enters the menopause – literally a ‘pause’ from menstruation. During this stage of life, the Vata dosha governs body and mind, perhaps leading to dry skin and hair, tiredness, digestive issues, anxiety, brain fog and a potentially declining bone density. It’s not all bad however, as this is the stage of life when we’ve accumulated an abundance of wisdom; we may care a lot less about what others think of us; and we have a new sense of freedom as we transition into a different era of womanhood. To stay balanced during the menopause, focus on those qualities that balance the Vata dosha, such as nourishing foods, warmth, and embracing what brings you joy. To learn more about how Ayurveda can help us stay balanced through the menopause, read our blog HERE, and delve into books like Menopause Yoga and Second Spring.



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