“Women are the real architects of society” - Cher
International Women's Day is all about celebrating the true spirit and essence of womanhood, empowering them to contribute towards the socio-economic growth of society that has been overlooked in the past. An empowered woman is the key to creating a healthier, wiser, and balanced society. Even Ayurveda elaborates on the concept of “Shiv Shakti'', the union of the sacred masculine and feminine consciousness that lies within us. Every individual, be it male or female is endowed with these energies. A balance between the two brings peace, joy and empowers us to live a healthy life.
Women’s health encompasses different aspects during the different stages of her life. Every woman goes through a series of profound transitions during her lifetime. These changes are categorized as menarche, pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause. Ayurveda offers a wealth of knowledge to support women in all their transitions and help them stay balanced at every stage of life.
However, it is imperative to understand that every individual has a unique doshic constitution and therefore, being mindful of your underlying dosha can do wonders to help manage the changes. For example, a Kapha dominant teenager should limit eating heavy, oily, and overly sweet foods, as this could lead to lethargy, weight gain, etc. Whereas, a Vata dominant individual should consume heavy, wholesome, oily foods as it can help ground her. Similarly, following a good routine, staying active, and getting adequate rest is a great way to channel all that fiery Pitta energy the right way.
Kapha Dominant Phase
Kapha, made from water and earth elements is known as the building and nourishing dosha. Kapha is responsible for building the body structure, cohesiveness, lubrication, hydration, and nourishment while supporting the bodily processes and growth. Correspondingly, childhood is all about growth, building new cells and tissue, accumulating body mass, and weight gain to support rapid growth and development of the body. These processes are inherently governed by Kapha. Therefore, Kapha dominates through the first stage of a woman's life. Kapha also helps regulate body fat, which is then converted to energy to fuel for our bodies during this growth-oriented phase of life.
Since childhood is a Kapha-dominated phase, it is important to ensure that we keep this watery dosha in balance. A few simple considerations such as being mindful of the diet and leading an active routine can do wonders to channel the qualities of Kapha. Since Kapha is inherently the most tangible of the three doshas, it benefits from a diet that promotes balance. Therefore dry, astringent, light and warm foods that are rich in fiber are great for women in their childhood. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and digestive spices are also helpful in keeping the dosha in check. Moreover, regular exercising helps improve blood circulation, supports lymphatic drainage, balances energy levels, and helps maintain the proper flow of nutrients. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals, and maintaining a strong level of physical activity is most beneficial for children.
Pitta Dominant Phase
Stepping into adulthood can be a time of rapid transformation and change for a young woman. According to Ayurveda, the second stage of life is governed by Pitta dosha, a combination of fire and water elements. Pitta governs digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients, transformation, and body temperature. Therefore, adulthood involves a natural increase in qualities associated with Pitta such as heat, metabolism, and transformation. These qualities help in digesting and assimilating life's experiences, improving focus, and fueling the drive to achieve one's goals.
Many women during this phase of life are fiery, goal-oriented, ambitious, and competitive. However, many women suffer from stress and anxiety during this dynamic phase of life. Investing time in calming practices like meditation, yoga, or simply setting aside some time for self-care each day can help relieve stress, support the reproductive system, and balance the natural flow of doshas in the body. When menstruating, take it easy to support your body purifying itself. Consume stress-relieving teas, rest and give time to your body to rejuvenate, and avoid strenuous exercises, practice a few yoga poses to help soothe the cramps. The best way to harness the transforming power of Pitta is to consume a pitta-pacifying diet that’s rich in well-cooked, fresh, colorful veggies, sweet, juicy fruits, and cooling drinks like coconut water, fresh juices, pitta-balancing teas like our Rose Petal infusion, etc. Fast foods like burgers, fries, pizzas, etc. are best left as occasional indulgences. The mid-20s to 30s is the ideal phase for women to start planning for a baby and focus on nurturing their 'Shukra Dhatu', or reproductive tissue. Foods that nourish the reproductive tissue and boost fertility include fresh, organic produce, broccoli, dairy, soaked almonds, and walnuts; herbs like Shatavari, Ashwagandha, Guduchi are beneficial as per need.
Vata Dominant Phase
When a woman transitions into elderhood, Vata takes over. Vata is composed primarily of air and space elements and governs movement, communication, creativity, flexibility, and expansiveness. A woman approaching elderhood gains mastery, wisdom, and maturity. Many women in their elderhood take retirement and focus on family, travel, hobbies, passions, and volunteer work. While others see these years as the opportunity for a rebirth of sorts, thrive on the vigors of their careers, and may even find themselves at their most powerful.
The most challenging part about the Vata stage of life is that the reserves of youth begin to dry up, and the body’s capacity to rejuvenate itself declines sharply. Vata’s drying influence leads to ailments like stiff and creaky joints, forgetfulness, loss of flexibility, toxin buildup, indigestion, dehydration, etc. During this phase, women also begin to transition into menopause, and problems like dry skin, dry scalp, and symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, mood swings, aggression, frustration, low stamina, etc tend to emerge. However, Ayurveda can help manage these problems with dietary and lifestyle modifications. For instance, if a woman notices Pitta-dominant menopausal issues such as irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, etc. following a Pitta pacifying diet will benefit her immensely. However, if a woman is experiencing Vata-related menopause symptoms such as vaginal dryness, poor memory, dry skin, airy mind, etc. switching to a Vata pacifying diet can help bring Vata dosha back into balance. Practicing Abhangya daily with a herb-infused oil can do wonders to calm the nervous system while deeply moisturizing your skin alleviating dryness.
Ayurveda recommends leaning towards warming, grounding, lubricating, stabilizing, and nourishing influences to keep the Vata in check. Moreover, practicing a daily abhyanga with soothing, herb-infused oil such as our Ortho-Heal Oil helps keep the joints lubricated, improves flexibility, strengthens joint mobility, promotes the elimination of toxins, and nurtures the mind, body, and spirit. Staying hydrated, taking time out to rest and rejuvenate, sticking to a healthy sleep schedule, staying active, going for short walks, favoring cooked, warming foods such as soups, stews, steamed veggies, and roasted veggies, adding ghee to meals, etc, are crucial to combat dryness and ward off doshic imbalances!. These practices help balance aggravated Vata and align your rhythms with nature. The goal during this phase is to stay active, limber, and enjoy and accept the changes in your life!
However, one must understand that elderhood can be the most enjoyable and peaceful time of life, provided one has taken good care of themselves in their yesteryears. During this Vata-dominated phase of life, the subtle, mobile, and communicative aspects of Vata pave the way for women's creative capacities, making it the best time to engage in creative pursuits. Similarly, the increase in Vata also fosters a natural connection with the spiritual realms. Therefore, women can immensely benefit from practicing meditation, deep listening, and cultivating a connection with their spirit. Elderhood is all about acceptance, wisdom, tranquility, and spirituality.
Women are compassionate, fierce, passionate, ingenious, and constantly replenishing those around them. It's about time women experience the feeling of pure, restorative self-love, on Women’s Day. Be it children, teenagers, housewives, female professionals, or mothers, every woman, at every phase of life must take care of themselves. Fortunately, with the help of Ayurveda, women can experience inner bliss, gain mental peace, and transform themselves into their most healthy selves.
We encourage you to seek Ayurvedic consultation for your health problems and adapt Ayurvedic principles in your daily life to improve the quality of your life.