Spirituality & Mindfulness for Menopause
A few weeks ago we had a lovely guest speaker join us to talk about spirituality and mindfulness and it’s importance to us as we travel through menopause. Lately, I have found a certain need to look inwards and to strengthen the bonds between my physical body and the spirit that lives within it, as I have travelled through menopause. I’d like to share my experience with our guest speaker…
As we took some time to quietly breathe in a seated position I kept saying to myself, I should really be doing this more often. The calmness was palpable, but the stillness was a bit hard for a working brain like mine (it always has been). With each inhale I invited my mind to soften and each exhale gently reminded my body to relax.
We stood in a relaxed position and took some time to ground our feet and breathe into our torso. Alexia Georgousis, naturopathic doctor, Qi Gong instructor and spiritual awareness trainer led us on a simple exercise moving our arms in a full slow circle, gathering energy from the earth (yin energy) and the heavens (yang energy) to fill our body from our head all the way down into our pelvis. This gathered energy became a shining light that was directed down through the top of our head and along our spine (called the Taiji pole), filling our entire torso. It was quite easy for me to collect this gentle but vibrant energy all around me, but not as easy to then send it down my Taiji pole. In the end I used an image to help me (which may help you too) – fill a glass with slow running liquid filling you up from your pelvis to your head (your body is the vessel holding the substance).
After a number of repetitions, collecting and depositing, we sat and rested our arms with hands close to each other and man the heat and vibration between them was awesome. They felt like they were holding a ball but they were inches apart. This was a simple Qi Gong exercise.
At the end of our guided meditation and movement, Alexia spoke to us of extending kindness towards ourselves and we closed our discussion with a hug for ourselves – I highly recommend trying this, it was so calming (I don’t think we do this enough).
yin and Yang in the context of spirituality and mindfulness
Spirituality means different things for different people. For some it is a belief in a religion or God, for others it is about taking time for quiet reflection. Some see it as nurturing the body and mind through the exploration of nature. I don’t think you need to define spirituality, but I think you have to be present with it and this is where meditation and mindful breathing come into play.
From a traditional Chinese medicine prospective, meditation or mindful breathing connects both the yin and yang in a way that is quite synergistic and when you are menopausal finding this balance is super important as your hormones fluctuate and wane. Where our yang is energetic and active our yin is quieter and passive. But they don’t work in isolation, they actually feed, support, build and break down each other. That’s it’s nature – the calm, feminine of yin nurtures the strong, loud and masculine that is the yang in us. And vice versa…when our relaxed, gentle side needs a little boost our yang is there to provide it.
The power of spirituality & mindfulness during menopause
Menopause is a natural evolution of a woman’s body, not a condition or illness. It is often thought of as a rebirth or second spring, a shift away from our youth into the wisdom of life. Menopause is the ending of our ability to reproduce and is the beginning of new exploration. We reach this time in our life when things should be slowing down a bit, but it is often the busiest and most stressful. Children are growing, parents are aging, work may be demanding, sleep is disrupted, emotions are up and down and often you are the rock that has to keep it all together. Men don’t go through the same shifts and changes, so their experience with aging is often far different than ours.
Take the time to nurture what you need now, not at some point down the line. I often remind women, like flying in a plane, we have to remember to put on our own oxygen mask first then assist others to get theirs on. We will not be helpful to others if we are struggling in our own daily life. Many women find that taking some time in their day to follow a mindful meditative practice often reduces uncomfortable symptoms, calming the mind and the body. According to Alexia the best time to do mindful movement, such as Qi Gong, is in the morning. That is when we can tap into the energy of the day, but even spending 5 minutes to breathe deeply and sit quietly at the end of the day can do wonders.
3 simple things we can implement in our life that can support us as we age
This list was provided by Alexia…thank you!
- Creativity – exploring your passions by expressing your uniqueness are excellent ways to tap into your vital force and keep it flowing.
- Daily movement– that is mindful with an intention of gratitude for your body. Moving with awareness of connection to your breath and the elements ie sun, wind, earth, moon, sky etc. We are nature too.
- Forgiveness– of the self for what you did or didn’t do in your life – helps us to connect to ourselves with compassion and kindness, and by doing so we lighten our energetic load, then we are able to connect better with others.
Spirituality and mindfulness has no gender or age requirement, so find a teacher, mentor or practitioner to guide you along the way!
Cindy Willems is a registered acupuncturist, certified Pilates teacher and nutritionist with a love for all things that are inspiring, nourishing and empowering. Contact her for more about what services she offers at firstname.lastname@example.org