If you have been reading my blogs (see them here) for a while, you will know that I suddenly went into full blown menopause 2 years ago and it nearly killed me! Like I really thought I was going mad. You see, I never thought Yoga people got Menopause! Like seriously??? If you practice Yoga, drink a green juice every day and keep your body alkaline, you can’t catch it right??? Wrong!!!
Man, Menopause came as a huge smack down for me. Just when my Live FIT Detox Programs were taking off and I was feeling invincible, going cross country and cross continents teaching Yoga, offering my programs and workshops (and totally ignoring the fact that I was feeling like CRAP because I was so happy I was making everyone else feel amazing), I suddenly felt like my world was turned upside down. It was like night and day. I went from being my Zen Self, on top of my game, Detox Queen/Yoga Goddess to
Mad-As-Rass Menopause Emotional Basketcase Mother of 3 poor unsuspecting, innocent children and one incredibly patient husband.
Every mind altering, body challenging, mood swinging, energy zapping, hot flashing, not sleeping, anxiety ridden, non-stop bawling menopausal symptoms and then some, descended upon me like the plague. I was in such shock of it all, I never thought once that it was strange that I had not had my period in months. I was such in denial, that when I did realize this fact…I rushed my 50 year old self to the doctor thinking I was pregnant!! OMG, you can imagine the shock, when a blood test later revealed that I was in full-blown menopause. I was like what?? What does that mean? I knew nothing about it. My Mom never spoke about it. I did not know how to handle it. All I knew is that I had to take a PAUSE (pardon the pun) and figure how I was going to accept it and make the most of it.
And here I am 2 years later, finally ready to share what I went through so that I can help you make this transition to your Wisdom Years (Yes, they truly are) a little more gracefully than I did. Not all women get it as bad as I did. Many get it much worse. A lot of how you move through this phase of your life depends on your genes, but what I found out, its that most of it, is in your Lifestyle.
Here are 5 Surprising things I did to Ride the Wave Of Menopause and Turn Some of the God Awful Symptoms Upside down on their head and You can too!
If you are approaching your forties, are already feeling “pre-menopausal,” in full-blown menopause, or have passed through already and want to share this with your daughters, please buy The Wisdom of Menopause, by Dr. Christiane Northrup. It literally changed my life. You see, no one in my family talked about menopause or about what it feels like to get older, to see your body change and your energy shift. This book not only explains it all from a scientific and medical perspective, it helps you to see this time in your life as a gift.
What I know for sure is that when my body is out of balance and my PH is more acidic than alkaline, I feel my symptoms more. What makes the body acidic? Processed foods, too much animal protein, sugar, dairy, coffee, alcohol, and stress! Have an honest look at what you are eating, and try to follow more of a Plant Based Diet. (Check out my 80/10/10 Rule for Living a High Vitality Life). That does not mean you don’t eat meat! It just means that the majority of your food comes from plants and we are so blessed to have so much to choose from in Jamaica. By simply consuming more alkaline foods we can eliminate a whole host of annoying and painful conditions like arthritis and joint pain, indigestion, insomnia and skin conditions, not to mention menopause symptoms. So go green and get clean! It’s just the right way to live, menopause or not! If you struggle to get CLEAN, think about doing a Detox with me. Your body is an amazing vehicle for transformation – all it needs is a little love and attention and TIME eliminate all the toxins that have built up over the years.
When I found out I was in Menopause, it was too late. I was already fully burnt out and literally had to cancel 6 months of planned programs and exciting projects that I had going on in my life as I simply did not have the energy. Yes, me. If you know me, energy is my thing. I have it by the ton load. But let me tell you, I ignored all the things my body was trying to say to me at 48 and 49 and Adrenal Fatigue set in. “Adrenal Fatigue is a stress-related condition that occurs when your adrenal glands, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland are functioning below their optimal level. Adrenal Fatigue is usually the result of long term physical or emotional stress, and can lead to symptoms like low energy levels and weakened immunity.” As you might expect, fatigue is the most common Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms. Yes, I was exhausted as HELL, but what did I do? Drink another cup of coffee and keep going. At this time in my life, I was on such I high, I did not want to stop. I did not want to say No to anything and I was also raising 3 young children. Helloooooo?? Who has time to rest? Another coffee please! No matter how old you are, you need to learn the art of self-care and rest and know that self-care is NOT selfish. I used those 6 months to deeply listen to my body through daily meditation and practicing more Restorative Yoga, spending time on my Bio Mat, to get 8 hours sleep each night and to limit my caffeine intake so that I rested when I was tired and did not keep going, going, going. It was a game changer for me and now, I’ve become the biggest advocate for saying NO to the people and events that drain my energy, to late nights filled with alcohol (OK, once in a while I still take a walk on the wild side and dance till dawn) but its on my terms, and to exercising less and meditating more.
The first thing I did when I found out that I was in Menopause was to find a Functional Medical Doctor in the US. I felt like I wanted a more multi-dimensional approach to helping my symptoms than doing what my Doctor here suggested: Take Hormone Replacement Therapy and Anti Depressant Pills! Trust me, I wanted to swallow the whole pack but I knew deep down that was not for me. My Functional Medical Doctor started with a series of blood tests that not just tested my estrogen and progesterone levels, but a host of other things to look at the overall picture of my health. From there, he suggested some vitamins and supplements and suggested that I add Acupuncture Treatments, which I found extremely effective. Here is a list of what I take now, but I do suggest that you go to your Doctor first. I am just sharing with you what I do. I certainly feel more in balance when I take them regularly. Note, please do not skip on your Vitamins. They are an investment in your health.
Hey, I could not write this article with out begging you to bring Yoga into your life, OR do more if you are already practicing. As a Yoga practitioner for over 38 years (yes, I took my first Yoga class at 14) and a teacher for 22 years, I am more drawn to Restorative Yoga than any other style. With the crazy 21st Century life that we ALL lead, it is the poses that help us to breathe, relax, let go and allow our lives to flow are what we really need. And yes, on a physiological level, they help to balance our hormones. So, if you are having the crazies, put the donuts down and find yourself a Yoga Class PLEASE!! Restorative Poses including Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose), Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose), and Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose) with the head supported, and my absolute favorite, Viparita Karani – or legs up the wall pose (It’s my new best friend) are amazing! If you live in Montego Bay or are passing through, I teach Restorative Yoga every Wednesday at The Body Shop at 22 Freeport from 5:30 – 6:30 pm! If you can’t join me, here is my FREE SUNSET RESTORATIVE YOGA video just for you! And if you have never tried Meditation, Menopause is the best time to start! Not only is it a time to slow down and go within, it’s a time to re-connect to who you truly are. If you struggle with meditation like I did for many years, try Oprah and Deepak’s FREE 21 Day Meditation Experience. They have a new one starting on October 30th, sign up now and make meditation a part of your Life!
So my friends thank you for allowing me to share my story. It’s been in me for the last year and dying to be let out! In an Instagram world, we need to ALL share our challenges, not just our successes. In sharing, we united each other. I’m sharing my first ever Workshop, Riding the Waves of Menopause as well as a couple juicy Yoga classes at the up-coming SEJA Spinning Escape in Negril next weekend, November 3-6 at The Swept Away Hotel. Hope to see you there.
Please share this article with a mother, sister, aunt or friend who needs it and as always, I welcome your comments below.