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Women's health in Ayurveda

Short information for each Dosha
5 min read

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet is of utmost importance for women’s health especially during her fertile life stage as it affects women’s progeny as well

According to Ayurveda, most women’s imbalances are imbalances of Vata. Why? Because women generally are more prone to various health issues due to changes in the body happening on a monthly basis, from the first period to the last.

Since imbalance of Vata is the main reason for the various health issues in women, what are the lifestyle habits that take Vata out of balance?

Here they are:

  • Excessive physical activities, especially if too strenuous and for long hours;
  • Wearing high heels;
  • Doing the wrong yoga postures;
  • Travelling for long hours on a regular basis;
  • Not going to bed on time;
  • Skipping meals or eating very little for weight loss;
  • Habitual suppression of natural urges like hunger, thirst, defecation or urination.

All of the above mentioned takes Vata dosha out of balance and can lead to conditions like headaches, general body aches and pains, menstrual pains, bloating or constipation, nausea, back pains, anxiety, etc.

Of course there are psychological factors as well like stress, anxiety, depression, fear, emotional instability. You sure have missed a period or had a very scanty one during exams or a stressful time of your life.

That is because fear blocks the normal functioning of your body, changing it’s normal hormonal environment. And that affects pretty much everything from sleep patterns to food likes and dislikes. It’s all a Vata dosha imbalance.

Food habits that seriously and negatively impact Vata included eating cold and uncooked foods, skipping meals, too spicy, sour or refrigerated and re-heated food, alcohol consumption, junk food and regularly eating packaged, pre-made food like hotel or airplane foods.

So what are the habits and foods that will balance us women during the different stages of our lives?

1. Foods and lifestyle during menstruation:

  • Avoid heavy foods that will be difficult to digest and can contribute to bloating such as meat, junk foods, havili processed foods, etc.
  • Avoid drinking cold water and other cold beverages as they can make menstruation painful;
  • Avoid excessively spicy hot foods. Although they increase Pitta, they can also make your flow heavier;
  • Avoid excess travelling, standing, exercising, talking as they increase Vata;
  • Eat easily digestible food that is well cooked and warm and drink warm water to help with menstrual pains and discomfort.

2. Foods and lifestyle during pregnancy.

Most women instinctively know what’s good for them and the health of their baby while pregnant. Taste and senses do change during pregnancy and usually a healthy body will let you know what it needs.

Avoiding heavy and difficult to digest foods will help you feel comfortable and avoid the pregnancy constipation.

Raw papaya and raw pineapple, as well as too much asafetida should also be avoided as well as travelling, climbing stairs and/or hills, standing on heights, etc.

3. Lifestyle and food during menopause.
Menopause is a period of gradual cessation of some bodily functions and as such it causes imbalances in all three doshas which accordingly produce various symptoms.

In order to restore balance and health, special care should be given to the dosha specific symptoms.

And here are some other symptoms you might experience from disbalancing of the doshas:

Vata symptoms include mood swings, fear, anxiety, constipation, insomnia, body aches. To counter these symptoms avoid the intake of dry and cold food as well as activities (travelling, too much exercising, staying in the wind or in cold atmosphere, etc). Include Abhyanga (hot oil massage) in your daily routine, get enough sleep and have a glass of warm water first thing in the morning to maintain the normal movement of Vata in the body.

Pitta symptoms like hot flashes, anger, burning sensations, inflammations, excess bleeding should be balanced with cooling, bitter and astringent foods like barley, coconut, dark greens, green gram,etc. Spicy, sour and salty foods will exacerbate the symptoms of too much fire in the body. Abhyanga with cooling oils (such as coconut oil) as well as more grounding activities like meditation are a must, to fight excess fire.

If you are experiencing more Kapha symptoms like obesity and weight gain, sluggishness, indigestion or depression, avoid consuming too much sweet and oily, heavy, cold, raw foods. Sleep during daytime increases Kapha, too. Regular exercise combined with a lighter diet can do miracles for Kapha.

To sum up,we all go through so man changes changes in life and women’s hormonal changes are no small part.

Accepting change as the normal natural flow of life and energy and knowing how to recognize and balance the dosha-related symptoms during those changes can make each life stage wholesome and fulfilling. Find out what dosha you are and then introduce some improvements to your diet and lifestyle for a radiant health regardless of circumstances. It’s easy and fun!

About the author

Irina Bachvarova

Yoga Guru

Master in Sports Pedagogic and director at Bulgarian Ashtanga Yoga Academy.

Irina is the author of the first Bulgarian book for Ashtanga Yoga and trusted Yoga Guru for TV series, produced by Bulgarian National Television.

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