5 Ayurveda Steps to Healing Endo
If you start reading about Ayurveda—a holistic way of addressing the imbalances in the body—you may feel overwhelmed. It is a lot to learn. However, instead of feeling overwhelmed, start small.
I talked with Medha Garud, part of the Ayurveda team at the Shankara Wellness Center in Boone, North Carolina to get suggestions that I and other endo sufferers could start practicing today to get relief from endometriosis.
Here’s what she recommends.
1. Ayurveda asserts that our periods should be a time of rest
How you take care of yourself during your period this month will determine how you feel during your period next month. If you can, stay off your feet. If you work in an office, try not to schedule big meetings the week of your period. If you can, limit the amount of energy you exert talking and having big, emotional conversations, which are draining. Also, pay attention to your comfort. Last of all, keep your feet warm.
2. Pay attention to your sleep
“Try and be asleep before 10 p.m. so that you are asleep from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., which is the time that your body does the most detoxifying,” says Garud. If you are not asleep during this window, it is harder for your body to remove toxins—which leads to imbalance.
3. Exercise, but don’t do anything strenuous
“Strenuous exercise can overstrain and dehydrate the system,” says Garud.
Yoga is the best choice for exercise. Walking and gentle aerobics can also be great options. She adds, “It’s very important to increase circulation, otherwise energies in the body get stagnant.”
4. Get your digestive fire strong
For many of us who overeat when we are stressed, this is a hard one to accept. But, it very well may be one of the most important Ayurvedic principles.
“Eating when you are hungry seems simple, but it isn’t always,” says Garud. “We are not aware of when we are hungry.”
What happens when you eat when you are not hungry is that your digestive fire is not strong, and food does not get digested completely. This causes a buildup.
In Ayurveda, this excess of calories and energy is called ama. Excess ama leads to a feeling of sluggishness. “Ama will find the weak spot and will exacerbate problems,” explains Garud. This can be one of the contributing factors affecting the imbalance that is endometriosis.
To avoid ama, Ayurveda suggests eating light. Make lunch your biggest meal, and eat between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Never skip lunch. Have a light dinner, and don’t eat anything before bed. Eating before bed hinders your body’s ability to detox during the night.
5. Avoid inflammation-causing foods & substances
The biggest causes of inflammation are alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and red meat. As for caffeine, if you cannot quit entirely, try to cut back when you can.
As for red meat, Garud advises to avoid it as much as possible. “Our systems are not designed to digest meat. Meat is dead, and it has low energy, or prana, because it is dead. If you’re going to eat meat, go easy on it. You don’t have to become a vegetarian, but don’t have a whole plate full of meat. Pick white meat, like chicken or turkey, which is ‘light’ in terms of energy. Red meat is heavy, and the heaviness of red meat increases the heaviness in your body.”
One of the Ayurvedic principles is that like increases like, which is a great principle to think about when making food choices. Choosing fresh vegetables and fruits, which have a lot of energy, aka prana, are going to give us more energy.
Overall, nobody expects you to change your lifestyle overnight, but these suggestions, when followed, might make you feel better. It might be worth experimenting to see how you feel after trying these suggestions for a few menstrual cycles. These choices will all lead to a lighter, healthier feeling—which is never a bad place to be.
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