A woman’s body experiences challenges at different stages in life – from menstrual cycles through to pregnancy and menopause – those hormonal influences can be more than a little stressful.
How can Ayurveda help women enjoy their womanhood freely and fully and to experience optimism, wellbeing, serenity and zest for life throughout all phases of life?
In this article you will learn which doshas govern childhood, youth and old age, how your dosha type responds to hormonal changes and which phase of life is particularly important for your health. Get to know the most valuable Ayurveda tips for all phases of life.
Women – Source of Life
Whether in India, here in Europe or anywhere else: all over the world women embody giving, love, strength and the emergence of life. All of us came into this world through a woman.
Throughout a woman’s life, her organism is challenged by numerous hormonal changes during puberty and pregnancy, after childbirth and during menopause to a much greater extent than a man’s body, which moves through the phases of life more evenly.
It is, therefore, especially important for women to pay close attention to their health and to appropriately support their body in each of those phases of life.
This article offers you tips and suggestions on how Ayurveda can support you throughout your whole life.
A Life in Transition
Childhood & Youth
Childhood is dominated by the Kapha principle and is a time of growth and development; during this phase of life, our body needs a lot of nourishment, energy, proteins and vitamins.
In girls, nutritional requirements increase with the start of menstruation, in particular their need for iron. Girls, therefore, need even more support.
Good nutrition improves the absorption of nutrients, prevents anaemia and supports the development of the dhatus (body tissues).
Foods rich in iron, such as leafy greens, tomatoes, eggplants, broccoli and zucchini, are particularly recommended for young women. In addition, we recommend the Maharishi Ayurveda® Ayurvedic Iron Rasayana.
Women in Adulthood
Adulthood lies in the Pitta phase of life. In this phase women in particular experience a significant increase in hormonal changes. It is, therefore, really important that you not only take good care of others in this phase of life, but also of yourself and that you make sure to maintain your own harmonious balance.
In addition, the Ladies' Rasayana with its unique combination of ayurvedic herbs is a supportive supplement recommended for all adult women (except during pregnancy).
Regularly practicing (yoga) asanas, meditation and living a balanced lifestyle can also help women move through the Pitta phase of life with a sense of ease.
Nutrition tips: The best for Vata, Pitta and Kapha women
Women with a pronounced Vata dosha and the corresponding changeable agni (digestive fire, see note) have a tendency towards constipation and bloating. Vata types should eat light meals in shorter intervals and avoid dry foods, salads and beans. Ayurveda recommends regular use of spices and seasoning mixtures that improve digestion, stimulate appetite, add flavour, and help you feel pleasantly replete after a meal.
Women with a Pitta-dominant constitution (prakriti) tend to have heavier periods.
Avoid hot (spicy) foods, red meat, and citrus fruits because they stimulate the fire element. In addition, use paprika and salt only sparingly. Light and easily digestible foods are ideal. If possible, do your own cooking rather than ordering takeaway or buying ready-to-serve meals.
As a source of iron, the Ayurvedic Iron Rasayana can be very beneficial for this dosha type.
Women with a pronounced Kapha dosha typically have light or irregular periods, which can indicate that the subtle body channels are congested. Here it is important to ensure good cleansing and detoxification from an early age on. As Kapha type, you should avoid leftovers and foods that increase Kapha in the body, such as cucumbers or melons. You should also avoid milk and cheese. Instead of milk, try small amounts of rice or almond milk.
The following table shows you at a glance the most important tips for each type.
|Vata type||Pitta type||Kapha type|
|Recommended||Rather take small meals more often;
ghee; flavours: salty, sour, sweet, spices that stimulate digestion, especially sweet and warming spices such as anise, fennel, cumin, fresh ginger, mustard seed, fenugreek, cinnamon, cardamom, liquorice, asafoetida, turmeric, cloves, black pepper (in small quantities), basil and rock salt
|Easily digestible foods, and rather bitter, astringent and sweet foods, salads and vegetables. Ghee, sweet and ripe fruit||Promote detoxification as part of your daily routine, regular cleansing treatments (panchakarma);
warm, light, and rather dry foods, fresh fruit, little salt;
use rice or almond milk instead of animal milk
|Foods to avoid||dry foods, salads, beans;
|Spicy and sour foods, hot meals, citrus fruits, paprika, salt, sour;
red meat, leftovers
|Leftovers, large amounts of cucumbers, melon, cheese, milk|
Exciting months: Pregnancy
Pregnancy and motherhood are particularly precious times in a woman’s life, but they come with major hormonal changes. Women who are careful to have enough down time and a healthy diet during pregnancy are doing both themselves and their baby a lot of good.
Things to note:
- Meals that increase Pitta dosha can stimulate blood flow, including the blood flow to the foetus.
- Foods that increase Vata can also lead to a bloated belly. For some women this can cause slight discomfort or even stomach pain.
- Foods high in Kapha qualities can slow down the baby’s movements.
Avoid leftovers and heavily spiced foods, and instead favour freshly cooked foods and fresh fruit; in other words, be sure to always eat enough fruit. Eat your meals at regular times as much as possible, not too late and in smaller portions. This way you can prevent bloating and pressure from developing in your belly.
A good daily routine and a nutritious and healthy diet that includes a lot of fibre and fewer carbohydrates, plenty of leafy greens, vitamins and minerals, fresh fruit: this is how you support your health and balance the doshas at the same time.
The ayurvedic supplements Calcio Care and Ayurvedic Iron Rasayana can provide additional support.
The important time after pregnancy
“Post pregnancy from my side is the most important period of a women’s life because this decides the further next 20-30-40 years of health.”
Vaidya Dr. Saurabh Sharma
After childbirth, the Vata dosha becomes more pronounced. Many women feel extremely tired and physically weak during this time.
From the perspective of Ayurveda, menopause marks the beginning of the Vata season of life.
Every healthy woman will enter this phase. Menopause is a time of strong hormonal fluctuations that vary from one woman to another. This phase goes smoothly for some but can also be demanding and stressful for others.
Everyone should live hundred years
When does one become a senior? Ayurveda says: “Jivatam Shateh”: Everyone should live to be 100. The Vata phase of life begins during and after menopause, and entirely natural physiological changes gradually lead to, among other things, decreased digestive capacity. The quality of the dhatus and the ojas, the body’s strength and defence, also decrease. This is the case for all human beings; it is not an illness but a natural phase of life, and one that we can fully enjoy while being physically fit, full of vitality, in good health, with zest for life, wellbeing, exercise, openness and lots of fun. Surely, you’ve heard it before: 60 is the new 30.
Even in this Vata phase of life we should take good care of ourselves and pamper our body even more than before.
By the way: a particularly valuable companion in all phases of life – essentially from the age of 8 to 80 and beyond – is Maharishi Amrit Kalash. The many herbs it contains work in perfect synergy with each other so that they enhance each other in the best possible way. This is in line with the ayurvedic principle “Sanskaro hi gunantodhanam”, “the combination enhances the quality”.
We wish all women that you may move through all phases of life feeling healthy, relaxed and filled with appreciation and joy.
Thank you to our experts Dr. Richa Shrivastava and Vaidya Dr. Saurabh Sharma for your expert support!