THE FEMININE IN ALL OF US
Often the root cause of women's health problems is misogyny (hatred or contempt of women). We live in a culture that does not value the feminine. The feminine is all about the power of creation, it is the unspoken, that which bubbles underneath in the darkness. It is not controllable, it is the power of water that running wild can tear down the mountain - the word lunatic comes from the same root as the Latin word for moon. The drive to maintain control, be productive and have goals above all else can bring on emotional fatigue, low self-esteem and physical complaints as we resist our own natures. This applies to men as well as women as all humans have characteristics of both the feminine and the masculine.
Our culture has turned many of the natural transitions in women's lives into "diseases". Menopause, for example, is a tremendous turning point in a woman's life and is about becoming wise. It can also be a time of grief and letting go - of miscarriages, regrets over child-rearing, relationships, the path not taken. The last stage of life is starkly front and center. It is time to let the young take up the heavy lifting and take our places as sages and teachers, yet many suffer from depletion and adrenal fatigue as we obey the dictates of our culture.
Healthy reproductive tissue and healthy menstruation is dependant on a woman's overall health. Other cultures have sequestered women during this time and relieved them of their normal duties to allow for extra rest. Not only did this create cohesion among a community of women, it was a way of honoring the feminine and honoring the divine within ourselves.
One Ayurvedic practice that can be especially beneficial to women is moonbathing. The moon is associated with the feminine as the sun with the masculine. The moon is associated with water - nourishing,cooling, flowing, flexible, smooth and stable. Moonbathing increases immunity and reduces inflammation. The best time to moonbathe is from the new moon to the full moon. Sit outside anytime from nightfall until the wee hours of the morning and go to bed directly afterward. If possible, expose the torso to the moonlight and sit in silence. Other nurturing practices such as oil massage, inhaling healing essential oils are great to add, as well as moonlight dips in water. Is this an attraction for skinny dipping? Moonbathing is contraindicated during menstruation and during periods of mourning. Maya Tiwari, in her book, "A Woman's Power to Heal" notes that the full moon is a natural time for having sex, if you are not menstruating.
Mary Bradford is an Ayurvedic Practitioner, a professional member of NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association).
• Nov. 2018: The Law of Karma