Ten Tenets For The Modern-Day Menopausal Woman

“In the time of life typically known as menopause, women’s brains are reshaped, for the better, in a way that creates new power, a bracing clarity, and a laser-like sense of purpose if you know how to seize it.”

Dr. Louann Brizendine, Neurobiologist and Hormone Specialist

For me, “the menopause” has become an unintended part of my spiritual practice. To survive it, and furthermore, thrive throughout it, I have had to call upon years of mind-body training …(and the odd bottle of gin). 

For me, the menopausal years haven’t been an easy ride, to say the least. Although, having lived thus far through this fiasco that some women describe as their slow demise, and others as their upgrade, I can confidently say there is indeed truth to both sides of the story here. 

What has kept me buoyant though, during the lows, and humble during the highs, is my yoga practice. 

On the path of yoga, first and foremost, the yogi must adhere to – or at the very least understand – the ten ethical precepts of Yama (social conduct) and Niyama (personal conduct) if they are to progress along the yogic path. 

In menopause (and peri-menopause alike), we can adapt the ancient principles of Yama and Niyama to make more sense of them as modern women living in the modern world. These ten yogic tenets (non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, abstinence/moderation, non-possessiveness, purity/cleanliness, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, surrender) if applied in practice, can be a saving grace, not only to the modern woman dealing with the menopause, but to every modern human dealing with life in a fast-paced chaotic world. 

Ten tenets for the modern-day menopausal woman to live by …

  1. Give a great deal of kindness to self. 

Actress, Kim Cattrall has her own take on this. “I see menopause as the start of the next fabulous phase of life as a woman. Now is a time to ‘tune in’ to our bodies and embrace this new chapter. If anything, I feel more myself and love my body more now, at 58 years old, than ever before.”

2. Be truthful about where you’re at, and what you are actually dealing with. Gather the facts on what is physiologically happening inside of you. Do what you can to cultivate balance then call upon the willpower to expand your attention beyond what is not working in your life and body, to focus energy on what is working. In her book, Mama Sutra, Anne Cushman wrote, “My practice has taught me to shift my attention to what isn’t hurting; to feel the joy and connection, and rest in them. The true yoga, I have to learn again and again, is not about fitting my body into the idealised shape of a perfect pose. It’s about meeting my body and my heart just as they are – flawed, fragile, and glorious.” 

3. Rid yourself of comparison, “the thief of joy”. 

Relinquish all the ways you have compared yourself to others over the years, and embrace your perfect imperfections once and for all. Sharon Stone put it like this, “You have to sit down and take a good look at yourself, particularly as you grow older and your face changes. People are afraid of changing; that they’re losing something. They don’t understand that they are also gaining something.”

4. Conserve your energy and develop the wisdom to know how your energy is best spent. 

Oprah Winfrey shared her own views on this when she said, “So many women I’ve talked to see menopause as an ending. But I’ve discovered this is your moment to reinvent yourself after years of focusing on the needs of everyone else. It’s your opportunity to get clear about what matters to you and then to pursue that with all of your energy, time and talent.”

5. Let go of the need to look a certain way, fulfil a certain role, and please certain people. 

Reassess what and who has true value in your life. Whoopi Goldberg put it fabulously when she said, “All of a sudden I don’t mind saying to people, ‘You know what? Get out of my life. You’re not right for me.’ It’s wonderful and liberating.”

6. Purify your mind and body via the means of gentle posture, breath, and other mind-body practices, shed all the BS from your mind and life, and clean up your diet. 

This is essential in weathering – and furthermore embracing – the huge hormonal shifts. Michelle Obama spoke of the great power that can be discovered in menopause when she said “The changes, the highs and lows and the hormonal shifts, there is power in that. But we were taught to be ashamed of it and to not even seek to understand it or explore it for our own edification, let alone to help the next generation.”

7. Appreciate what you have, and find freedom in the humility to relinquish what you don’t. 

Caroline Carr, author of: Menopause, the Guide for Real Women, reminds us, “The very best way that you can help yourself is to develop and sustain a positive attitude. The way you think and feel about everything will make all the difference to your experience.” 

8. Cultivate the discipline to show up for yourself in the ways that you truly need, and in the aspects of your life that are worth showing up for. 

Patti Labelle said, “Here’s what I know: I’m a better person at fifty than I was at forty-eight … and better at fifty-two than I was at fifty. I’m calmer, easier to live with. All this stuff is in my soul forever. Just don’t get lazy. Work at your relationships all the time. Take care of friendships, hold people you love close to you, take advantage of birthdays to celebrate fiercely. It’s the worrying—not the years themselves—that will make you less of a woman.” 

9. Embrace your newfound wisdom. 

Nurture the new wisdom that comes with the rollercoaster of menopause. You have spent half a lifetime finding yourself, sonow – as the poet In-Q puts it – find yourself as you unbind yourself from all that defines you. You have been through a hell of a lot to get where you are today, and that is wisdom that no amount of money, fame, or status can buy. Sigourney Weaver told it like it is when she said “When you’re young, there’s so much that you can’t take it in. It’s pouring over you like a waterfall. When you’re older, it’s less intense, but you’re able to reach out and drink it. I love being older.”

10. Devote yourself to the things that truly matter, and surrender the things of youth with grace and equanimity. 

Because,as Morgan Harper Nichols once said, “One day you will look back and realise all along that you were blooming.” 

If you have hit the brick wall of menopause – grappling with symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, loss of libido, general irritability, fluid retention, brain fog, mysterious muscle & joint pain including loss of strength & flexibility, nervous system meltdown including anxiety and depression, digestive issues including weight fluctuation and irregular bowel – and are seeking support and practical tools to get you through what can be a derailing time of life for many women, join me for one of my upcoming masterclasses on yoga for peri menopause & menopause.

Yoga for peri-menopause and menopause is a 2 hour workshop of conversation, meditative movement and yoga asana, with time for sangha, tea and treats at the end. 

Suitable for women preparing for, or moving through the change of life

As a long time practitioner of yoga, and a woman who has battled the beast of menopause, I’d love you to join me as I share personal insights and my approach to moving through – what can feel like for many women – the overwhelming tunnel of menopause. 

Tanaya Ti en

Tanaya Ti en

When she’s not at home in Western Australia with her favourite humans, Florence the Dalmatian, and Turbo the rescue cat, Tanaya Ti’en is an accredited Yoga Therapist and Yoga Teacher, Ayurvedic Lifestyle Coach, Civil Celebrant, and founder of Mind Body Collective Australia. Her passion, work, and philosophy is centred around the mind-body connection, and the mind’s role in illness, wellness, dis-ease, and the healing process.