The Chakras and The Menopause
Understanding the chakras to support menopause. By Ceri Lee
Reading time: 4 minutes
Menopause can be a time of crisis in body, mind and soul. The body is changing, we are ageing and faced with our mortality. For many women, menopause can turn life upside down. It certainly did for me.
I was 48 when unexpectedly told I needed a hysterectomy. Shakily walking back to the car park after the appointment, I sat in the car and sobbed, trying to process the impending extraction of the main organs that determine a biological woman.
Post-surgery, overnight I was thrown into menopause. There was no time to process the biological changes, menopause hit me hard and fast.
Over the coming months my personality and body changed. Becoming reclusive, gaining weight, and with mounting health problems, I had to dig deep and remember the true essence of yoga — that is, union, including that which is within. Having spent many years working with chakra energy, attention was drawn even more closely to the energetic body in yoga. To connect with the essence of my femininity and make sense of these biological changes on a deeper level, to find meaning in this next stage of life.
What does this really mean? If we are to journey through the self to find the self, we must accept that we are more than just our physical body. The yogic scriptures describe the body as having three parts:
- physical body (material)
• subtle/astral body (energy)
• causal/seed body (soul)
As the physical body starts to change in menopause, the seed of our soul, our essence of self may be called to express itself. Tapping into our energy body and learning how to release trapped energy through chakra awareness can aid us on our journey.
What are chakras?
“One can think of the chakras and glands as electrical transformers which will deliver maximum power if they are balanced with respect to each other.” — Jeffery Mishlove
The chakras are pranic/vital energy storehouses in the subtle body, responsible for establishing physical, emotional and spiritual balance in the body. The chakra system originated in India before 500BC and is found in the oldest spiritual text called the Vedas. There are said to be 114 chakras around the subtle body, with seven principal chakras running from the base of the spine to the top of the head. They are responsible for specific energetic qualities and integral to the free flow of vital energy stored in the chakras.
Likened to a spinning wheel of light, and revolving in accordance with the laws of electromagnetism, modern investigation has confirmed that the light emanating from these chakras changes according to the health of a person. Light dims when chakras are blocked for reasons such as an injury, illness, past trauma, or the chronic manifestation of unhelpful habits built up over the years.
Like a house, strong foundations are as vital as the design and finer features. In the same way, each chakra is valid and relevant to the overall functioning of the body. The lower chakras affect our relation to the material world and our quest within in this world, whereas the upper chakras relate to our spiritual self. For a healthy body and mind, we need all chakras to be clear of any blockages.
How chakras are integral to the physical functioning of the body
The seven principal chakras align with nerve plexuses in the spinal cord starting at the base of the spine and moving up to the top of the head. Each chakra also aligns with a gland organ in the endocrine system that secretes chemical messengers in response to emotional and stress responses triggered in the nervous system.
When either the physical or energetic body is disturbed, there is a reactional response in the corresponding body. If you experience a severe shock or tragedy in life the hormonal activity is increased to help the mind recover from the shock, and if left unattended, can lead to pathological conditions in the body.
Yoga practice strengthens the various glands in the endocrine system and helps to release strong emotions through concentration and relaxation, whilst alleviating some physical symptoms.
For example, the adrenal gland aligns with the root chakra, Muladhara, which responds to fear, anger or passion causing a faster heartbeat and pressure on the heart. Since the physical and subtle bodies are so intricately linked, in practicing grounding physical asanas and pranayama, the relaxation response is activated, relieving the pressure offset from the adrenals to calm and benefit the entire body.
Why is chakra awareness particularly helpful during midlife?
Connecting with chakra energy can help you rediscover who you are, what you want and how to reach it. Something that may draw your attention more in midlife.
According to the Vedic Treaties Chakravidya, our life moves in sevenyear cycles corresponding with the seven chakras. So that by age 50, we have completed the seven-year developmental cycles of the chakras. Which means we have full potential to free ourselves from the self-inflicted constructs of the mind, align with our soul purpose and experience samadhi (illumination). The seven principle chakras, similar to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, represent the psychological and spiritual needs within the human psyche and are the basis of human behavioural motivation. Unblocking the chakras enables energy to run freely bringing harmony to mind, body, and soul.
In midlife we reach a crossroads…
Our life is not over. In a way it has just begun! But, if we are to enjoy a happy, healthy journey as we age, we must come to terms with changes in our body and mind with time to digest our life lessons and experiences.
When most of our basic needs are met, midlife can be a time of profound transformational growth; where in becoming aligned to our higher purpose in life there is possibility to manifest our deepest desires in the material world.
Adapting to the changes in our physical body by leading a healthier lifestyle, devoting time to self-care and healing past traumas, develops a strong and resistant mind and body. Clearing the energetic body of blockages restores the physical body with vitality. And when renewed, can lead us into an empowered future full of opportunity and possibility.