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Tai chi and Menopause

Tai chi (ti-CHE) is sometimes described as "meditation in motion." Originally developed in China as a form of self-defense, this graceful form of exercise has existed for about 2,000 years. It's becoming increasingly popular around the world, both as a basic exercise program and as a complement to other health care methods. Health benefits include stress reduction, greater balance and increased flexibility - especially for older adults.

The idea that life and sex goes downhill after menopause is rapidly becoming an obsolete notion. We all know women who are 'looking good' and doing things unheard of a generation ago. I went to see Cher perform on her 60th Birthday; she looked phenomenal. And "Go Tina!" I think a lot of women are happy about living longer, but lets face it, who wants to live forever without the goodies? (Like having sex and juiciness and lovers in your 70's and 80's.) Why not?

If you look around, it's already starting to happen. If you watch movies from 20 years ago, you wont see many black men or women in leading roles or having great sex scenes. Today, some of the most gorgeous stars are Black, Oriental, or Hispanic. In just a short time, our sense of who we find attractive has changed greatly. The image of women aging beautifully is changing too. Stunning older women are appearing everywhere. There are more female CEO's and top execs over 50 in major companies than ever before- and they are not wearing boring black suits. Slowly, more women are emerging not only as leaders, they are coming out as beautiful and feminine ones as well.

Since I have been talking about 'stars', we all know many of them are prone to doing whatever it takes to look young- including surgery, diets, trainers, make up, face lifts, and the gamut. We want our stars to look great, or we won't go to their movies. So what can we non-movie stars do to join the trend of looking and feeling great as we approach menopause? Better yet, what can we do that won't cost thousands of dollars or require surgery? Plenty!

Today, we as women must not only say or believe we can have a better life; we need to actually have the energy to do it. While it's true we are living longer, far too many women still suffer from exhaustion, weight gain, and a loss of libido after menopause or as it approaches. While its helpful to have a good attitude about the changes our body goes through, positive beliefs do little to alleviate the very real symptoms many women experience. In order to enjoy an energetic menopause filled with vitality and health,

Women must make some clear changes in the way they utilize their energy throughout the month.

A Feminine Cycle
Starting from an early age women are taught to be strong, and move along with the schedule everyone else is following. Wanting to function as well as males, or better than them, women train themselves to ignore the natural cycles of their bodies.

Each day of the month a woman's energy level rises or falls in a predictable pattern. As she comes closer to releasing blood, her energy descends, and afterwards her energy begins to rise again. Unfortunately, many appreciate their cycles only when they are coming to an end. Many women I have spoken with who no longer menstruate say they miss their cycles more than anything. Although our cycles do change after menopause, women still go through natural rises and falls of energy, even after menopause. The following principles apply to any female regardless of age.

The Tai Chi of Menstruation
Most people think of Tai Chi (that exercise Chinese people do in the parks) as gentle and dance-like. While it looks gentle, in practice it makes you quite strong and healthy. In Tai Chi, you learn to playfully go with an opponent's energy without any tension in your body, and then use their momentum to change his or her direction away from you. How does this apply to menstruation? A woman can learn to go with her energy, and then change its direction so that she does not lose any energy during menstruation.

The first step of going with your feminine cycle during a month is to notice the rises and falls of your energy throughout the course of a month. When you notice your energy dip, slow down. When you notice you have more energy, go with it, but don't over do it. When you learn to move with these waves, rather than against them, instead of feeling fatigue, you will actually gain energy every time you menstruate.

This one simple action, of slowing down and being deliberately calm during menstruation, if carried out consciously and consistently, can ease discomfort, irritability and greatly reduce the loss of energy each month.

Some women have taken the essential first step of viewing their menstruation as something uniquely feminine as opposed to something to be ashamed of. The next step is to learn how to design a lifestyle that follows the course of your natural cycles: resting before and during menstruation, allowing your energy to restore itself, and then being more active and creative after your menses are complete.

Allowing yourself to follow your feminine cycle over time is one of the best ways to invigorate the libido. The reason for this is simple to understand. A lifetime pattern of going against your energy, of ignoring when the body naturally wants to rest,
means that eventually when you do want to be sexy or creative you will have used up your reserves of energy.

If you want to know how to enjoy an energetic menopause, or you want to feel your cycles again, you cannot start early enough, and of course it's never too late.

Whatever you do, be kind, gentle and compassionate with yourself life and others.


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