The key of the menopause and post-menopause journey to stay healthy, balanced and fit is to exercise almost every day, I would say between four days or five days a week. It is more efficient to have a regular practice with short daily sessions (30 minutes to an hour per session) versus fewer and longer sessions. Consistency is everything! Build over time and after twenty one days, this daily practice will become fully part of your lifestyle and the key stone of your physical and emotional well-being. I am sorry to say, but you need to create time in your schedule, wake up earlier or take a break at lunch, or anything that works best for you. There are no short cuts if you want to alleviate menopause symptoms, stay lean and toned. Commitment and self-discipline are keys. It take 21 days to establish a new habit, so stick to it, if you fall off the wagon, come back to practice!
Yoga is your ally. Choose the right practice and the right teacher!
As a 47 years-old woman and yoga teacher going through the journey, I recommend yoga as the backbone of your practice for a zillion of reasons. Among the benefits of yoga, I would mention flexibility, stamina, bone and fascia health, hormones and mood swing regulations, to name a few. Please practice under the supervision of a seasoned and experienced yoga teacher. Don’t go to those commercial studios with undertrained teachers with only 200 hours of yoga training under their belt, inexistent yoga anatomy knowledge, and no understanding of what menopause is. Choose a teacher in your age group who knows what you are going through, a teacher who has a serious knowledge of alignment, yoga clinics, or yoga therapy. I recommend Iyengar Yoga of course, because this is the lineage I know the most, but they are great experienced teachers in many lineages Choose a teacher with whom you can practice a safe and intelligent yoga. Be wise!
Diversify your workouts. Choose low impact exercises.
The decline of estrogen during the menopause process creates a decrease in muscle mass and strength, so it is really important that you practice low impact strengthening and cardio activities with weight and resistance band. In your lates 40’s and in your 50’s, practices like pilates, barre, and core fusion are your best options. Because the decrease in estrogen cause inflammations in your joints and weakens your bones, you need to choose low impact activities versus aggressive high impact workouts.
Menopause is a bumpy ride that invites you to reflect and take care of your Self. Think holistic and reorganize your life to take care of your body-mind-spirit. You are changing, and there is no turning back. Menopause ain’t no fun. Don’t let yourself go. You can do it.
An amazing wild’n wise new you is waiting for you on the other side.
Sonia Ratto is an experienced RYT yoga instructor, life coach, and Reiki master.
Sonia has studied and trained with Iyengar and Ashtanga Master teachers in Asia, India, and Europe. Dedicated to help women move gracefully through menopause, Sonia’s teaching is approachable and non-dogmatic, authentic, joyful and vibrant, with a focus on alignment and self-inquiry. Sonia is French and lives in the Sonoran desert, near Tucson, AZ. Discover more: www.soniaratto.com
It took me 47 years to understand my self worth and what self-love really means. I have always wondered » How do you love yourself? ». For some people it is obvious but for some people like me who’ve been constantly told they were not enough, or not loveable if they were not accomplishing something, it’s a foreign concept, a struggle and a long healing journey. Life experiences in the last few weeks have literally opened my eyes. Here are some wisdom about self-love I’d like to pass.
Wisdom #1 : Stop beating up on yourself
Stop beating up on yourself when you screw and repeat a pattern over and over, there is no mistake, only life lessons, and sometimes we have to repeat a pattern for years and decades before really getting it.
Wisdom #2: Where do you put your energy?
Money is energy. Time is energy. Where do you put your energy right now? Ask yourself the question and you’d be surprised by the insights you’ll get.
Wisdom # 3 : Stop being nice.
Stop being a people pleaser, stop being nice. I am not saying you should not be kind or compassionate. I am saying « Set up your boundaries and say no » to people and situations that do not serve you or make you uncomfortable. Just walk away. Listen to your inner voice and your instincts. Very often, the time we spend to please people, or help people is subconsciously a diversion strategy to avoid taking care of ourselves aka doing the things we love, spending time with the people who really count, focusing on projects and dreams that turn us on.
Wisdom # 4 : It’s a journey.
Falling in love with yourself is a journey and an everyday day process. Sometimes we forget, we bump into situations and people, and then we remember.
My grandmother passed away last night at 92. She was not in my life anymore. I loved her when I was a child. I had today waves of bitter and sweet emotions, an interesting mix of wonderful memories, and painful family dramas. I could have done meditation or yoga, instead, I did what lots of Americans do when they are sad, I went to Target and did shopping therapy. What I will remember from my maternal grandparents is their challenging life and labor, their escape from the Spanish civil war and poverty in Spain, their crossing of the Pyrenees mountains on foot with 2 luggages, and how they had to start a new life from scratch in France, with the stigma of Spanish emigrants.
Even if I do not agree with some of the behaviors and attitudes of my grandmother, I want to honor my ancestors, the traumas they’ve been through, their courage to overcome terrible odds.
Honoring our ancestors whether we liked them or not, felt close to them or not, is a way to break free and be at peace with all our lineage. It is important to remember where you are coming from, maybe more than knowing where you are going.
Today was a good day. This weekend I chill and work on my zen garden. Today was a good day. I got hired full-time by an awesome super creative agency in Denver that values my skills and appreciates me. After working 2 months and a half for them, they said I was killing it. It feels good. It is one of my best days of the COVID era, today and the day I decided « Fuck Covid. I move to Tucson to live in a tiny house in the desert ». Eight years ago, I was living in Paris in a shoebox and taking the underground every day to go to work. It was grey sky and rainy for 300 days. Three years ago, I was buried in snow in Denver. Today, I live in the desert where it is sunny all year long and the lowest temperature is 15 degrees celsius aka 50 F. I switched gear in 8 years. Less than a decade.
I am the living proof you can follow your dream and live the life you love. I haven’t been lucky, I worked my ass off and I had really shitty moments of despair. I mean really shitty. But I dit it. I never gave up.
Today, I was proud to tell my parents that at 47 years-old, I was happy and proud of myself. I may not have money in the bank, but I am so rich in experiences and life lessons. I owe no money, I live on my terms and the friends I have are for life. This feels good. I mean really good.
Today, I came to the realization that I was exhausted. I have been working a lot recently, taking on a lot of tasks, helping people around me, having 3 days in one. In the middle of this, I deal with a move to another place, In parallel, I deal with perimenopause too. Oh! and there is Covid… and I need to do my taxes too.
I am burnt out. I am exhausted and overwhelmed.
I am a giver, I give constantly to other people, my energy and my money. I give to others because I feel they deserve more than me, they come first. But who is taking care of me? I struggle to say no and set up boundaries. I struggle to receive because I feel I owe. I work a lot, give a lot and then I burn out and need to retrieve. It’s a cycle. Why am I dealing constantly with this repetitive pattern? At least, now I am a little bit more aware than a few years ago. I see myself doing it. It is so ingrained in my subconscious. I give probably because I have been taught that I needed to give in a limitless way in order to be loved. This thing runs in my Spanish family where women need to do everything with this dramatic sense of sacrifice. Life has really an interesting way to point us in the right direction. Yesterday, I did a podcast about Balance and Unbalance with the wild and wise Cindy Haxel, a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner. I was so not in the best mental space to do this interview-). I was so out of Balance.
I realized how much I was tired because of my language defaults when interviewing Cindy. When I start spiraling in my thoughts, repeating myself and saying » You know » and « Like » in each sentence, it means that I have reached my burnout tipping point. My streaming on internet was shit when I did this interview. I had to remove me from the screen because I was constantly freezing. I feel so frustrated by the interview because it is not as perfect as I wanted it to be. I guess I have to let that go too. I am learning. I would like to make progress in my listening and speaking skills. Cindy was brilliant, so calm and articulated (kinda of the opposite of me). Her interview and her energy helped me to become more aware and take action to re-establish self-care and balance in my circle. I hope you will find some interest in this interview despite my technical difficulties. Thank you so much Cindy for shining your light upon me and upon us. Cindy’s last words in the interview were:
« Be Gentle with your Self. Don’t Fight reality. Balance is a Journey. »
Cindy Haxel – Licensed acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner – Golden, CO.
A new chapter in the book of my life has started, the journey in the Sonoran desert.
The journey started with a dream. The dream that one day I will have my own land in the desert. My project is to create a yoga retreat named « Arizona Desert Yoga ». My dream is to create a peaceful and nurturing place, with a few alternative living housing and a beautiful yoga studio, in the Sonoran desert. So in the middle of the Covid pandemic, in July 2020, I decided to buy a RV and move to Tucson. Just to be clear, RV life was totally foreign to me. Never had a RV before. Never lived in a RV. Never experienced living in a RV park. The plan was to 1) Get a job in Tucson 2) Renovate the RV, tiny house style and 3) Either live a RV park or find a land to rent for my RV, for the next 3 years to save money.
RV lesson I
Renovating a RV in which you are currently living in is a big challenge
Renovating a RV in which you are currently living is a big challenge. Lots of people renovate their RV before living in it. Very wise! I did not have the choice, I had to start my RV reno while living in it. I have a 27 feet long / 150 sf RV. That’s not big. This is very challenging cos’ you need to move things around constantly. Make space here and paint here, then move things around to paint there and so on. Get ready to leave a few paint stains here and there. Even if you are very careful with your paint, it is gonna be messy. You are going to clean a lot. In the oil base phase, buy a lot of eco-friendly oil thinners (avoid thinners with chemicals, there are good eco-friendly options now on the market). I will do a special post about painting a RV. That is a story in itself, believe me.
Renovating a RV in the summer in the Arizona desert is f***ing hard.
Avoid starting your renovation in July or August, when it is freaking hot. I did it and will not recommend it to my worse enemy. It is horrible, if you want your AC, you need to paint with closed doors which is not ideal in a small space, because of the toxicity of the paint. If you decide to avoid the intoxication and turn the ac off, then you basically paint in a can where it is 120F. I must say that at this stage of the process, I was drinking lots of IPA beers to survive this.
Renovating a RV in an empty RV park in the summer is not that doable.
Yes the RV park is empty because it is too f***cking hot in the summer here, and all the old snowbirds are not here (They would literally die with those temperatures). So you can make noise and paint a few items outside your RV, but there are park regulations and you cannot start big projects like using a paint spray outside to paint all your cabinet doors. I had to drive 3 hours to a friend house with my cabinets doors and stay in his place for the week-end to do my cabinet doors. You need a serious amount of motivation to go through that shit.
I am tenacious, so I decided to continue my renovation. Because despite the obstacles, the results are encouraging, I have a vision. Stay tuned.