What if I told you that there was a rhythm to the chaos of a woman? That the ups and downs of the emotional roller coaster woman is so known for was really more of a spiral, ever-changing but predictable? And that, with a little bit of attention and patience, you could actually learn to predict and understand this ever-changing feminine experience? What’s more, you could apply this insightful knowledge to every aspect of your life: social, romantic, professional, athletic, energetic… Imagine the feelings of clarity and control that you could cultivate!
Well ladies, there is a method to our madness. Let’s take a closer look at something we often like to think of as a “once a month” phenomenon: menstruation. The term “menstruation” refers to the days that a woman is actively bleeding (usually days 1 through 3 or 7) out of the bigger, monthly picture of our “menstruation cycle.” During menstruation, the uterine lining sheds and progesterone levels plunge. This shift leads to changes energetically, physically, mentally and emotionally. Menstruation has gotten a bad rap, and understandably. With it can come grief/sadness, brain fog, lethargy and fatigue, not to mention the physical discomforts some women experience such as cramps, headache, backache, etc. Menstruation is hard!
The first step towards a more empowered menstrual cycle is anticipation. Get into the habit of tracking your cycle. You can simply draw a moon or label a tiny “P” on the days of your calendar that you bleed. Do this for a few months and then go back and count the length of your cycle. From there you can do some simple addition to figure out when your future cycles might be. There are also free phone apps (I use “Flo”) that are simple to use and do all the work for you.
The second step towards your more empowered, more collected menstrual experience is preparation. Now that you know what happens, why it happens, and when it happens, it’s in your power to facilitate how it happens. Set yourself up for a more comfortable week! Get out your planner and schedule a work-from-home day or a half-day on the first day of bleeding. If that is not possible, try to fit in a long lunch, an early bed-time, or a solitary walk in nature. Check that the week of menstruation is clear of late-nights or big social obligations. Bring a book to read on your work breaks, rather than pressuring yourself to socialize. Avoid that extra sweaty power yoga class this week, instead opting to catch the restorative yoga class or a meditation class. Take care to plan the week’s meals ahead of time, set the kid’s up with a movie and draw yourself a bath, get creative with this self-nurturance!
Keep a special journal, just for menstruation, and record your insights. Note what works for you and what doesn’t, and refer back to these insights when planning future menstrual weeks. You will thank yourself for it, and so will your loved ones. Notice how the positive effects of just a little extra attention in this area of your life can bleed into so many other areas of life. Your energy throughout the entire month can benefit from taking the rest your body needs while bleeding. Your relationships will benefit from preemptively designating some sacred solitude during this time. Your emotions will sustain more ease and your mind more clarity.
How wonderful that the power to shift our feminine experience from being the victim of our emotions to being empowered within our cycle is in our hands! Yoga is so much more than your asana practice. Live a yogi lifestyle by better honoring your human nature. Soak up the self-love when you menstruate next, and begin to enjoy having something to look forward to rather than dread.