Last month we delved into how to cultivate a more empowered and positive menstruation experience. That menstrual experience doesn’t stop when the bleeding does. Your menstruation cycle, in fact, is ever-present. Let’s take a look at phase two of the menstrual cycle, gaining more awareness of our persistent cyclical nature and how to ride the waves, rather than be crushed by them.

After the active bleeding phase of your menstrual cycle, which usually lasts between three and seven days, you enter the follicular phase, which lasts for about nine days. This phase is also known as the maiden phase.
Why is that? Well, after the bleeding stops, your pituitary gland releases a hormone called the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). This then stimulates the follicles in your ovaries (which contain your eggs) to mature. Estrogen and testosterone begin to rise.

So, why exactly is it referred to as the maiden phase, then? Well, with the rise of estrogen and testosterone, feelings of confidence and sexiness ensue. During this time, you may find it easier to be assertive, and you may feel more willing to take risks. Testosterone stimulates your libido and you may enjoy a more flirtatious version of yourself. Estrogen may bring out your extroverted side and suppress your appetite. Feelings related to self-sufficiency are likely to arise.The increasing testosterone and estrogen will also improve your brain function, so this time is perfect for brainstorming, planning and problem-solving. A very enjoyable maiden energy takes charge!

Great! How can you be sure to reap the benefits that the follicular phase has to offer? Squeeze the most out of this refreshing and enlivening time by initiating new projects and making big decisions. Further use this phase to your advantage by dedicating your schedule to work meetings and social events. Perhaps schedule that date night that you weren’t up to last week.

In addition to these emotional shifts, be ready to embrace your rising energy. Notice how productive activities and more strenuous exercise will feel increasingly good. Venture back into your exercise regime as you feel ready to, but be mindful of not overdoing it. It can be easy to let excitement at this rediscovered energy propel you to over schedule and overexert yourself. Doing that will only exhaust and deplete you, though, which you likely felt enough of during menstruation last week!
Lastly, and maybe most excitingly, how can you honor this phase in your yoga practice? Begin the phase with some grounding and strong Hatha sequences, then move into a more invigorating Vinyasa flow practice during the second half of this phase. If you enjoy practicing to music, consider something upbeat to practice to. Allow yourself to move within your asanas to the music, embracing the light-hearted and curious maiden energy that lives within you…both on the mat and off!