Luckily in the last years this topic got more alertness and focus on the media & in society – even though there is still a long way to go. But what does it mean?
Woman or every person who is menstruating, is a cyclic being and there is so much power in this cycle, which you are probably not fully aware of yet. In yogic philosophy this female energy within us – no matter if we identify ourselves as female or not – is called Shakti energy. There is always a balance between Shakti and Shiva. Shakti is the creative force, the force responsible for creating, transforming, creating new life, and connecting to our intuition. The balance between Shiva and Shakti is a unity between consciousness and energy, between cosmic energy and spiritual energy, between and male and female.
In our western patriarchal society, we live in a male-driven energy: better, faster, higher.
We are conditioned to fully on, ready to improve, being always present, have the same full-on energy every day (sun energy) – if not lots of people take medication, energy drinks, caffeine etc. to compensate. You know the stories…the pressure, the comparing, the judging that comes with it. If we identify life like this, we see it a very linear structure – always moving higher and faster.
But if we understand that life works in cycles, in different seasons like we see it in nature, with the moon (lunar energy), with our menstruation – connecting back to the moon cycle within and around us, then we can use this superpower to gain back connections towards us and for a life in balance.
If you have a menstrual cycle, this cycle can also be defined by the four seasons – winter, spring, summer, and autumn – every month.
When I was younger and having my first menstruations, probably like most young people, I was hiding it. I was wearing extra-long jumpers and I was embarrassed. Exchanging menstrual products between friends was like exchanging dangerous drugs, keeping it all very secretive. Back then I and we were not understanding our own superpower. What do I mean with that?
If we relearn and except that we are cyclic beings, that we are living in cycles – we can use each phase in a profound way to fully express and respect ourselves – like the women hundreds of years ago.
If we focus on our menstrual cycle, the first day you start bleeding is day 1. It is our own cyclic winter (approx. 1-7 days). The time to rest, to recharge. It´s time to pull back. Inviting integration, practicing letting go and making space to turn the gaze inwards – a period of working less and resting more. Spending more time by yourself. On a physical level the perfect time for soft movement, going for cozy walks and practicing yin yoga. Like winter itself: it’s time to store the energy for the next spring to arrive. This season invites us to listen to our own need and we can learn that we don’t have to always 100 % perform. And that’s ok!
Spring is the time of waking up, noticing that the energy is slowly coming back. Feeling more active again – also on a physical level. On a hormonal level or estrogen is rising, which supports you coming out of your save cocoon. The follicular phase (approx. 7-10 days): a new start, time to flourish, to start new projects, to be creative and to move things into action. If we take good rest in our winter, spring will be joyful, and we can really feel this energy shift. If we are not allowing ourselves enough rest in our cyclic winter, we will probably feel it in the cyclic spring.
And after spring comes summer (approx. 3-5 days) – the time of ovulation. We feel in our full strength, open to connect & communicate to people, to socialize. We are in our full power, and in our abundance of creating. The time of fertility. We feel joyful and on a hormone level our estrogen and testosterone are high. Now we can push ourselves a little harder, practice HIIT workouts, power yoga etc.
Followed by autumn (approx. 10-14 days), the luteal phase, it´s time of harvesting the fruits of summer and slowly preparing to rest again. The dominating hormone now is progesterone, which activates our metabolism and fat burning, so we might feel hungrier and craving certain comfort food. It’s the time that invites us to calm down and get cuddly at home. We might fell more emotional than usual and people with hormonal disbalance might suffer with PMS. Also, headache and chest ache can appear in this period. Now we are invited to pull a little back, to get focused, giving space for our emotions preparing for winter.
If we understand and listen to the needs in each cycle, we can gain back our own power. We can live a life in balance and flow. Your menstrual cycle is not a sign of weakness, it´s your superpower! Understanding it a as act of self-love and self-acceptance. Isn´t it amazing that all those processes happen within us, every month?
To explore and understand each phase, I recommend keeping a diary on each day.
How do you feel?
What are your needs?
What supports you?
What are challenges?
Do it for a few months and then you can probably discover certain patterns and appearances.
What can support you, too, are yoga, breath work, certain herbs, and nutrition & seed cycling.
Estes, Clarissa Pinkola: Woman Who Run With The Wolfs
Gray, Mianda: Red Moon
Hill, Maisie: Period Power
Haselmayr, Andrea; Rosenberger, Denise; Haselmayr, Verena: Eat like a woman
The amazing work of Deria Frank ¬– I did an online Hormon Yoga course with her last year and can highly recommend it.