Flowing with Your Flow: Pairing Your Practice with Your Period
Calling all female yogis!!!
Note: This is good information to know even if you aren’t a woman or a yogi … a guide to better connect with your partner or friend!
Have you ever started your practice chilling in child pose and feel like that’s about the only pose that you want to do for the whole class?
Orrr have you have been diligently attempting to stick that handstand and find it more difficult than usual … you can’t focus, you feel exhausted and your body just doesn’t want to invert??
I think we have all been there.
But the question is – what is your decision after that asana? What do you tell yourself? Do you push through, or do you create space for rest?
Sometimes, our ego-centered and asana-focused ways can get in the way of us listening to what we truly need. We sometimes can’t distinguish the difference between when we are pushing ourselves to our edge, and when we are pushing ourselves over the cliff. And this isn’t the fun cliff jumping. I mean the cliff falling … the suffering, through physical, mental and spiritual turmoil.
I had to learn this through my own high-achieving and perfectionist ways. Our society communicates that we need to fill our schedules, our houses, and our bodies with stuff … mindlessly without stopping to take a breath. What I used to call self-discipline … was self-destruction. When I didn’t know how to deal with my stress and anxiety, I would try to control what I could – my diet and my body. I would push through boot camps and eating a diet that didn’t suite my body’s needs, leading to nutrient deficiencies, an absent period for years, an eating disorder , a mess of emotions and a lack of consciousness.
I have used yoga as a healing modality, and a way to reconnect with my body, mind and higher purpose. More specifically, yoga has been a way to reconnect to my core power as a woman through building my strength, bypassing my fear and allowing me to balance both on my head and my hormonal moods.
Stabilizing our menstrual cycles is critical in feeling our best, and allowing us to pour our beautiful feminine energy onto others. Through my journey of meditation, doing yoga on the daily, and becoming more conscious of my emotions, my perspective and my interactions in my relationships, I have learned so much about listening to the needs of my body and knowing when it is okay to surrender and be gentle and kind to myself. This has allowed me to step back and truly understand my intuitive gifts as an empath and aligning with positive energy, a sound mind, and a grateful heart.
So how do we better listen to our bodies if we aren’t sure of its signals? Well, I have a few guidelines (I call them guidelines, because every BODY is different … do what works for you!) for us feminine soul sisters who want to honor our bodies and give it the juicy yoga-love it needs!
Phase 1 – Follicular Phase – 7-10 Days
The follicular phase of your cycle is the end of your period and the beginning of your next cycle. This is a time when you feel outgoing, upbeat, active and ready to take on new situations with excitement and curiosity.
During this phase, don’t be afraid to get creative in your flow, and try poses that challenge you. Pushing past your fear and exploring deeper levels of your practice is a good idea around this time. Try a different class, a different studio or a different teacher to gain a new and fresh perspective on your practice.
Phase 2 – Ovulatory Phase – 3-4 Days
The ovulatory phase is when you crave to engage in community and conversation, as you feel deeply connected to those around you. You have an abundance of energy and feel confident in voicing your opinions, thoughts and feelings with ease. This is a time to try a little power Vinyasa flow, and release all that energy that is firing you up!
During this phase, reaching your edge is encouraged! Don’t be afraid to dive deep into your fullest expressions of your poses, and be fully engaged and active in your breath and in your OM’s. Participate in singing circles, Kirtan, sound ceremonies, and dance to honor the moon and get wild in your Kundalini practice as you pour out your love and vibrant energy on others.
Phase 3 – Luteal Phase – 10-14 Days
What goes up … must come down. You will begin to find yourself wanting alone time, and seeking comfort, while also wanting to be productive such as engaging in completing your to-do list and getting your chores done. This is a good time to purge … your closets, your desk, and especially your emotions. Taking a longer time meditating and less time in asana might serve you best during this phase, especially when PMS symptoms such as bloating, headaches, anxiety and moodiness set in.
A Kundalini practice may also help to keep you grounded and centered as you focus on your breath of fire and tune within. A restorative class such as Yin or one that encourages legs up the wall might help with uncomfortable symptoms and make you feel balanced and rested.
Phase 4 – Menstrual Phase – 3-7 Days
Get your Yin on. You are at your most grounded state, and should avoid any inversions that prevent your blood flow from moving in the other direction. Restorative classes are your best friend during this phase. Feel free to include poses like reclined goddess pose (Supta Baddha Konasana) and seated forward fold (Paschimottanasana) into your practice to reset and revitalize your body and mind. This is not a time to push anywhere near your edge (or cliff for that matter) … self-care and self-love is vital during this phase.
Slowing down during this time, and saying no to events in your life might honor your body best during your flow. Take time for reflection, relaxation and quietness and be intentional in setting boundaries on any intense exercise or activity that expend your already depleted energy.
So for those of you who have a female yogi in your life, I hope you know better how to serve, love and honor their special feminine gift. I know every person is different and experiences their cycles differently, however, this guide is a good reminder that we can be intentional in how we set up our lifestyle, our yoga practice and our meditation practice to thrive in our health and truly listen to our mind, body and spirit in order to be the best and highest versions of ourselves.
Peace & Love,
Jill is a health enthusiast passionate about holistic living through being conscious of the mind, body and spirit connection. She is a free-spirited veggie-loving yogi that loves any kind of adventure that comes her way, whether that is rock climbing, paddle boarding, waterfall rappelling, cliff jumping or learning a new inversion. She finds balance and inspiration in her happy place of being in nature and swimming in the ocean. She ensures that everything she does is in alignment with her truth – to have a grateful and vulnerable heart in order to live in a positive and light filled way.
Connect with her on instagram @theveggievillager and read more about her health and yoga journey at www.theveggievillager.com