Yoga For Each Stage of Your Monthly Cycle
Just like we have seasons in the year, as women, we also have seasons within our bodies. Have you ever wondered why you feel so energised just a few days after your period? Or so tired a few days leading up to menstruation? This blog article will explain why, and also how you can adapt your yoga practice (and the pace of life in general) to compliment the season you are in.
Spring starts just after menstruation finishes. You will have a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm for life, perhaps a fresh perspective. Your creativity will be at it’s peak. This is due to the rise in the hormone oestrogen (which is at its lowest during your period) which will boost your mood, energy and patience.
This week is a good week to start new projects, have a big spring clean, go on a hike and get out and about and socialise! Also a good time to eat iron rich foods to make up for blood loss during menstruation.
Your yoga practice may be more active. Perhaps a vinyasa or core strengthening class would suit your boundless energy. It’s a good week to work on your strength as well. Perhaps stay a bit longer in your planks and warriors!
Oestrogen and the good feelings that come with it continue rise, right up until the end of week 2, when ovulation occurs. Testosterone also rises in the later part of this week, making us braver, more competitive and more up for a challenge.
This is the time we will feel the best! We will feel sexier, have more of a glow about us and still have a good amount of energy. This is when we are at our most fertile.. and nature gets us vibing high so that we are more likely to get frisky!
A great time to start working on those creative visions you had in spring. Summer is all about action, goal seeking, socialising and achieving. It is the masculine (which is part of us all, whether we are male of female) and governs movement and getting shit done!
Your yoga practice will continue to be energetic. High oestrogen makes you braver and more up for a challenge. Maybe work on a pose you are afraid of? Your Crow Pose or your Handstand or your Headstand perhaps? Perhaps a Vinyasa or Ashtanga class would suit your mood and energy level.
Some women experience greater anxiety and/or stress at this time of the month due to high oestrogen triggering excessive arousal in the brain. Thus, it is important to take time in savasana and meditation to balance this excess of energy.
Autumn comes after ovulation. The egg wasn’t fertilised and so your hormones begin to change. You may experience a ‘’pre-PMS’’ stage here, as Oestrogen levels begin to plunge. You will feel more lethargic, more introverted and perhaps experience mood swings. But luckily, towards the end of this week oestrogen levels rise slightly again (only to dip again next week!) which will level out your mood.
Progesterone levels rise during this week, which slows us down. We will feel foggier and more fatigued physically and mentally. Progesterone has us craving our favourite comfort foods and our appetite increases.
Libido will be down, and you may crave more snuggles.
A great time to practice some self love and nurturing. Be ok with staying home if you don’t feel like going out and being social. Have a long epsom salt bath. Cook yourself some delicious food. Allow this slowing down to happen, it’s part of the natural cycle of life.
Your yoga practice may slow down a lot too. A gentle Hatha or Yin practice will be beneficial. Taking time to sit and just watch your breath. Sinking down into child’s pose more often perhaps, if you are still joining faster paced classes.
Oestrogen levels start to drop again as we enter our Winter. This second dip in oestrogen can lead to (but not always, and not in every woman) mood swings, irritability, anger, frustration… all the juicy stuff! BUT also leads to increased intuition. So this is a beautiful time to ask your higher self questions.
Winter is a good time to read a good book, watch movies and nourish yourself with wholesome foods.
Your yoga practice will naturally slow down, but try to keep some movement happening. This will help us to avoid feeling stagnant and to keep the energy flowing. Yang/Yin yoga combination can be really nice here as can Hatha and Hatha Flow. Go easy, child’s pose often and be kind to yourself.
As women, we get this opportunity to see our shadows (perhaps the moodier, anger, less patient version!) every month. It can be difficult to hold space for an accept these shades of self, but it’s a beautiful and profound spiritual practice to LOVE all of these parts of you, just as much as you love yourself mid summer.