Last week I was lucky to attend a workshop in Melbourne town run by the lovely Claire Baker – coach, writer, speaker form Australia. The workshop was called ‘Adore your Cycle’ and really that name sums it up so well. It was about enjoying, yes enjoying our menstrual cycle and not seeing our period as a time of dread and inconvenience. But more learning how to make the most of it, connect with ourselves, with nature and harnessing it in a comforting and pleasurable way.
So tell me lovely – during the month, are there times when you feel full of energy and other times when all you want to do is stay at home, snuggle under the covers and drink tea? Have you found that some days you rock with your to-do-list and other days it all feels like an uphill struggle?
Me too. But it’s not something I’ve really spoken about before with others. Until last week at the workshop…
Claire led a beautiful workshop which involved us all opening up and diving deep into our own personal experiences. We talked about how our menstrual cycle has been a bit of a taboo subject historically, how many of us have had some strange experiences when we had our first period and how maybe it’s time to embrace this part of ourselves.
As Claire so eloquently puts it;
‘Being aware of my cycle and supporting myself through each of the seasons that I pass through each month, is the deepest, most nurturing act of self care that I can think of. Getting to the core of this stuff, gets to the core of who we are’.
So instead of hiding or ignoring what it is to be a woman and berating ourselves when we’re feeling more tired or emotional, let’s fully embrace and connect with our cycle and with the ebs and flows that make up our lives.
The juicy details
Our cycle is split into 4 seasons – spring, summer, autumn, winter, with each lasting 6-7 days. This of course depends on the length of your cycle, but we’re assuming a 28 cycle in this case.
– Our Winter is the start of the cycle when we’re menstruating, it’s a time to go inwards and is a yin time. We tend to lack energy, we are more intuitive and it’s a time to do gentle yoga, meditate and relish in solitude. Allowing ourselves to pull back from social commitments and taking time to just ‘be’.
– Spring and Summer then follows for the next 12-14 days when our energy is increasing and then peaking in Summer when we’re ovulating. It’s a time to be exercising, social, creative, sexual. We’re more yang, we’re feeling our best and have the energy to start projects and network. This is our most productive time and as Claire mentioned, it’s the time when she most often plans in her speaking events/workshops so that she can make the most out of her energy and harness her best self.
– Autumn follows and is a time when we become more reflective, our appetite for carbs increases and we need to be more mindful of alcohol and sugar intake as this can impact the pain experienced during menstruation. Our inner critic/ego can be heightened at this time, so meditation can be a little more challenging. It may be a time to book in that massage, take a nice bath and indulge in self care. It’s a time when we may want to de-clutter or destroy/throw things away. We may want to be mindful of our emotions as they tend to be heightened and we would want to communicate our needs to others to ensure harmony in our relationships.
Wow, I love this so much and I hope you have learnt something new. I know for myself, the two huge ‘aha’ moments:
- By connecting with my body and embracing my femininity this gives me the permission to go inwards during my winter, taking time out from ‘doing’ and then planning most of my projects and social activities during my spring and summer. I feel less guilt that I should be pushing myself during my ‘yin’ (autumn and winter) time.
- Learning to communicate to my husband about when I’m approaching my autumn phase, so that he knows how I’m feeling and to also make an effort to communicate my needs at the time when my emotions are a little more all over the place.
If you want to know more and go deeper, then do get in contact with Claire. She has some more workshops in Albury and Sydney coming up. She’s also planning on launching an e-course later in the year, which will be fabulous. Check out her site for more details: http://thisislifeblood.com/
For now though, Claire suggests tracking your cycle and observing how you feel during each of the seasons, writing in a journal so that you can see what your body needs and adapting your month accordingly.
So start from day 1 of your period, in the ‘winter’ part of your cycle and write every day for a month.
Check in with how you feel emotionally, physically, what foods do you crave, how are you performing at work, how are your relationships, social life, creativity. Tap into these areas and see what comes up. I’m sure you’ll find some gems that you can then tap into for the following month and that will have a big impact on how you manage your life in accordance with your body.
Enjoy exploring this and look after you x