Days 1-7. New Moon. Inner Winter.
The menstrual phase of the cycle is what we most commonly refer to as our “period” or even our “cycle” although our cycle is ACTUALLY comprised of four distinct but overlapping phases (see E-Book). From the end of the last cycle’s luteal phase and into this new cycle’s menstruation, our hormones (progesterone and estrogen) both hit a low; our body sheds our progesterone producer (the corpus luteum) which triggers bleeding to start (P.S. DAY 1 of our cycle is the first day of FULL RED BLOOD BLEEDING; the brownish/red blood/discharge mix that many experience before full bleeding is actually the end of the last cycle).
Physically, many women experience...
cramping, low back pain, fatigue, and perhaps cravings (e.g., chocolate, as it is magnesium-rich).
Mentally, despite pop culture’s opinions...
the right and left hemispheres are actually at their greatest level of coherence; this gives us the special superpower to be able to review, release what no longer serves us, and create a vision (BUT DON’T TAKE ACTION YET!) for how we can proceed forward in the most aligned way, in each aspect of our lives. This of course presupposes that you are creating time for rest and reflection. If we don’t honor the space that is required for rest and reflection, it can be challenging to access our innate wisdom, and the body might speak up more loudly (e.g., painful, heavy menstruation, mood swings, anxiety, headaches) to get your attention.
Emotionally, this can be...
a time of heaviness, especially at the beginning of our cycle. Energetically, this phase of the cycle is linked to death; we are literally shedding a piece of ourselves. As we face this, we turn to face some of our deepest fears and can clearly see where our misalignments are. This isn’t always easy to face. Menstrual Cycle Awareness Practitioners and authors of “Wild Power” Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer actually break our bleed down into 5 additional phases or “chambers”. The first two are separation (the pull we feel to isolate ourselves and to be internal) and surrender (the opportunity to release our heavy burdens to the Universe, a higher power, or perhaps into the Earth; it can feel like being in the void and can feel very uncomfortable if your MO is “DOING”).
IF we can honor this initial discomfort of resting, doing “nothing”, and letting go, the final three phases can usher in a clear vision of how to proceed forward, a sense of renewal (yes, our menstruation can actually feel renewing!), and a deeper connection to our purpose.
Beyond practicing Menstrual Cycle Awareness...
(charting your cycle; getting to know your phases intimately; honoring where your energy is at and living accordingly), some of my favorite tools to support each phase of the cycle are the Plant Wisdom of Mother Nature and Embodied Movement in the form of Women’s Yoga.
Plant Wisdom: Clary Sage + Deep Blue Rub + Peppermint
When I say “plant wisdom”, I am referring to 100% pure, therapeutic grade, indigenously sourced, and rigorously tested essential oils. In my own research, I have only found a select few companies that adhere to these standards. I am also a strong proponent of trusting your DIRECT EXPERIENCE. For me, the only oils that I have used and noticed a significant difference were DoTERRA essential oils, so I work with these oils exclusively.
Addressing all things feminine health, clary sage is steam distilled from the salvia sclarea flower. Clary sage has a vast array of applications including: stimulating menstruation and lactation, soothing the nervous system, cutting mucous and relieving muscle spasms. It can be used aromatically, topically, and internally.
Aromatically: inhale straight from the bottle or diffuse 3 drops with wild orange for mood and hormonal support during menstruation.
Topically: (my favorite use) place 1-2 drops diluted into palm of hand and rub over lower abdomen and lower back to support cramp relief.
Internally: put 1 drop in a capsule to support estrogen regulation, uterine health, or for insomnia relief.
DEEP BLUE RUB:
This is the lotion version of DoTERRA’s deep blue soothing blend oil. Comprised of wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, blue tansy, blue chamomile, helichrysum, and osmanthus, this blend is an incredible anti-inflammatory and provides cooling and calming to areas of application.
A dime-sized amount is more than enough to rub over areas of muscle tension. My FAVORITE way to use it is: to put a small dot in my hand and place 1-2 drops of clary sage in it, then rub over lower abdomen and low back for cramp relief and to reduce bloating/swelling. I apply 2-3x throughout the day, but you can use it as often as needed. It is better to use small amounts more frequently.
Adaptive and cooling, 1 drop of peppermint (steam distilled from the leaves of the plant) is the equivalent of 28 CUPS of herbal peppermint tea! So it is very potent and concentrated. My FAVORITE use of peppermint is to put 1 drop in a hot mug of water and drink as a tea for relief from bloating and cramping. BONUS: it is an incredible digestive aid and can relieve any nausea experienced during this time.
EMBODIED MOVEMENT: Women’s Yoga
This is a time to connect with the EARTH: ground, center, turn inward, and rest. Treat these days of your cycle (1-7 or New Moon + 7 days) like the dead of winter or a winter holiday: warm, nourishing foods, blankets, and all things comforting. Watch uplifting films, journal, and savor BEING.
This is first and foremost a time of REST; so if your body is saying “don’t move!”, listen. If you do feel to move a bit, it can be good to encourage blood circulation through the pelvis and lower body to relieve cramping and stagnation. (GUIDED YOGA FOR MENSTRUATION)
RESTORATIVE SUPINE POSES...
like reclined cobbler’s pose (see E-Book) can feel really good at this time as they encourage the downward flow of energy.
SUPPORTED FORWARD FOLDS...
like paschimottanasana (see E-Book) can be calming for the nervous system.
SEATED GENTLE TWISTS...
(see E-Book) can provide relief from menstrual cramping, low back pain, and headaches/migraines.
Above All Else,
DO WHAT FEELS GOOD IN YOUR BODY! It may change/shift from each day of your cycle and as you move through different seasons of life. Remember, our bodies are not static; they are dynamic, alive, interacting, ecosystems! Perhaps the most powerful tool we have when it comes to understanding our bodies, is to develop a listening, so we can begin to decode its language and live in tune, inspired, and EMPOWERED.
All Love To You,
Ready to Get Started with Oils?
EMAIL ME at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!
Want more Women's Yoga?