July 25, 2014

Our menstrual cycle is very powerful and it actually impacts the way we feel from one day to the next. It’s also true that we have heightened strengths during every phase of our cycle. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know about the intricacies of our cycle and how to really capitalize on these strengths because from the time we hit puberty we’re given very little information about it. Why? Because there is a longstanding and deeply-rooted taboo around the subject of menstruation.

We’ve gotten so used to not talking about it, we just sort of accept it and keep silent. Silence around a subject suggests there is something ‘wrong’ or ‘shameful’ about it. Consider that most women and girls live their lives thinking that a fundamental part of being female is shameful. This stops them from wanting to know, discover and protect their body.

Most of us know about the  3-7 day ‘period’ of bleeding, but not the whole series of amazing changes your entire body is cycling through over the course of 28-ish days. Just as the Moon waxes (or grows outward into the night sky) until it becomes full and then wanes (or gets smaller) as if moving back into itself – so do you. Sometimes she shows up fully, open, bright, reaching out. Other times – she covers her face, retreats, falls back, quiets herself. We can be in the same pattern as the Moon. I find it really profound.

On day 1, you get your period. Then around day 14, you ovulate, which means this is the day you can get pregnant. By around day 28, if an egg has not been fertilized, your body gets ready to start your cycle all over again.

1. Day one (and phase one) of your menstrual cycle begins when your period arrives. Did you know that during her entire lifetime a woman spends approximately 3,500 days menstruating?!

Within hours of starting your period, your estrogen levels will slowly begin to rise and gradually you will start to feel a shift from the heaviness or ‘PMS’ of the days before.

An important thing here is to not project your moods on other people. In my opinion the best thing to do during a period, and especially on the first day, is to rest as much as possible, stay alone, meditate and journal.  This is the time of reflection. Rest is especially important on the first day because that’s when we normally lose the largest amount of blood, and the body receives a certain signal that may change your period a lot. I observe a really significant difference in the length and abundance of my menses when I manage to rest on the first day of my cycle

And remember the chocolate rule! No chocolate during a period for God’s sake!

In the early days menstruation was considered to be the time for spiritual practice and getting together with other women. Women are quite sensitive to subtle energies during their period and meditations can go very deep then.

2. During Phase 2 (week 2), the steady increase in estrogen boosts your brain’s serotonin levels, which leads to an increase in energy, enthusiasm and a more upbeat feeling overall. That’s the time to start new projects, be physically active.

3. Ovulation refers to the release of a tiny egg from one of your two ovaries (they alternate from one cycle to the next). This typically happens between Days 12-16, making it the time you are most likely to get pregnant.

I’m telling you you don’t wanna miss your ovulation: that’s the time when we are the most attractive, even our lips, breasts and eyes become slightly bigger and more symmetrical – imagine your body is ready to conceive, thus nature wants you to attract the best possible match now!  It’s always best to work together with nature. That’s the best time to have important conversations or even ask for a rise – simply because you are so magnetic, it’s very likely you will get whatever you want!

Also, of course if you want to conceive – that’s the time to be aware of.

And this is the time when we are shining and so outgoing – just like the full Moon.

Sometimes I wish I ovulated all the time!

On the other side of ovulation, you’ll feel the effects of decreasing estrogen and testosterone and increasing progesterone. Progesterone is the ‘ebb’ to estrogen’s ‘flow’. It will increase your desire to move inward, like the waning moon. Research shows greater activity in the right hemisphere of the brain — the part associated with intuitive knowing — in weeks 3 and 4 of your cycle. Always trust your intuition. But pay especially close attention to it in the second half of your cycle.

4. The Pre-Menstrual phase (week 4) consists of the final days before you begin a new cycle. Progesterone continues to rise until just before the end of this phase when estrogen, testosterone and progesterone all plummet to their lowest levels. If you deny the natural need you have to slow down and turn inward, feelings of resentment, frustration and anger find a way to surface. That’s the time to give yourself permission to move a little slower and take extra care of yourself.

Awareness of the 4 phases has really changed my life. I know my body much better now. I can predict the way I will be feeling, and what sort of activities will be best for me on this or that day. I find it awesome. It also allows me to be more mindful of my interactions. My partner really appreciates when I let him know that I might be going though some intense emotional menstrual days, so in case I show the fierce side of our feminine beast he knows where it is coming from and how to hold me.

There are also lists of foods that are best for each phase, ways to exercise and even to have sex.

One really great tool is a calendar.

If you have a smartphone I recommend getting an application, it’s really convenient. I use iPeriod, but there are tons of them. I like iPeriod because it reminds me when my period is expected; it allows me to add notes, moods and symptoms to each day. So I can compare what’s been happening on a monthly basis and know what to expect. You can use it for free too. The paid version is nicer though – it has some great extra functions, and it’s 2 or 3 $ worth. But the simple version is good enough really.

If you don’t have a smartphone you can simply do it the old way. Get a calendar from your gynaecologist and track it by hand.

Another option is to use one of these free menstrual cycle calendars online:

Also if you have any hormonal problems, awareness of the four phases of the cycle might help a lot, as happened in my case and in the case of Alisa Vitty – Author of a great book called Woman Code. Alisa has healed herself from polycystic ovarian syndrome – a disease that conventional medicine considers incurable.

Another great author is Dr. Christiane Northrup. I think that her book Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom is a must have for all women. A very experienced gynaecologist and an intuitive person, she sheds light on issues of female health that most women are terrified of.

Let me know how you succeed with tracking your moon cycle. I am excited for you – it will make such a healthy change to your life!

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