A woman’s (and a Pixie’s) menstrual cycle is an intense time of change, renewal, release and internal focus. Unfortunately, in today’s society, most women in the west demonize it, viewing the body as something that is rebelling against what the woman living in the body wants to do, or feel.
We call it The Curse, for crying out loud!
We also, sadly, experience a whole host of symptoms that can range from slightly annoying to severely debilitating. We take synthetic pain relievers and mood enhancers to “get us through” the week or so that we are bleeding, none of which actually help the root cause of the symptoms. Rather, when we cover up a symptom, we actually perpetuate the imbalance that our body is telling us created the problem in the first place.
Often, the culprits are threefold: symptoms like cramps, poor sleep, moodiness, headaches, breast swelling and tenderness can all be explained by a combination of stress, exhaustion, and nutritional depletion. When we attend to these causes, the symptoms are alleviated and our entire bodymind actually increases in health and well-being. These are not fast fixes, although they will take the edge off of our symptoms in the moment; rather these ideas are meant to be practiced as they suit you, to improve your health and the ease of your moontime over several months.
Consider this: every time you release blood, you are releasing pent up toxins, and energy, that have not yielded creative results over the past month. You are not only releasing old blood cells (from the past few months), but also old dreams, old goals, old relationships..things that have ended and no longer serve you.
The Gift of Exhaustion:
Our energy and perception is intended to flow inward during this time. We are meant to pay more attention to our bodies, what they are telling us, and to our own feelings of quietness, vulnerability, or maybe empowerment. A woman menstruating used to be considered deeply in her own power. The veil between profane and sacred is thinner during this time of the month. So it makes sense that we wouldn’t want to be “in the world” quite as much as during other times of the month.
The Ritual to honor our exhaustion is to find a sacred way to Rest:
Daily during the first 3-5 days of your moontime (until your flow has decreased significantly) find time to rest by lying down. After work, on lunch, or at another convenient time, take at least 15 minutes to recharge. Light a red candle. Anoint your womb center (three finger widths below your navel) with an essential oil like sandalwood, jasmine or ylang ylang. Just one drop there will activate the sensitivity and tell your bodymind that you are now in a sacred frame of mind. Listen to a meditation or simply visualize your entire body deeply relaxing. Set a timer if you have time constraints. Let the weight of your body release into the floor, bed, or couch. Enjoy.
The Gift of Heaviness:
Many women feel deeply heavy, lethargic, or like they are moving through water during their moontime. This can happen because the downward flow of prana, called apana in Sanskrit, is very strong during the moontime days. Our energy is literally flowing downward into the earth, to be released. It’s best to support this feeling, as much as possible.
The ritual to honor heaviness is to enhance Apana:
Wear skirts or loose fitting clothing. This allows energy to move downward without constriction. If you can, wear red. I have a red cotton skirt, and a pair of red cotton wide legged pants. They both get pulled out specifically when I am on my moontime.
Practice Restorative Yoga. The following link is a great resource and can give you a great guide. If you can’t do all the poses for the amount of time, choose one or two to do for 5-10 minutes each. Make sure you have plenty of support! Your body should be able to rest deeply and almost sleep in these poses. Link to Restorative Yoga for Menstruation
The Gift of Cramping Muscles and Headaches:
So many women experience physical discomfort during their menstruation days, it’s unbelievable. This challenge especially comes from nutritional depletion and exhaustion. Muscles cramp causing uterine pain, headaches, back aches and leg pain; all muscles cramp because there’s a depletion of minerals in the body. Minerals like calcium and magnesium are required for healthy muscle function. Specifically the trace minerals like selenium and zinc are deeply important for uterine health and wellbeing.
The ritual to support pain is to Nourish Deeply:
Drink red raspberry tea, and nettle tea. You can make them together and keep sipping them all day long for the first 3-4 days of your cycle. Both herbs are rich in minerals and will soothe your system deeply. Enjoy dark chocolate! The minerals and other micronutrients are wonderful for you during your moontime, and delicious! The darker the better, and the higher the cacao content, the more powerful. I like buying very dark bitter chocolate and mixing some with a spoonful of peanut butter. It’s a wonderfully fulfilling and nourishing snack!
During the entire month, you may want to start a supplement of Evening Primrose Oil or other EFA supplement, as well as a Trace Minerals supplement. The longer and more consistently you take a supplement, the more effective it is, as it has a chance to actually get into the tissues of your body.
The gift of Emotions:
We all get a little bit more sensitive during this time as well. I don’t mean this as a bad thing. I think it’s a super power! Unfortunately, it can be difficult to deal with other people’s energies as this time and we can feel more volatile and raw. The best way to soothe these feelings is with a meditation practice.
The ritual to soothe emotional stress is to Meditate:
There are many many ways to meditate, so it can be overwhelming to find one that you like. Some ideas are: to walk while repeating an affirmation, or simply paying deep attention to your bodymind as it moves. You can simply sit in silence, following the breath. You can also use a mantra to engage the mind a bit more while you sit. The mantra method is wonderful for beginners because it keeps the mind busy and engaged. It’s also wonderful for more experienced practitioners because as experience deepens, we become more aware of the subtle vibrations and healings of the mantra.
To honor the divine Feminine in everything, I recommend the Adi Shakti Mantra. This is a Sikh mantra which activates the divine Feminine within us, and balances our energy out beautifully. I suggest starting with 3 minutes of this practice, and working up to 11 or 22 minutes, as you like. This video will give you perfect instructions and help: Nirinjan Kaur and the Adi Shakti Mantra
I hope these ideas give you some ease during your moontime, and that you can cultivate a sacred relationship with your body, rather than fight it. One of my teachers says, “The answer is always more love,” which I think is perfectly right during this sacred time.
Until the next…