The Ancient Wisdom behind the Modern Woman's Hormone Imbalance
Last week I went to a workshop on Hormone Balancing run by Tina Nance, one of the lovely teachers at The Yoga Barn. I had roughly a few gazillion "aha" moments, especially when we learnt about how our physical, emotional and spiritual experiences tend to change throughout the cycle. Suddenly it made sense to me that I feel like an extrovert one week and an introvert the next. Why sometimes productivity is effortless and I power through my to-do list and other times I have to really give myself a kick in the butt to get shit done.
It also shed a heap of light on why its so dang tricky to stick to a completely consistent diet or exercise regime! Different phases of your cycle are supported by and sub-consciously encourage different levels of activity - so while last week you were all about high intensity circuits, this week you’re feeling more inclined to head to a yoga class.
The beauty of understanding the ebbs and flows (pardon the pun) of your monthly cycle is not only that you can learn how to support yourself throughout the month but you don’t have to feel guilty anymore. You can stop judging yourself over the fact that your emotions and body are changing. You can stop beating yourself up for being “inconsistent” with your eating and exercise. You’ll start to see that you are being consistent – not on a weekly basis but on a cycle-to-cycle basis!
This guide is based on a 28 day moon cycle with day 1 of week 1 being the first day of menstruation. Regular cycles that sync with moon phases are not all that common in the modern day but you can still use this guide for the different times in your cycle and to guide you through the different phases of the moon, regardless of your cycle. Click here to see what stage of the moon cycle you’re currently in. The experiences and energies of each phase correspond with the energy of each season of the year, a differing energy level and emotional state.
Day 01 to 07
Corresponding season: Winter
Moon phase: New moon to waxing (growing) moon
Physical experience: Energy is down – you’ll have the least amount of energy this phase. If your cycle is aligned with the moon cycle, you may menstruate at this time.
Emotional Experience: Sensitive is the theme of this first phase. Your focus is drawn inward and you'll find yourself less inclined to spend time in social, noisy, or busy environments.
Spiritual Experience: You’ll be more tuned in to your spirituality and intuition making this a perfect time to process what’s been going on for you internally and to let go of what’s not serving you.
Support yourself by: Making time to rest and nurture yourself. For at least the first 2 days of this phase (i.e. the first 2 days of menstruation) do nothing! As much as that is possible! Limit exercise and stress to a bare minimum. Make sleep a priority - get to bed before 10pm. Delegate household tasks. Spending time in nature will be super supportive so head to the beach, walk barefoot in grass, and soak up some sunshine. To tap into the more spiritual nature of this phase, make space for your intuition or truth to come forward with a practice that supports turning inwards - writing, meditation, or getting creative with some drawing or painting can be helpful. Set intentions for the new cycle. Introduce very gentle yoga or a peaceful walk from day 3 onwards if you like.
Day 08 to 14
Corresponding season: Spring
Moon phase: Waxing moon to full Moon at day 14 (ovulation).
Physical experience: You'll feel awesome! In this phase your physical, creative and sexual energy is increasing to peak at ovulation. You’ll probably notice clear, stretchy, fertile mucus around ovulation and increased libido.
Emotional Experience: Your compassion and ability to communicate and express yourself effectively and from your heart is at it's highest.
Spiritual Experience: You’ll be drawn to more outward experiences like active yoga practices, nights out dancing, and spending time connection with loved ones. You are very connected to your heart at this time.
Support yourself by: Using the high energy of this phase to be productive and work on or start projects. This is the time to have difficult or emotionally charged conversations because you are more heart centred and able to clearly understand and communicate your needs. Now is the time to give your time and energy to loved ones so plan a special meal, a night out, or a Skype date and be a social butterfly! If you enjoy high intensity exercise, get stuck into it this week!
Day 15 to 21
Corresponding season: Summer
Moon phase: Full moon to waning (shrinking) moon
Physical experience: Energy levels being to decrease from their peak at ovulation.
Emotional Experience: You will start to feel too busy and start to pull back from social or work engagements that are overly taxing.
Spiritual Experience: Gradual turning inwards. You may find you’re beating yourself up a bit as your energy and motivation gradually decreases. Be conscious of this and be kind and gentle with yourself!
Support yourself by: Celebrating what you have achieved and letting go of what you haven’t. Now is the time to finish (where possible) any projects started in the last phase rather than start new projects. Be aware that you have less energy and consciously make adjustments in your life by reducing strenuous exercise and social engagements.
Corresponding season: Autumn
Moon phase: Waning moon to new moon (no moon)
Physical experience: If your hormones are out of whack, this is the phase that will show up the most! For me, this means my skin gets worse. You might also notice an increase in or appearance of anxiety, depression or PMS. Fluid retention and bloating are common. Your energy is lower and more inward focused.
Emotional Experience: This can be an emotionally taxing time for women who experience PMS, anxiety or depression.
Spiritual Experience: This is the time when your “stuff” rises to the surface. If you’ve gone through emotional pain this cycle, you will feel it in week 4. Avoidance or distraction will intensify the pain but spiritual presence will bring clarity. Some women experience prophetic dreams in this phase.
Support yourself by: Meeting phase 4 with consciousness. By bringing awareness to the emotional and physical experiences of this time you can gain clarity. Seize the opportunity to deal with whatever comes up for you! This doesn’t mean trying to fix or figure everything out! The best thing you can do is sit with what has been going on with you – try meditation, mindfulness, or journaling. Become a curious observer of your inner world because now is the time you have easiest access to it. Allow yourself to feel your emotions without trying to distract yourself or avoid them. Try a Yin Yoga class that lets physical sensations and thoughts to surface. Start to think about your intentions for your next cycle.
Does the changing energy of your cycle and the moon cycle resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below!
Share this around with your lady friends using the buttons below and stay tuned for my post on eating for healthy hormones next week!