Did you know that there are prime times during your menstrual cycle to sink into rest, and other times primed to tap into more productivity? If you’ve never been taught about your menstrual cycle, your hormones ebb and flow in a cyclic fashion about every month or so. In our modern culture, we don’t tend to pay much attention to the subtle changes that happen to our bodies as our hormones do their monthly dance. In my opinion, because of this disconnection, we can suffer from all kinds of ailments ranging from PMS and painful periods to more serious challenges such as PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, and infertility.
Your period pain is a form of communication from your body, to you.
—Sabrina Elizabeth, Ayurvedic practitioner
Have you ever stopped to wonder why so many of us suffer with our hormones? As an acupuncturist, I teach my clients that when we lean in on rhythms such as the circadian clock, we can tap into a greater sense of wellness. According to the time of day, there are appropriate activities that match the energy. Because the menstrual cycle is in fact a “cycle”, we can adapt this understanding of matching our activity to the energetic states of our bodies. In this way, we can sync into the rhythm instead of working against the tide.
In both Western and Eastern Medicines, we know that there are four distinct phases of the Menstrual Cycle:
- Period Blood Phase
- Pre-Ovulatory Yin Phase
- Ovulation Yang Phase
Pre-Menstrual Qi Phase
This means that physiologically there are certain hormones that are running high or low as they transition from one phase to the next. They go up and they go down. In our modern world, we seem to have adopted the more linear way of living. We live in a time where productivity is revered, and rest is shamed. We don’t allow ourselves to sink into the pleasure of rest when our bodies ask us to. We don’t prioritize rest and tend to stimulate our way through the “tired.” For example, our hormones drop in order to trigger the release of your period. Hormones in general help us to feel mentally, physically and emotionally well. So, as you can imagine, when our natural drop happens month in and month out, we can further deplete ourselves by overworking, not replenishing the lost blood, and overstimulating. What we can do instead, is cycle sync.
It’s not only our hormones that change throughout the menstrual month. Our brain chemistry also changes. Intuition and spatial awareness doubles and even triples during certain phases. Just as the circadian clock invites in a sense of wellness, so does leaning in on cycle syncing. If we know what is generally happening at each of the 4 phases, we can match our energetic output and input to hone in and "attune" to what our bodies need at certain times through our menstrual month.
We are most definitely dynamic beings! Cycle Syncing is understanding the positive aspects of your female cycle, focusing on body literacy and self-awareness. We then learn the best practices for our four menstrual cycle phases with nutrition, activity and self-care rituals.
To learn more about cycle synching, read my interview with DAO Labs about how to cycle-sync diet, exercise, sleep, and mood for a better period. If you are seeking deeper understanding, join my self-study online course Embodied Menstruation or book a discovery session with me.