Awakened Feminine Period Practice!
This is an invitation to use your period as a trigger for softening into your body's wisdom and your feminine energy in a more loving, awake way. As a way to honor the whole intense process, feel yourself as a beautiful woman AND also as much more than what you experience physically and emotionally.
As an Awakened Feminine woman, I naturally experience intense PERIODS! Physically, emotionally - like most women- getting my period has really affected my body, my state, and in general my experience of life. There have been times when getting it would completely take me out. For years, especially in the beginning of my yoga practice, I would ignore that I even had it. For a long time I even barely got it. Other times, I have experienced getting it very intensely and unexpectedly during emotional and spiritual awakenings, and times of letting go of big stuff.
The more awake we become, the more we wake up to how our bodies talk to us. And the more we can connect to nature through our bodies. In the past few years, I have started to really pay attention to, and honor this. As with our lives the process of becoming more aware of our bodies can feel overwhelming, painful, intense, sad, irrational, and downright debilitating. We lash out on those we love, and we mentally can get so hard on ourselves. Now, although some of those things of course still come up, it's begun to soften into a more natural and earful awareness and flow. Practicing the whole process with an Awakened Feminine approach, with the support and help of my partner with AF Taryn, has really shifted the experience.
Now I put on my fabulous THINX period underwear as a reminder of all this self-love, softening I commit to. I have worked with herbalist Olivia Clementine, and drink her amazing personally custom blended tea and really try to slow down, or at least not push myself. Allow myself to sleep more if I can. Now this is all no small task, as we know it's not always possible- and takes practice. That's why it's a commitment. Something to come back to even when you stray. But incorporating any bit of any of this will cause a shift. It is such a beautiful commitment to make to your body, wisdom and Awakened Feminine Heart.
Here are some ways that I AF my period with yoga…
Your yoga practice can be extremely beneficial to having healthy, AF periods. When practiced too rigorously, or with a lack of awareness around being a woman with all that comes along with, your yoga practice (just like rigorous exercise), can also have the opposite effect.
When not practiced at all, we aren't utilizing the power that our bodies hold to help us heal. Over my years of practice studying women's yoga with Bobby Clennell at the Iyengar Institute in NYC, I learned that it's a simple shift in perception and only a little knowledge needed to honor your body's cycles. To really start to feel out what your body innately wants and needs. It's actually a great day to deepen your yoga practice.
From periods, to pregnancies, to menopause, looking at it all with more consciousness helps to empower us to a deeper connection to our feminine nature. On a practical level you can regulate your period, relieve cramps, migraines, and lower back pain with the right asana practice. It can help the lumbar spine and pelvis stay free of excessive tension, moderates the emotional effects hormonally, promotes healthy physical and mental strength, and assists in the cleansing process your body is experiencing during this time.
"...a regular, well-considered yoga practice, one that takes into account the cyclic nature of a woman's body, will provide major health benefits. It will support a woman throughout all phases of her life. It will give her the tools to overcome physical limitations, establish emotional and mental stability, and stay true to her feminine nature." - an excerpt Bobby's book "The Woman's Yoga Book", that I highly recommend as a genius resource to every woman I work with.
During my classes, I advise women on their cycle to take it easy. You really want to give yourself space for all the intense work your body is doing. Taking a break from your handstand practice is good for your body physically and energetically during menstruation, but it's also good because it takes you out of that intense hardness that yoga today can rope us into. That feeling of needing to be perfect, and excessive physical exertion that causes our bellies to become so tight that we lost access to the power that lives in our lower bodies as women.
When we take time to soften, with intention, we can gain access to a whole new power that lives in us. During our periods, but also as a more awakened yoga practice. For example learning how to lift out of your hips and create space in the lumbar spine can relieve so much back tension, as opposed to practicing without this awareness. And on a deeper level, really allowing yourself to soften into the support of your breath and the earth as you practice, as well as the process of cleansing that your body is experiencing.
Here are some general tips for yoga and a short visualization for days of menstrual flow.
***If you are new to yoga, and/or have injuries please contact me for a private in person or long distance session, or find a good teacher that can show you the correct way to practice these poses.***
1. What to avoid during menstruation:
Intense vinyasa & inversions, standing poses without support, big backbends and deep twists. In general anything that will cause constriction in your abdomen (thus your uterus) or put your body in a position where the energetic flow is going up instead of down.
2. What yoga poses to try during your period (choose any or all but end with Savasana!):
* Warm-ups to loosen the spine and pelvic muscles like cat-cow with side bending variations. Virasana with hips on a block and shoulder stretches such as Gomukasana and Garudasana arms.
* To reduce pelvic soreness, and relax the nervous system reclining poses (poses done on the back) like Supta Padangusthasana are great. For lower back pain you can try Adho muka svanasana- downward facing dog- with support under your head and knees bent.
* Gentle twists (such as Parsva Swastikasana - cross legged seat twist) and side bending (Parsva Adho Mukha Swastikasana- look it up) with support under the head are great to relieve low back pain, loosen joints, provide relief from cramps, and migraine headaches.
* Seated forward bends are highly recommended for calming the nervous system. Adho Mukha Swastikasana, Baddha Konasanaa and Janusirsasna with legs apart can reduce heavy bleeding. Pachimottanasna (all done with head support)! Seated forward bends with support will help with fatigue, low back pain, reducing high blood pressure, and quieting the mind.
* Supported restorative poses & hip openers- Pigeon to open and make space in the pelvis with support under hips is heavenly. Supta Baddha Konasana is SOOOO GOOD and can seriously shift your energy in 5 minutes.
*Savansana (ALWAYS) with or without lower legs lifted on bolster or blankets. Also will help with energy by giving you intentional rest.
3. See below for a short meditation...
Adriana & Awakened Feminine