3 powerful practices for the first day of your cycle
Updated: Jul 24, 2019
Is this your monthly affliction -- belly cramps and lower back pain, feeling sensitive and vulnerable in body and soul? Longing to curl up under a blanket with a cup of chamomile tea or a hot water bottle on your belly?
If you’re anything like me, moon time can be painful. At least on the first day of my cycle, all I want to do is to curl up in bed holding my belly. Many women push through their cramps and go to work, functioning as usual. But our menses are a time for rest, reflection and stillness. It’s our bodies inviting us to stop and listen. Yet most women don’t practice this kind of self-care. They pop an aspirin and head out the door. They convince themselves that they’d take time off to rest, they’d fall behind. Or that they’d be seen as weak and unreliable. So we try to be like men, functioning in the same linear way every damn day.
Sure, we can be more like men, but we are depriving ourselves of the depth and wisdom this time has to offer. Like winter, our menses invites us to slow down and listen. Your Big She resides in your womb space, and now is the time to carve out space for more intimate connection with Her. What are you releasing from this past month, and what new seeds will you be planting in the next cycle?
Truth is, feminine nature is cyclical. The secret to unlocking the mystery of your monthly cycles is to fully embrace the fact that you are not the same every day, and that if we align ourselves with these cycles and listen to the wisdom of our bodies, we can uncover tremendous gifts of inspiration and clarity which are only available to us during these darker, more quiet times of the month.
To help you become more intimate with your body and cycle, I’ve got three simple lifestyle practices that you use now to fully rest and recharge during this sacred monthly pause.
1. Unplug and seek solitude. Make space to turn inwards and connect with your Big She, your feminine Soul or the Holy Spirit. Turn off your phone and screens and step away from work and business as much as you can. If you’re self-employed, can you schedule this day off for sacred self-care? If not, try to carve out at least 30 minutes for yourself. Take time to meditate, or just gaze at the sky. Write in your journal, reflecting on what has come to pass during this last month and plant new seeds, defining your goals vision for the coming month. Ask for guidance and listen for the answers within. You may even choose to sleep alone, away from your partner, to connect deeper with yourself. Read inspiring books pay attention to your dreams.
2. Keep moving, but go slow. Prioritise gentle exercise. Your system is more sensitive at this time of the month, so don’t push yourself to do heavy workouts. Listen to your body’s call for rest and relaxation. The womb is bigger and heavier during this time, so don’t strain yourself. However, it’s good to stay active to prevent the energy in your body from stagnating. A gentle Yin Yoga practice (no inversions!), some dancing or quiet walks in nature are all great. Connecting with the earth will remind you of the cyclical nature of life and how we’re all part of the process of dying and rebirth, and how every monthly bleeding is like winter, a mini-death where we lie barren and still. If we can fully acknowledge this flow, we will be reborn wiser and stronger in the spring.
3. Spend time with other women. In old times, the women used to bleed simultaneously during the new moon. They would come together in so-called Red Tents to celebrate their moon blood, share their stories and connect deeply with their intuition to gather new wisdom. They knew that this time of the month is extremely potent. Where men would have to go on solitary vision quests into the desert and spend weeks or even months on end without food or water for their initiations, women have the opportunity to undergo a new vision quest each month. And we don’t need to deprive ourselves for that, all we need to do is to carve out some time to retreat from the hustle and bustle of the world and go inwards to connect with our intuition and other trusted sisters. If you have a sister group or a few good girlfriends, you can make time to connect with them. Share your deepest visions with them, receive their mirroring and be witnessed in your depth and vulnerability with their love and compassion.
There are plenty of great period trackers for your smartphone. I like one called Clue. It allows you to track your monthly cycle, predicting exactly when you’ll be ovulating, menstruating and even when to expect PMS symptoms. This way, you will know when to expect your next period, and you can schedule it into your calendar.
So mark your calendar and commit to one or two things you’d like to try for yourself during this sacred pause. Over time, you’ll become more intuitive and you will be guided more and more from within. As with everything in life, this takes time and practice, so please don’t push yourself or beat yourself up if you don’t succeed the first time. This is not another item on your to-do list, this is an act of self-care. Just be consistent and you’ll start to see positive changes in your emotional and physical well-being.
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