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Your period shouldn't suck - period!

We are taught to numb and silence our pain with toxins like advil, sterilize ourselves with artificial hormones created in laboratories, and stuff our bodies with chemically laced cotton... all so we can keep on keepin' on for "the man." Well, to that I say get your hands out of my pants and shove 'em down your own.

When working with an embodiment coach, Stephanie, one of the most important and helpful things (among many) that I learned from her was what I didn't know about was my cycle. It wasn't what I initially chose to work on with her, but she helped me realize that it effected everything in my life - just as it does for all women.

My whole life I have never really been taught about the beauty of my cycle, and how our "modernized" society can inadvertently castrate us as women, to our own true nature and innate intelligence and wisdom.

Your hormones are meant to naturally fluctuate

As menstruating women, there are 4 phases within each cycle, which are referred to as your 4 inner seasons. On average a woman's cycle runs about 28 days, which is broken down into (roughly) 7 days per season, lasting a week each. Each "season" is based on your hormonal and biological shifts.

Follicular Stage: The follicular stage begins immediately after menstruation. Your body is preparing to release an egg and both estrogen and testosterone go up. This means you'll be feeling more energized and reawakened - hence, spring. This is a great time for planning and focusing on outward goals.

Ovulatory Stage: In this phase, your egg is released. Estrogen and testosterone spike even more, giving you all those "feel good" feelings. This is the inner "summer" season/phase. Knowing when you are ovulating is very empowering, whether you are trying to have a baby or avoid it.

Luteal Phase: Yep. Your PMS stage. This is what really got me. I always thought PMS was something that happened to me... but really, it's what isn't happening. Since your body is preparing to now bleed and let go of the unfertilized egg, your estrogen and testosterone levels naturally release as well. THIS is why we get PMS symptoms, not because we are angry or moody or even crazy... no, no. We are natural creatures. We are animals. We are biological beings as well as intellectual ones. This phase allows us to feel all those feelings below the surface. It's our body naturally allowing us to go inward and truly SEE with wisdom and clarity, once submerged under all those awesome good hormones our bodies produce for us.

Menstruation Phase: And finally, the release. Progesterone levels go down, and your body surrenders. We feel like going inward, resting, nesting, and really just going into our own internal den. By honoring this time to really slow down, you can actually begin to connect with your body. I have found that I become incredibly insightful during this time, and kind of become my own guru. I come to a lot of realizations during this time without even trying.

By honoring your cycle and your phases, you get to really see your true nature. To live with your cycle means you get to connect to the natural part of yourself that you don't really need words or thoughts to connect to.

Tracking your period

Tracking your period based on your phases along with your feelings, emotions, thoughts and ideas throughout the month can give you SO much insight and a better understanding of yourself. It can also help ground you and help you feel more stable. You can also plan better - maybe your Luteal phase isn't the best time to undertake a huge task and spread yourself thin - maybe you need to use that time to schedule a little more TLC for yourself instead. We can all use those little reminds, and it comes every month to help us remember. Not to mention the benefit of knowing when you can and can't get pregnant, which the sure don't teach you in school.

Now let's talk sustainable period products

It was probably over a year ago now that I switched to reusable products completely. I started by trying out Thinx, which is underwear designed to replace store bought pads and liners. After using it for a few months during my bleed, I liked it but didn't love it and felt like I needed something a little more easy to change throughout the day. Don't get me wrong, they are amazing, but now I use them in addition to my next awesome find - reusable cotton pads.

Image: altalunacloth on Etsy

I was searching on Etsy for sustainable products to see what I could find and I found the. best. little shop called Sacred Spiral Creations out of Hawaii. They are made with organic cotton and are machine washable. I use them the same way I would use regular pads, but instead of throwing them away, you wash them... what a genius concept, right?

If only, if only, we were taught the right way from the beginning. Well, there is hope for a new and better future, and that future means happy periods, happy, well-cared for women, and organic cotton pads, just to start.

They really are amazing though, and they work so much better than store bought pads. Checkout her shop on Etsy, she also offers more detailed care instructions and you can checkout all the cool designs and custom sizes and types. There are lots of other shops on Etsy too - look around for what suits you best! You can even buy the patterns and sew them yourself at home or make them for friends if that is up your alley. There are lots of options.

Image: Sacred Spiral Creations on Etsy

Lastly, understanding pain better

After learning more about chakras and energy points in my own yoga practice, as well as reiki sessions and personal study, I can clearly see how so much of our pain and trauma is stored in our hips and pelvis. By addressing the pain, you can release it. The term "period pain" really just means muscle tension, and when our bodies are holding stored trauma, we are literally holding onto pain, whether conscious or unconscious memory.

I have found that stretching can help just as much as taking an Advil, but better yet, allows me to address the root cause, instead of numbing the symptom. Your pain is trying to speak to you. Please, please, please do not go out of your way to numb it. I also use a potent CBD rub on my stomach and abdomen, as well as a few different stretches, that have been noticeably helping me meet my pain instead of numb it. By noticing it and trying to learn more about it, I can see that it has things to tell me, instead of me trying to tell it to go away. I don't want it to go away, I want to understand it.

Most of my stretches are really based on Yin yoga.

Yin yoga, to me, is really trauma yoga. I find Yin yoga to be the best for PTSD, as well as period pain and stored trauma in the hips and pelvis. Yin yoga is a a practice based on the feminine, with and emphasis on slow flow and long-held postures, allowing the body to release naturally. Yin yoga is also referred to as restorative yoga.

Any stretches opening the hips and lower back will help - butterfly pose, lying goddess pose, yogi squat, happy baby, half saddles, seated forward fold, and puppy pose are some of my favorites to help with period pain. But really, I find that I experience period pain in the first place due to my trauma. By addressing the pain directly, I am also addressing the root cause - trauma.

Coming full cirle

It really is a holistic approach - I really see that as the only true medicine, treating the whole individual. The whole person, the whole life and the whole body.

I am definitely not pain free, and I forget my own advice more often than not, but I am learning and trying to give myself more grace, which can feel difficult in such a pressure filled wolrd. But, I can practice. I know it's not my fault, and I try to remind myself of that. I try to remind myself that if I take better care of my body, it will take better care of me. Unlearning is not easy, but there is hope.


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