menstrual cycle

5 Natural Remedies For a Painful Menstrual Cycle

 
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Yesterday I was on my moon cycle and was having one of those days where I needed to stay close to the Earth, lay in bed and really allow myself to feel what was happening in my body. 

There was a lot of discomfort, and I realized it was the kind of discomfort I haven't felt in a very long time.

It got me thinking about all the women in the world who experience this kind of pain and discomfort every single month, often for the whole duration of their cycle. 

I know many seek out painkillers and birth control pills just to get through the difficult emotions and physical sensations surrounding their menstrual cycle. 

While I am glad women have these options, I've also been learning more about adverse effects from regular use of over-the-counter painkillers and birth control pills, so I thought I would share some of my natural remedies and discoveries with you in honor of the new moon this week. 

1. Do your best to avoid sugar

I haven't read much research about how sugar relates to our menstrual cycle, but can certainly share from my personal experience on this. 

A few years ago I removed cane sugar from my diet entirely to clear my system of candida and clear my skin (this worked amazingly by the way). 

Then one month when I was on my moon cycle, I was out to dinner, had a beer and unknowingly ate sugar in my salad dressing. That night I woke up with some of the most painful cramps I had had in ages. 

It took me awhile to figure out what was going on, but after being off of sugar again and having another similar experience, I realized it was the sugar. 

This made me also become aware that sugar includes wine, beer, pasta and bread, which all turn into sugar in our system.

But what about when we're craving chocolate?  

Try opting for a dessert sweetened with dates, 100% cacao, or chocolate sweetened with coconut sugar made by my friend Jonas of Firefly Chocolate.

2. Take a warm bath (and bring your crystals)

A warm bath is such a powerful act of self-love for any time of the month, especially when you're on your moontime. I've always loved crystals but only recently discovered my sensitivity to their powerful healing abilities...

Yesterday I was guided to draw a warm bath, and bring my crystals with me. I used clear quartz crystals and placed them over my womb. While listening to my breath I felt a significant shift in the sensations as energy began to move.

3. Practice restorative and yin yoga

Part of what led me to become a restorative and yin yoga teacher was the powerful relief I experienced during my moon cycle after practicing these postures.

Here are a few specific poses that can help alleviate discomfort during the moon cycle:

  • Balasana ~ Child's pose with a bolster

  • Supta virasana ~ knees bent with heels on either side of the hips, thighs together, lay back over a bolster

  • Upavistha Konasana ~ Wide legged forward fold with a bolster in front of you

  • Bending over to one side and then the other while in the wide legged forward fold

While these poses can help get you started, it's always helpful to have a teacher show you the poses to make sure you are set up in them safely.

In honor of the new moon I'll be teaching a restorative moon cycle sequence this week at Westside yoga in Sebastopol with harmonium, singing, and sound bowls. Join me this Friday at 6:45 pm.

4. Use a hot water bottle

Do you remember using a hot water bottle in the nurse's office in elementary school for a stomach ache? 

That was the only time I ever used one until I went to nutrition school and they recommended we use one for all kind of reasons. 

Everything from when we are feeling sad and just want some comfort to providing relief for menstrual cramps. I find the heat is so soothing for my muscles and allows my body to relax more deeply. 

5. Listen to the messages of your womb

Now, if all the tools just aren't working, there is most likely a message your womb is trying to send to you that you haven't caught on to yet. 

Our body uses pain and discomfort as a way to get our attention, and deliver signals and messages that we may not be receiving from the outside world. 

Before I started having all these difficult sensations yesterday, I was actually starting to create a vision board and found myself moving full steam ahead on a particular plan and dream. 

The contractions of my womb were almost immediate.

When I was in the bath, I fully tuned into my womb and asked if there was anything she wanted to show me. 

The answer came: Slow down. Now's not the time for action or even dreaming. Now is the time to be grateful for everything you have. 

Like many of us, I too can get caught up in thinking about "what's next" rather than being in the present moment. The unknown can be uncomfortable, and my mind likes to have a plan.

But as soon as I got the message and allowed myself the physical and mental space to slow down, the physical pain and discomfort immediately dissipated. 

When I find myself in this place of moving forward on a plan before my body and spirit are fully on board, I get pretty clear signals to slow down.

So what could your body be telling you? 

Have you been honoring your relationship to your inner feminine? Is there anywhere you've been pushing or forcing yourself to move too fast? 

Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments below. I'd love to hear. 

With love, 
Meredith

 

044 | Living in Alignment with Your Womb with Maga J. Ayala

 
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What I learned from Maga in this episode was truly transformative. I had just gone through a week on my moon cycle, trying to push myself to get clear on a schedule for the next month of business promotions, but literally all I wanted to do was stay in bed. It was so hard for me to feel motivated and get clear on what was coming. I kept wondering why I wasn't able to "get my act together." 

Then magically, a few days after my moon time, a surge of energy rushed through me and I was more productive than ever. Suddenly I had the mental clarity to take steps forward and was able to make a clear schedule for the following month. 

It wasn't until I talked to Maga that I realized this was all related to where I was in my cycle. Learning the archetypes for each phase of a woman's menstrual cycle was so enlightening to my path as an in-tune Priestess and Business woman. I now saw a way I could use these two aspects of myself to support each other.

What a relief it was - To realize there are times of the month where I just need to let myself go totally inwards and be a hermit, and times of the month that will be completely aligned for me to have the mental clarity to see into the future and take action.  I had heard this kind of wisdom before, but something about how Maga shared it really "clicked" for me. 

I think this wisdom of becoming more in tune with your womb and cycles is a true gift to every woman. I hope you enjoy the episode!

“The awareness of the cycle builds a sense of self trust. You know that no matter what is going on around you, you have this intimate understanding of what your inner landscape is doing so you can lead from a place of authenticity.”

In this episode we discussed:

  • Maga's recent journey of conscious uncoupling and her decision to cut off her hair
  • Living in alignment with your womb and menstrual cycle
  • The different archetypes for each phase of your cycle as a woman 
  • The Spiritual qualities of a woman's menstruation and practical strategies to plan a workflow around your cycle.
  • Feminine embodiment
  • How vulnerability plays a part in emergent leadership
  • The role of desire in a woman's self-actualization

Special Gift from Maga: 

Receive your very own cycle tracking chart right here. 

Stay in touch with Maga:


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Maga is a divine feminine leadership coach that activates highly-sensitive women to come alive in their desire, lead with confidence, and remember how to live in alignment with their menstrual cycles in order to birth their creative businesses into the world. As a sound and energy practitioner, Maga also magically weaves her voice work and energy healing into the women's circles she facilitates that guide women to reconnect to their bodies, voices and their unique feminine spirituality. She believes that all women are Radiant and strives to support them to shine in all she does.

 

Sync with the moon

 
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Since last Wednesday I have been sleeping outside in a tent watching as the moon grew full over the horizon.  I drove from my home in Sonoma County, CA up to Mount Shasta and to Oregon for a music festival.  (check out some photos from my travels here).  Sleeping outside on the land, watching the moon brighten to its fullness and start to wane again has made me think about the connection between our bodies and nature. You may notice you feel more social during the full moon and more introverted with the new moon.  The moon pulls the tides and can also sync with the woman's body during her menstrual cycle.  Traditionally, women would menstruate with the new moon and ovulate with the full moon.  The new moon energy of drawing inward would coincide with the woman's time to rest.  The energy of the full moon would energize the woman during ovulation and nature would optimize the conditions for her to find a mate.

Unfortunately, with so much artificial light both inside and outside our homes, many women have lost their connection to the moon.  So today, in honor of last weekend's full moon, I have a few tips for you to harmonize with nature and sync with the cycles of the moon.

4 tips to sync with the moon:

1. Sleep in total darkness during the new moon and allow light to come in through your window during the full moon

The body will attune to the moon the way women did in ancient times sleeping outside with the moonlight.  Make sure there are no digital lights in your room when you sleep and do your best to turn off all technology.  Leave your blinds open during the full moon so the moonlight can seep in.  Your body will begin to naturally sync your menstrual cycle with the cycles of the moon.

2. Rest during your menstrual cycle and save times of rigorous exercise, movement, dancing and socializing during ovulation

The menstrual cycle is a time to focus on intuition and listen to the body's subtle messages.  It is a great time for gentle yoga, journaling, and reflection.  During ovulation, the body will have much more energy to be social and active.  See if you can sync with your body's natural rhythm.  If you are not sure when you ovulate, count 14 days after the first day of your period.  Plus or minus 3 days of this time will most likely be when you ovulate.

3.  Eat foods to support your own moon cycle

Did you know certain foods are beneficial during the woman's menstrual cycle?  The best foods to integrate into your diet at this time are dark leafy greens, like dino kale, beets, and sea vegetables like kelp.  Try adding a few kelp leaves to the mix when you cook brown rice.  These nutrient dense foods will replenish the body during the depleting time of menstruation.

4.  Practice these restorative yoga poses during menstruation to relieve low back aches and menstrual cramps

This sequence of poses was adapted from the Iyengar moon cycle series for women.  The poses support the downward flow of energy during the woman's moon cycle.  I used this sequence just a few weeks ago during my own cycle when I woke up in the night with aches.  After twenty minutes, I felt relief and was able to fall back asleep.

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Have you ever thought about connecting to the moon?  Let me know what you think of these tips in the comments below.  Try out these poses the next time you're on your "moon" and let me know how it goes!

With love, Meredith

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About the Author:

Meredith Rom is a women's leadership coach,  yoga teacher, and group facilitator.  She helps women tap into intuition and manifest their dreams through yoga, writing and retreats.