Honor your Body
A woman’s body is designed to move through cycles. Each month our hormones fluctuate which means our energy and our moods also fluctuate. Part of being a healthy woman is to pay attention to your own cycles and notice those fluctuations so that then you can treat your body in the way it needs each day.
One challenge to this is that over time the cycles change. Knowing that change is the only constant in life we have to always be watchful, paying attention to ourselves. It takes self love, compassion and some discipline to always be paying attention the regular parts of your cycle and the changing ones. Knowing what you eat, how much you rest, and how much activity is appropriate can also affect how you feel during each part of your cycle, so there’s even more to pay attention to.
Part of a yoga practice is Svadhyaya, or self-study. It means to pay attention to yourself, to know yourself well, to inquire about yourself. This is a very valuable tool in living a life in which you feel as best as possible at all times. Sometimes for me it feels a little bit like being my own parent – eat this now, go take a nap, get more exercise today, etc.
Unlike the suggestions in commercials and other media that we should feel good and have tons of energy at all times, especially during “that time of the month”, we really don’t and shouldn’t. It takes more energy to menstruate and I find that for a day or two I’m usually much more tired, need a nap, and my brain feels “mushy” – hard to concentrate and be productive.
During those times of less energy I give myself permission to get less done, to not be quite so creative or problem solve, to go take a much needed nap even if I got plenty of sleep the night before. And most importantly I don’t judge myself or think less of myself if my day isn’t as productive as the one before or if I didn’t make a fresh loaf of bread after working all day, or whatever I did or didn’t do. I acknowledge and honor that the shifts in energy are a normal part of life. I also know that self care means sometimes more and sometimes less. Some days the thought of climbing a 12 foot pole is exciting and I can’t wait to do it and others the just the thought of it exhausts me. So on those days I do a quieter, deeper Hatha yoga practice and save pole play for the days when I energized and feeling more alive.
Ultimately, the more you honor your body the way it is in each present moment, the more you will live a balanced and satisfying life. Rather than pushing against what is, go with and allow it to be. You will be safe, you will be whole, you will be loved because you honor yourself in the present moment.
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