The Menstrual Cycle is part of every woman’s life. As women we were born with a womb, ovaries and a menstrual cycle that impact our lives on many levels. Each of us has come into this world through the womb of our mother’s and because of her menstrual cycle. In spite of how incredible and important that is, a lot of us only remember about our cycle during our period. Some of us might carry feelings of shame, frustration, dislike, discomfort, anger, disconnection, you name it , around our period (it could be due to various conditions, traumas or even socially influenced ). Whether we experience challenges with our cycle or not, Menstrual Cycle Awareness is here as an important tool to get to know ourselves and essentially learn how to align more with our needs and create the lives we truly desire.
What is Menstrual Cycle Awareness?
Menstrual Cycle Awareness is a mindfulness tool, which helps you to be in tune with where you are in your cycle (which day, which phase/season) and how you feel physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As you observe yourself through the different phases of the cycle for a number of months, you get to know your natural rhythms, fluctuations of your hormones and how all of this affects how you relate to yourself, others and the world around you. Overtime, you can use this awareness to feel more empowered in your personal and professional life.
The term Menstrual Cycle Awareness was created by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer, the authors of The Wild Power and founders of the Red School.
How should I start with Menstrual Cycle Awareness?
Menstrual Cycle Awareness isn’t just about tracking your period days but involves tracking how you are through the various phases of your cycle.
To start cycle tracking, begin by doing a daily cycle check in.
Cycle check in involves:
Taking a minute at the start of each other to check in with yourself
Taking a few deep breaths to connect with yourself
What cycle day am I on today? (1st day of the cycle starts on the 1st day of your period)
How is my body feeling today?
Which emotions am I feeling?
How is my mind today?
What are my overall energy levels?
Note your reflections in a journal or cycle tracker. You can download a cycle tracker template here
Track for at least 3-6 months to be able to observe your unique cyclical patterns. This is a self-discovery journey where you learn about yourself and your cyclical nature.
So, what happens during an average cycle?
An average cycle is 28 days but can be anything between 21-35 days. Throughout your cycle you undergo several fluctuations in your hormones, which affect how you feel on various levels. The cycle starts with the arrival of your period, after your period you enter the pre-ovulatory phase or the follicular phase. Around the mid-point of your cycle or 14 days before your next period, you will reach your ovulation and about a week before your period you enter into the pre-menstrual phase. There are 4 distinct phases of the cycle (menstruation, pre-ovulation, ovulation, pre-menstruum) , which all different in terms of the levels of hormones and how you experience your life and people around you.
What are the benefits of Menstrual Cycle Awareness?
Benefits of Menstrual Cycle Awareness (MCA) are endless. First of all, you have awareness where you are in your cycle and how you feel in the different phases. This mindful approach helps you learn about yourself, your body, your emotions and how you respond to yourself and to the world around you at different times of the month. You might learn that in one phase of the cycle, you feel more drawn to socialising with people and in another one you really need your SPACE! You could also discover that during a certain time in your cycle, you have the tendency to feel bloated. Having this awareness can help you make a decision about your food options (i.e. less carbs, more fibre) next cycle round so you can minimise your discomforts. Through MCA you also can start learning about how to distribute your energy and live more cyclically in tune with your body. Menstrual Cycle Awareness can be really helpful anyone experiencing period pain, endometriosis, PMS, PMDD or PCOS and also anyone who wants to live more consciously and mindfully.
MCA is about empowering yourself to know your body and awaken to your body’s wisdom and guidance. The deeper you go into being aware of your cycle, the deeper the connection with your intuition and your inner wisdom.
Would you like to learn more about Menstrual Cycle Awareness?
You can download a flyer on The Inner Seasons of the Menstrual Cycle to learn more about the different seasons/phases of the menstrual cycle.