This time last year I had never even heard of the term Menstrual Cycle Awareness, let alone knew what it meant or how much of a difference it could make to my life. Now I am ready to shout about it from the rooftops to help many more women use this powerful superpower to help improve their lives as well.
At Red School we coined the phrase ‘Menstrual Cycle Awareness’ (MCA) to describe the practice of paying attention to where you are in your cycle each day, what you are experiencing and how to care for your changing cyclical needs. Menstrual Cycle Awareness is the mindfulness practice for women and is intrinsic to women’s wellbeing.Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer, Red School Founders
My Journey to Menstrual Cycle Awareness
After completing my Yoga Teacher Training, I felt a little frustrated. I completed this amazing training and learned so much about Yoga philosophy, anatomy, teaching principles, meditation, and pranayama. But at 42 years old how on earth was I going to keep up the pace of guiding students through this yoga practice that I had spent weeks intensively learning? The thought of it was exhausting enough. I decided against teaching in-person classes and instead turned to record short 10 minute YouTube Videos. This meant I could work with my own energy levels, to film when I wanted, and take a break when I needed to.
A chance reading of Om Magazine led me to an article by Kelsey Taylor about her specialist yoga teacher training, “Flow: Yoga to Honor the Menstrual Cycle.” This called out to me, and I immediately signed up for the training. In preparation for this training, Kelsey suggested reading “Wild Power” and tracking my cycle using Menstrual Cycle Awareness in the months leading up to the course. This was all very new to me, but as soon as I started “Wild Power” something just clicked, it made so much sense to me. Why has it taken me so long to learn about these Menstrual Superpowers?
I can’t change my past experiences of my Menstrual Cycle, but I can change my future and help to educate my daughter and her generation and beyond about these powers. Let’s get started.
How to Practice Menstrual Cycle Awareness
There is nothing hard about practicing Menstrual Cycle Awareness, you don’t need any fancy equipment or have to spend hours on it. All you need is some paper or a journal, a pen or pencil and 2 minutes each day to chart what day you are on in your Menstrual Cycle and some of the following:
- How you are feeling that day;
- How did you sleep;
- Where is your energy is at;
- Significant events or dreams that day;
- Or anything that you feel is useful to capture.
You can use a daily journal, a month-at-a-glance Menstrual Chart, draw your own circular chart out, or use an app. Use the method that makes the most sense to you. What is going to make this process easy for you to do each day and make the most sense to look back over?
You create a new chart for each new menstrual cycle. You can use these charts to look back on and check for trends and use this information to guide so many areas of your life, including your yoga practice.
I use an A4 notebook and have 6 months side by side over 2 pages to help me look for patterns and trends over a few cycles. Where in my cycle is my sleep most disrupted, when am I feeling at my most sociable, and when do I need to make time for rest?
Every few months I will look back over my charts and either take a highlighter or just write down the trends that I am noticing. I then use this information to further refine my plans and activities for the following few months.
The Benefits of Menstrual Cycle Awareness
- Allows you to recognise trends in your energy levels, which you can use to plan work and other tasks accordingly.
- Helps you to recognise the signs when you need to increase your self-care and rest more.
- Creates awareness of when you are due to Ovulate and Menstruate.
- Highlights when you are feeling the most sociable in your cycle, helping you to plan when to meet with friends or plan a big night out.
- Helps you to set boundaries when you know where the flashpoints are in your cycle.
The more you practice Menstrual Cycle Awareness, the more it will reveal to you and the more you can use it to allow you to adapt and work with your body at work, play, exercise, and more.