Cyclical Yoga

Cyclical yoga is no different from Yoga. Yoga is a way of life that is based upon observations in nature. The only difference is, yoga was created by men and was almost exclusively practiced by men for thousands of years, so many of the findings and practices are suited to a male body. Cyclical yoga is based off the nature of women. We change and adapt our practice throughout the month to suit our changing needs. The practice is still a practice of dedication, of one to return to daily, only in different ways. For an introduction to Moon Yoga you can watch my video here.  

There are also practices that change throughout the month depending on where we are in our cycle. For example, during our bleed our natural flow of energy is Apana, which is a downward flow of energy, so we make sure not to practice any physical practices that contraindicate this flow of energy. This includes; pranayama (breath work), Asana (postures) and even Meditation. We are always looking to work with our natural state not against it.  

For as long as I can remember I struggled with my bleed, mostly from an emotional aspect in the lead up to my bleed. For a week and sometimes up to two. I would get cramps during my bleed and usually end up so fatigued from having to continuously work long hours during this time that I would end up sick. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in my late teens and was given medication, which I took for years. I would often say that we shouldn’t have to work during our bleed, something that at the time felt like a joke to say and was perceived as one to the people I would say it to. Like a fantasy, I now understand all that time it was my body calling to me with the answer I wasn’t hearing or, wasn’t choosing to listen to.  

Since I found out about the feminine cycle, it completely changed my life. I came to realise that I wasn’t crazy, irrational or unpredictable but instead I was predictably changing. It helped me understand my moods during different phases and it help me realise where I found more ease, instead of only focusing on when I wasn’t. It helped me understand and accept my emotions on a whole new level. Most importantly it made me realise that there was something I could do to create change. I finally realised it wasn’t something I just had to accept like all women do, I realised that I could take action to make this time more enjoyable and in turn, really change my life around.  

I went on to use yoga as a tool to develop a self-care practice that really helped me on a personal level. Because connecting to your cycle shows you where you find more ease and where you struggle, by connecting with the different energies you feel and learn where you are holding yourself back, where you need to release and ease into and where you might need to push yourself more. The best path for you isn't always the easiest and yoga is a constant practice of dedication.   

Now I find my practices differs month to month as a reflection of the longer cycles of life, including external seasons and internal longer season in life. But they generally always follow a similar flow of energy throughout the month, even if the practice changes. Remember, the practice of yoga is not only postures or physical practices, but also a state of mind and how you choose to guide your life. 

Winter/ Menstruation – A time for more restful practices like restorative postures, breathwork and meditations that focus on a downward flow of movement and relaxing the core. The energy of this time is very inward and dream like. You can find deep insights and clarity during this time. Pratyahara – with drawl of senses, taking your awareness away from external senses and tuning into your inner world. Watch my practice supporting this phase to nourish your practice.

Spring/ Follicular – As the energy starts to rise, we work with this energy in the body, starting to build strength again after resting the core. Working with the energy of motivation and challenges. Niyama (observances) - Tapas – the benefits from dedication.  Watch my practice supporting this phase to create presence in your practice.

Summer/Ovulation – The peak of our energy that is more outwardly focused. Here we are at our strongest physically so it can be a great time to practice a stronger physical practice to connect to the energetics of a more sensual, playful and heart opening practice. Some women experience heightened anxiety during this time so connecting back to the heart can be grounding. Dharana – Concentration, bringing your mind to a particular inner state.  Watch my practice supporting this phase to create presence in your practice.

Autumn/PreMenstrumm – Now is a time to slow down your practice, as this phase usually lasts around two weeks it can be a gradual slowing down depending on how you personally feel during this time. A lot of grounding practices to help still the monkey mind that can show up here. Using the energetics of creativity as a way of expression. Our intuition is strong here, whatever comes up during this time is a message to be listened to. Yama (Restraints) - Satya – Truthfulness.  Watch my practice supporting this phase to create presence in your practice.

Remember this looks different for every woman, not all women experience these feelings and energetics during each phase, we all have a different hormonal make up and the idea of cyclical yoga is not to practice yoga the same way as someone else but instead to use it as a base to go deeper within and notice your own internal rhythm.  

You have all the answers.  

Want to learn more - check out my cyclical yoga practices in the on demand cyclical care library.

Much love,  Julia

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