Ayurveda Moon Cycle Support
Healthy Moon Cycles are Important
How do you feel about your monthly cycle? Do you ever experience PMS, bloating, discomfort or pain? We are all familiar with the notion that these symptoms are quite “normal”. However they are actually far from natural. They are not a even necessary part of the experience. Nor do they contribute towards supporting a healthy relationship to our feminine seasons. And obviously they don’t feel that good. In Ayurveda, the moon cycle is considered a special time of cleansing and purification for the female body. They naturally support us to bring heat and energy to the womb space for circulation and the building of tissue. When the womb is not utilized for building new life it has the capacity to naturally cleanse and restart.
If we allow the body to do it’s work, don’t inhibit the natural flow of energy or place obstacles in our way, we can experience the beauty of the subtle seasons each month and feel good!
Ayurveda: Setting the Stage for Support
Ayurveda is “the science of life”. Over time you will repeatedly realize, “Yes, this is so true”! We are invited to take a step back from the push and pressure of modern life, strict school and job schedules. Ayurveda asks us to pay greater attention to how we actually feel. This offers the opportunity for healing on a subtle but profound level. Many chronic longterm health issues in any area of the body often build up and occur from negligence to simple signs.
Here’s a story for you. My kids have been homeschooled most of their lives. However when my son was five we tried school. Every single day we were late, and not from lack of trying. My family and I are all sunrise warriors happily getting up and going with the rising sun. Mornings are sacred! We made yummy breakfast, ate sitting down while drinking warm bush tea in peace together. The few occasions we almost made it on time we were rushed. The kids barely ate, and we all started the day with a sense of false pressure. This often halted proper digestion, elimination and joy. We quickly realized we were not the right fit for this particular structure of approach to schooling. We happily moved along to Montessori and Homeschool models.
While I respect and utilize organized structured schedules, this left a lasting impression. The longterm effects of these patterns potentially begin from so young in our culture. Most people are taught rushing is good. Barely chewing or even not eating food, overriding bodily signs and starting the day in fight or flight are all rewarded.
Each time we shut down the instincts, natural urges and intuition we experience, we move one step further away from recalibrating ourselves to a natural state of health, daily balance and longterm wholistic living. For women, this extends often beyond sensations of elimination, digestion, hunger and neglecting sleep into chronic dread, discomfort and ultimately a state of dis-ease within the menstrual cycle.
Ayurveda and Female Initiation
The initiation to becoming a woman begins at the start of the first flow of menses. In Ayurveda we call this the concept of Artava (female reproductive fluids). During this time a shift begins to happen elementally within the body as young women enter puberty and begin their moon cycles. This growth phase begins to slow around 16 years of age when pitta dosha begins to dominate. Consideration of foods, activities and lifestyle practices for the season of life should be taken. Along with nature’s seasons and the predominant constitution of the individual.
For example, Ayurveda acknowledges the influence of pungent, salty and sour foods on the seat of pitta. This is primarily the skin and gut. These tastes make heat rise, increasing pitta. Excessive screen time, over exercise, poor diet, lack of sleep can all contribute to greater imbalance. This aggravates pitta further and makes the moon cycle more challenging. Fresh fruits and vegetables, herbal teas, diluted juices, spring water, clear broth soups, home cooked foods, awareness around healthy limits in activity and supportive sleep patterns can pave the way for longterm health and support balancing pitta vitiated women as well.
In Ayurveda, the main function of arthava is to produce a garbha, or healthy fetus. However, even if bearing a child is not our ultimate goal at the moment, the reproductive tissues are closely related to the representation of the overall health and healing capacity we hold as women. These should be honored, nurtured and paid close attention to in support of lifelong wellness.
Variations of cycle duration, variable blood letting days, excessive or scanty blood flow, pains, burning sensations, agitation, craving, excessive sleep or lack of sleep all represent dosha imbalance.
Ayurvedic Moon Cycle Overview
After menstruation, as we’re building up with ovulation we’re in a kaphic cycle or a kaphic stage, we’re building and accumulating. When the egg drops or ovulation occurs, there’s a mini-vata cycle and women may experience some bumpiness there depending on the season their predominant constitution and what they’re doing and experiencing during the day. Then as the blood builds in the body so does Pitta dosha because of the similarity between Pitta and rakta, our blood. As that increases women may notice greater intensity, greater heat, greater creativity or sharpness, it depends on what’s happening within your body. As the cycle drops, continuing downward, apana vayu is stimulated. This downward vayu or airflow corresponds with vata becoming predominant again and women may experience bumpiness or anxiety. Fluctuations which we often consider “normal” however women should feel comfortable throughout this aspect of the cycle.
Ayurveda encourages us to noticing the signs of our cycles along with the connection to the cycles of the moon to help generate a greater understanding of the process and consider what elemental qualities are predominant in our body and mind as they are currently reflected in Nature.
Create balance throughout the monthly cycle by understanding the interplay of the elements or dosha during each phase.
Kapha Building Phase: pre-ovulation
Vata Comes in as Egg releases (apana vayu- downward flow)
Pitta and Rakta (blood) Building Phase: post-ovulation
Vata Comes in as Menses releases (apana vayu downward flow)
For us to work with the monthly cycle or mini season we need to consider the qualitative influence, the gunas (see our Qualities in Nature Blogpost), each women is experiencing and gently encourage support through food, lifestyle and 5 sense therapy.
As you evaluate your own monthly moon cycle through an Ayurvedic lense, notice these patterns in the body and in mind.
– How do you feel the days after menstruation? Do you notice ovulation days? What are the signs?
– How many days prior to menstruation are you aware it’s coming? Do you notice shifts in energy? How do you feel prior to menstruation?
– What length is your overall cycle? How many days are you bleeding?
– What color is the blood? Do you experience any pain? How is your energy and emotions?
As you track and reflect over the next month begin by evaluating the qualities (gunas) in nature day-by-day.
For example today do you feel warm or cool; light or heavy; sharp or dull; soft or hard? Rough or smooth; dry or oily; subtle or gross; cloudy or clear; static or mobile; liquid (flowing) or dense? Reach out for a consultation and we can discuss these concepts together!
There is much you can learn from personal awareness and observation, so what can we do now?
Adapt your Lifestyle to Support your Monthly Cycle
The first step is to slow down. Too frequently we ignore the signals surfacing. Do we need extra sleep? More nourishing foods? To reducing screen or work time? Perhaps to lighten up on movement, activity and the overall pressures of life? When women work with the energy of their cycle they take advantage of the true Nature and seasons of their being. If women block themselves from this experience they reduce the natural healing and processing the body offers throughout their moon cycle in support of their enduring health.
We honor the energy of the wisdom goddesses within us as we attune to these larger cycles of Nature for enhanced health and wellbeing.
Each month we are given a blessing to experience a cycle that is often overlooked by the masses. In ancient times, and Earth-oriented cultures Ayurveda developed from, women were encouraged to experience their moon cycle away from daily activity in silence or solitude. Authentic Womb Rights honor the moon cycles as a monthly blessing of remembrance women are granted and collectively celebrated by the community. Women experience the greater depths of the Creation energy. Its ebbs and flow, hills and valleys, balance and turmoil are felt in a very intimate and powerful way. The purpose of sharing this information is to promote an understanding of the elemental influence on the physical and subtle realm that shifts throughout a women’s life. This insight will offer expanded freedom within something cyclical and extraordinary: a fullness through harnessing the energy of Nature’s opposites.
Women should be aware of the connection between their experience during moon cycles and the presenting qualities in Nature to support the tools of lifelong health and balance.
Adapt Practice to your Period – Movement Practice Throughout the Moon Cycle
We emphasize self-practice in our movement programs to support both women and men. We encourage them to check-in on how they actually feel each day and move their body in accordance. Some practices or exercise regimens are more building while some are more lightening. Any practice moves energy in a certain way we should seek to understand. In Ayurveda this understanding is very important in relation to a women’s moon cycle.
During the actual blood releasing days of your cycle you may have heard to take a break from Yogasana. Wonder why? The are five directions of Vayu or air in the body. We talk about these in detail on our YouTube Channel .
The movement of Vayu is important to understand because it is the downward moving energy or flow which supports both healthy elimination and menses. If we stand upside down on our heads it’s quite obvious that we are reversing that energy, but there are other components at play to consider. Excessive movement, dance, vinyasa yoga, jumping up and down, or any excessively strong large movements or exertion of energy shift Vayu in various directions. The affect surrounding menses may be experienced as stagnation, blockages, slow release, unreleased blood, bloating and pain. Even eating large heavy to digest foods can shift the body from focusing on the cleansing qualities offered during the release of blood and draw circulation and energy back to the gut to process food.
This is why Ayurveda recommends light, easy to digest meals, alongside gentle movement practices during the moon cycle.
Does this mean you can’t exercise during your period? Of course not! However, notice if it truly feels supportive. Perhaps it’s a nice day to take a time out! Enjoy more time in Nature walking, hiking, or gardening. Explore feeling more soft and subtle; less intense and quiet.
There is much to unpack here and a wealth of knowledge shared through Ayurveda on the sweet cycles of the moon and our connection as females. You can develop this knowledge more by signing up for our Women’s Health Program. Here you will learn about the broader female seasons from birth to wise age along with details on teen health, menstruation, common ailments, menopause and more. Health and empowerment start with knowledge!
Step-By-Step Monthly Moon Cycle Health in Ayurveda
- During the days after your cycle its a great time to work on stabilizing your digestive fire. Eating easy to digest foods and slowly increasing the quantity and building qualities through sweet, sour and salty tastes can be helpful as you work your way towards ovulation. This is the best time for more vigorous exercise, hard work, strength building and nourishment. As always be sure to consult with your Ayurvedic or general Health Care Practitioner for the right outline for you. During this time of the month we like to start with digestive chutneys, Takra, nourishing soups and stews and work our way towards eating tissue building delights like Ojas Balls and Rice Pudding with Rose and Almonds.
- After ovulation begins mindfulness in preparation for the second half of our cycle. It’s a nice time to wrap up creative projects as the blood is building. You may feel more energy, intensity and creativity. Within the first week maximize movement practice with awareness of the increasing heat in the system. Over time of reflection it will become easier for you to observe these patterns and reflect your lifestyle accordingly. Hydration is important in this phase making it a nice time to enjoy the Ayurveda-Aid, Cardamom Rose Date Smoothie, the Berry Smoothie, Takra, and lots of fresh vegetables from the garden with cooling digestive herbs or our Coconut Mint Chutney. This is a nice time to wrap up financial concerns and lingering stressors before your cycle. Go shopping and meal prep with sauce and chutneys as you prepare for your menstrual cycle. Enjoy a strong movement practice if you want to. With the increase in warmth shift to moonlit or sunrise walks, swimming or hiking in the forest. Explore activities that still strongly move the body without increasing intensity or excess heat.
- As your cycle drops and bleeding begins now is the time to SLOW DOWN. A single day of clear broth soup with light vegetables supports digestion and elimination patterns along with the natural cleansing component activated through menses. Foods should be only as heavy as the quality of the digestive fire to support digestion and assimilation. Reducing sour, pungent and salty foods helps reduce intensity, skin flareups, water retention and bloating. Minimizing large or strong movements in the body is beneficial for the first 72 hours. Practice walking, hiking, gardening and gentle stretching without excessive movements. Take a break from self-oil massage to reduce stimulating energy in various directions throughout the body. Less is more here. Read, Rest, Rejuvenate.
Women’s Care IS Community Care
Ayurveda honors that the best way to serve the larger community is to honor and support the women! “It takes a village” is something we embrace at Maha Vidya. Simple practices have tremendous results supporting ease in pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. The outcome of mothers-care in the early phases of preparation for the growth of welcoming children into the family is absolutely beautiful. You or someone you love would benefit from support in our collaboration with the Radiance Mama through our Fertility Reset Program.
This would benefit ANYONE looking to create radical and radiant healing from the digestive system through each tissue layer. Build strength and stamina in the reproductive organs which will benefit healthy conception while honoring, restoring and resetting the reproductive system. If you have noticed challenges in your relation to Womb health, we are here to support you!