For many years I practiced vinyasa yoga daily without a thought about how it affects my feminine physiology.
Now I know that yoga was created with the male physiology in mind, and practicing the same flow week in and week out is generally a disservice for the feminine body. As a result I’ve created Moon Flow Movement which is a movement practice that you can practice with the phases of the moon as well as the phases of your menstrual cycle or your feminine lifecycle.
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Luteal Phase Moon Flow Movement
During your luteal phase, one week before your menstrual cycle begins, you may notice your hormones begin to wane and you may have less energy. You can begin to slow down.
The movements that will be supporting during this time are restorative backbends, inversions (they can support your endocrine system and help balance your hormones), deep breathing, meditation, slow dancing and walking outdoors.
Menstrual Phase Moon Flow Movement
Yin yoga and restorative yoga are perfect for the first days of your menstrual cycle. Focus on poses that keep you upright, or focus on the downward flow. Avoid strenuous standing poses, inversions, core strengthening, intense breathing practices, or exerting yourself. This is a time for rest.
Focus on your womb and your belly, breathing deeply into them to promote relaxation. Your intuition is strong during this time, so meditate, journal, and allow the messages to come forth.
Follicular Phase & Ovulation Phase Moon Flow Movement
These phases of the cycle, the two weeks after menstruation, are typically where women’s hormones are “waxing,” much like how the moon waxes to full. It’s a time of building energy and you’re ready to gradually intensify your movement practices.
Make sure that bleeding has stopped before you begin practicing inversions. Inversions help strengthen and tone your uterus, so they are perfect for this time. Cardio and strength training are also perfect for this time of your cycle. Your energy and hormones will support you in doing so.
Prenatal Movement (During pregnancy)
Your body knows what feels good and what does not. It’s wise to listen and pay attention to what your body is saying throughout your pregnancy: What does she want to eat? How does she want to move? How much does she want to sleep?
During your first trimester, be gentle as your baby grows. During your third trimester standing poses can put too much pressure on your pelvic floor. You can connect with your baby and your own body through the breath and by meditating. You may find that your intuition is at its height during this time. It’s time to relax and prepare to bring life into the world!
Postpartum movement (After pregnancy)
There is a myth in our society that women need to lose the baby weight and get back to life, after giving birth. It’s not true. Every woman comes back to her movement practices in her own time. Birthing experiences are different and postpartum experiences are different. This is known as the fourth trimester and it’s devoted to healing and bonding with your baby.
Deep breathing and pelvic floor exercises will be supportive in your healing as you rest your body and bond with your bundle of joy. Remember to sleep when the baby sleeps!
As you nurse and cradle your baby, you will find that chest and shoulder openers will feel great and stretch where you need to be stretched.
If you’re experiencing the hot flashes and big swings in your hormone levels of perimenopause, stay away from the practices like vinyasa that build heat in your body. Yin yoga, breathing practices, and meditation will help you step into your role as a wise elder crone in your community as your harness your wisdom.
Listening to our body’s wisdom and our womb’s wisdom is the only way to come in sync with the rhythms of our bodies. I speak from personal experience when I say I think many of us spend a lot of time up in our heads, thinking, or looking at computer screens…dissociating from our bodies when in fact so many of the answers are within…deep within our womb space where all human life is born from.
The womb must be a place of wisdom, right? It is. And when we work with our bodies to tap into that feminine life force energy, so much magic is available.
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