Following on from my previous blog post about the importance of keeping warm during your period, in this post I want to add to that the importance of deep rest along side inner reflection. Introducing a deep rest practice into my monthly moon time has helped create huge shifts in my life and my cycle’s symptoms have responded in a positive way as a result.
Stuck in the rat race
I get it, we all lead busy lives in one way or the other with constant things pulling our attention in a million different directions and finding the time to slow down and rest during our period can be challenging. Add to that marketing adverts to keep wearing white trousers and popping pain medication to keep going during your period certainly doesn’t help women allow themselves permission to create the opportunity to drop into stillness and listen to their body’s deep wisdom.
As women we’re not designed to keep going at the same pace and level month in month out. We are not linear, instead we are cyclical. Our energy ebbs and flows, up and down. When we ignore this natural inner rhythm and choose to plough forwards, dismissing that voice within begging us to slow down, that’s where things start to get painful and uncomfortable. Strong PMS symptoms, being particularly emotional or triggered in the days leading up to your period or debilitating cramps are the body’s ways of communicating with us that something isn’t right. It could be a missing boundary, a relationship or work set up that isn’t right, an avoidance of something that is draining you, the list is endless.
From my years of studying menstruation, again and again I have discovered that what we don’t want to acknowledge in our lives, where we are ignoring our deep needs and desires, our body will respond by turning up our PMS symptoms until they are loud and in some cases destructive. They get so loud so that we take notice of them. Yes we can numb out with pain medication, or alcohol, or shopping, or chocolate or whatever crutch we’ve leaned on for comfort. We’re essentially putting on a plaster (aka bandaid) over a raging ‘boil’, but unfortunately that doesn’t heal the boil. The boil needs to release in order to heal. It’s the same with our emotions. They need to be given the space to be felt. We’re not meant to be happy, high energy all of the time, day in day out.
Choosing to quieten the loud voice of the patriarchal masculine dominated system and turn up the sound on the wise voice within can help to uncover what is going on. The wisdom of knowing what step to take next will come when we go quiet. It all begins with the willingness to make a change.
The period is a natural introspective time and is in fact a super power.
How to drop into deep relaxation
Sitting on your phone scrolling social media, relaxing on the sofa watching a show or curling up with a good book may feel nurturing, however it’s not true and deep relaxation. There’s still something working in the background and we’re not completely sitting with ourselves.
The one practice that I have found truly helps me achieve deep relaxation is yoga nidra. It’s similar to sleep but it’s not really sleeping. It’s a guided meditation that can be done while you lie down. Feel free to support yourself with as many pillows and blankets as your heart desires. It is said that 30 minutes of yoga nidra is equivalent to 2-4 hours of deep restful sleep. The benefits are immediately felt after a practice from reduced stress to a wonderfully relaxed state.
At the beginning of a yoga nidra practice you can offer your sankalpa, which is your intention/prayer for the practice, which could be to release, create or have insight into something. For example, your sankalpa could be a desire to move through whatever block you are experiencing in your life. During the practice focus is drawn to different parts of the body and you are invited to relax using the breath. The practice guides you into a truly restful space. As you come out of the practice notice the immediate thoughts you have or pay attention to the dreams that come to you during your moon time. These are all your soul’s messages and so important.
Yoga nidra can be practiced any time of the day. My personal preference is the middle of the day, just after lunch or in the evening as a transition after the kids are asleep, before I settle into some quiet alone time. I love to hit 15-20 minutes on my timer and drop into a deeply restful space. For you it could be something you do just before sleep.
There are so many guided yoga nidra practices on Youtube to experiment and explore. I have recorded one here on my SoundCloud to get you started. Watch this space as there will be more in the coming months.
Added bonus while practicing yoga nidra
While practicing yoga nidra I used to do it with nothing covering my eyes, then progressed to a blackout eye mask and now I’ve upgraded to a lavender eye pillow. This is where it’s at! I made my eye pillow (FYI I sell them in my online shop) using English Lavender from my mother in law’s garden in Surrey, UK. The smell of the lavender combined with the weight of the flax seed inside serves as an anchor to immediately drop me into a sweet space.
Making the quiet time
If blocking out your calendar for an entire day on day 1 or 2 of your cycle is not possible, maybe it can be just half an hour at the end of the day. Choose to ignore folding the laundry or sending that one more email and instead find a quiet place to sit with yourself. To drop into stillness and willingly listen to what your soul speaks to you. Simply ask this one question:
“What is it that I don’t want to see?”
Hear what comes to you. Journal about it. Pray about it. Whatever your jam is, roll with it and respond with loving kindness.
I have been able to uncover huge blocks in my life and painful patterns that I’ve been repeating through the wisdom that shines through during my moon time. Around days 26, 27 and 28 of my cycle anything that is ‘off’ in my life is up for review. The volume is cranked up so that my soul can hear it and address it.
If you are someone that is dealing with particularly painful emotions and feeling somewhat lost in it all, I’m not suggesting that yoga nidra alone is a practice to rely on. Sharing with a therapist is a wonderful way to navigate a new path to self love.
As always, if this post has touched you in some way and you know of a girlfriend that could benefit from it, please share the love.