The monthly release

Why do we menstruate every month? And how do we look at our monthly bleed in Ayurveda?

Well, our period is not the only event during our cycle. Throughout the month hormones are changing and we do not yet understand the full extent as to how these changes affect us. Our cycle is often just thought of as part of fertility – the highlights being ovulation and menstruation. But there is more to it than that. The different hormones do have other functions affecting our moods, cardiovascular system, muscle and bone health.

In Ayurveda, we can relate the hormonal changes to the Doshas. In this blog, we looked at the premenstrual phase. Now we will look at the menstruation phase.

The lunar cycle starts with the first day we bleed. Traditionally we can relate this to the moon phase of the dark/new moon. We are literally flowing with the moon as I wrote about in this blog. If we track our cycle the first day of bleeding is day 1.

Vata dosha and our periods

Menstruation is governed by Vata Dosha, specifically Apana Vayu. This is the downward movement of Prana in our being. It is not only responsible for our periods but also elimination such as urination and bowel movements, of ejaculation and childbirth. For a healthy period, our Apana Vayu needs to be in balance. However, it is also rather unstable (as Vata is in general) and can quickly get deranged.

During our menstruation, we need to keep our Vata in check. First of all honouring, it’s natural flow downwards and out. Allowing the letting go and release. This means we might want to use pads or special period pants like these. It also means that we want to allow our pelvic floor to just do its own thing. If anything allowing it to relax and release. In fact, menstruation seems to be the perfect time to let go. Our body is releasing the uterine lining coloured by bleeding. Maybe it is time for us to release any unnecessary tension, anxieties and stress too?

A balanced bleed

To create the perfect environment for this time we can truly hibernate and enjoy Vata pacifying routines such as staying warm and cosy, taking it slow, eat easily digestible foods such as kitcheri, soups and casseroles, drink warm water or tea. It is time to just be and a bit of introspection. If our cycle had seasons this would be winter time. A perfect time to practise yoga nidra instead of a super active yoga practise (read and listen more about yoga/exercise during your period here).

It is a perfect time to check in with how you are feeling? How did the last month go? Without judgement notice what is going on with you and what your intentions are for the coming month?

Enjoy your bleeding time as a time of nourishment and nurturing. Prepare by doing most of your shopping and chores before your period. Can you “do” what you “have to do” before your menstruation so that you can enjoy your downtime whilst bleeding?

Now, I would love to know what are your favourite self-care practices when you are bleeding?