Adapted from Christine Northrup's article: http://www.drnorthrup.com/wisdom-of-menstrual-cycle/
While this may sound like some kind of riddle, or the beginning of a one-liner joke, the connection between these three interact is actually quite fascinating!
Being a full moon last night, I thought this might be particularly interesting for those of you who like to think of the body in more holistic terms!
Let’s start from the beginning.
The first day of menses marks the first day of a new cycle. Often, if your body is in sync, this can also be the time of the “New Moon”. It’s a new beginning, and it is all about movement and flow. In Chinese Medicine, this represents a very “Yang” time – energies improve, creativity can blossom, physical movement and activity often increases, and there is the physical movement of fluids from the body. In Chinese Medicine, you want to promote this flow of qi and blood, and “stagnation” of either can lead to pain, breast tenderness, anxiety, anger.
Before referencing Chinese Medicine too much, let’s look at the basic qualities of yin versus yang:
Yin and yang, while opposite in nature, cannot exist without the other. They flow back and forth. Our menstrual cycles follow a this flow of hormones back and forth which leads to distinct physical, mental, and emotional changes.
Back to the cycle:
Before ovulation occurs, which is when conception can follow, many women find they’re more outgoing, connected with the outside world, energetic, “yang”. At this time however, yin is beginning to develop in preparation for possible conception.
Mid-cycle, when ovulation occurs, receptive nature can begin to take-over, libidos may rise, and a transition begins to occur.
Following ovulation is often a time, yang is at it’s “peak”. Again, if cycles are in tune with the moon, this will be around the time of a Full Moon. Interestingly, it’s been shown that rates of conception, fertility cycle, and menstrual cycles are all correlated with light, the moon, and other environmental signals. Peak rates of conception tend to correspond with the full moon as well! Around the same time, women’s temperatures begin to rise [Basal Body Temperature = BBT, is often a marker used for fertility]. Yin, which has been building through the cycle starts to dominant and women may feel this is time for more introversion and reflection, emotions may run higher. Yin is all about building, nurturing, nesting. Women, like the moon, can experience a “period of darkness”, where the energies and mood may lessen temporarily. In many cultures this is very well understood, accepted, and supported. However, in our less feminine North American cultures, we tend to view many signs of Womanhood as innately “bad” whether it’s moodiness, PMS issues and missed work, the marketing and promotion of the menstrual cycle being an “inconvenience” to be dealt with rather than celebrated as a marker of fertility.
However, listening to our bodies natural cycles may allow us some good insight into how we should be taking care of ourselves, and also understanding that unlike our male counterparts, the cyclical nature of our cycles, emotions, and bodies is something to support, not condone.
As Christine Northrup, a holistic MD who this post was inspired by, states:
“The luteal phase, from ovulation until the onset of menstruation, is when women are most in tune with their inner knowing and with what isn’t working in their lives”.
She also writes that premenstrually,
“the veil between the worlds of the seen and unseen, the conscious and unconscious, is much thinner”, making it an even more powerful time for reflection on life.
So.. yin, yang, the moon? What does all this mean, how do we make sense of this and use it to our advantage?
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Thanks for reading!
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