For Women Only: Stop Shaming Away Your Period

You know the drill.  It’s getting to be that time of the month again, but you probably don’t know it because you’re too busy or your cycle is too unpredictable to keep up with.  Your sleep is restless, your lower back and thighs ache, emotions seem out of control and are sprinkled with self loathing and deprecating thoughts.  You take it out on the ones closest to you.  It happens to the best of us but no one really talks about it because, frankly, its not our best side.  menses_2

Then, finally….like a long awaited exhale, your period comes staining any cotton in sight.  Your reaction? Plug it up and take your choice of pain killers until it’s gone. Your mantra during this week might be something like, “I got places to go and things to do and this Red River is not going to get in my way.”

Let’s flip the script and consider the ideal way to honor your cycle instead of the usual fear and loathing.  Now, somewhere between your usual reaction and what I’m about to suggest will lie your reality.  I always tell my clients about the spectrum of possibilities with the ideal perfection on one end and the worst possible scenario on the other end.  Somewhere in the middle, you will find your reality and your personal balance which will bring you better health.  Take what works for you. Leave what doesn’t.

First of all, let’s start at the floodgates.  menstruation-quotes-2

Choose pads instead of tampons.  Especially during those first few hours or days of heavy bleeding.  Let it flow baby.  It wants to be liberated – so let it.  Sure pads are messier and bulkier than a tampon.  Deal with it. Harbor no toxic feelings or thoughts of disgust toward your inner fluids.  Allow the natural cleansing to happen.  Choose a nice fluffy cotton pad and get comfy. I haven’t tried the Party In My Pants product yet, but I’ve always wanted to.  It’s a washable underpant that has a built in pad.


Harbor no toxic feelings or thoughts of disgust toward your inner fluids


 

So you’ve started to bleed, now what?

Rest. Read. Relax.  As much as you can for at least the first couple of days.  Maybe for you that means taking a cab to work instead of biking.  Skip any rigorous workouts.  This is probably the most important piece of advice I can offer.  The metabolic focus here should be on the shedding of the lining of your uterus, NOT jogging, jumping, running, and yes….headstanding. ESPECIALLY HEADSTANDING. Don’t even think about inverting yourself in any yoga poses.  We want gravity to assist in the natural down and outward flow.

Got cramps? 

Use caster oil packs.  They work, and are a great way to stop and nourish yourself with stillness.  Also, fresh ginger tea during this week can help alleviate cramps.  With repetition of the simple tips in this article, the severity of pain during your cycle will diminish.

Other advice:

  • Stop taking herbs and supplements during your period.  Of course any doctor recommended prescriptions should be taken as usual.
  • Eat what you want. This is not a time for dieting.  If you listen to your inner fire, it will tell you what it wants to eat.
  • Take aloe juice. One week before bleeding, take 1-3 ounces of aloe juice twice a day after your biggest meals. Use the bitter kind in the supplement section at your local health food store.
  • Do gentle, restorative yoga.  Youtube is a great resource for finding menstruation friendly restorative yoga practices.
  • Sex should be avoided. Sorry sister.

So the bleeding is over….

Now is the time for those rigorous workouts you love so much.  Your lunar cycle happens to be wmenses_3axing or growing as the body is re-building those lost cells and replenishing lost reproductive tissue.  Herbs to take are ashwagandha for vata types, and shatavari for kapha or pitta types.  Vata and pitta can prepare 1/2 teaspoon of the herb mixture in one cup of warm milk.  Kapha types should use hot water.  Daily warm oil massage should be done with a focus on breast and lymphatic tissue. Two weeks after bleeding, shift into a more nourishing practice and lifestyle.  Chill out on the rigorous workouts. After ovulation, you are in a waning, or cleansing/depleting phase.  Honor and support it by being gentle and easy with yourself.  Tune your closest loved ones in to your cycle and ask for their support. In the long run, you will be a happier, more relaxed you.  Not just before and during your period, but all month long.  Remember that natural remedies are longer lasting, but they take a little more endurance and effort to get started.  Have faith, determination, and patience with yourself.

Caster Oil Pack

Menstrual cramps can be debilitating.  According to Ayurveda, one should read, rest, and relax during their period.  Unfortunately, in our fast paced western society, we are not afforded this rest time.  BUT….we have our Ayurvedic arsenal to gain power over our cramps and find relief! A castor oil pack is a potent way to treat abdominal cramping and break up stagnation during menstruation.  Apply a castor oil pack up to twice a day at the onset of menses. Ginger tea is also a potent treatment for cramps.  If PMS symptoms are severe, take 2-4 ounces of aloe juice 2x per day one week before the bleeding is expected.

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To do your at home castor oil pack, you’ll need the following ::
  • 1-2 ounces organic caster oil
  • 2 foot sheet of plastic wrap
  • hot water bottle or hot water bag
  • old bath towel
Directions ::

Warm the caster oil slightly by placing the bottle of caster oil in a cup or pot of hot water for a few minutes. The oil should be slightly warmer than body temperature.  It does not need to be hot.

Find a comfortable place where you can relax for about 15 – 20 minutes.

Massage the abdomen with the warm castor oil using slow clockwise circular movements and swift downward strokes. Use moderate pressure.

Place the plastic wrap over the castor oil.

Place the towel over the plastic wrap.

Place the warm water bottle or hot water bag over the towel.

Stay in this position for 15 – 20 minutes. Play relaxing music, watch TV, or light candles. Breath calmly.

Benefits and actions of castor oil ::

Castor oil is a powerful substance that penetrates the skin, joints, and muscles.  It is used externally for inflammation, cysts, tumors, lumps, congestion, burning eyes, eczema, and psoriasis. Castor oil is considered the king of medicinals for curing data and arthritic diseases. It is warm, oily, catabolic, heavy, and acts as a laxative.

Energetics of castor oil ::

Rasa – sweet, pungent, astringent

Virya – heating

Vipaka – sweet

Effect on dosha – VPK-, P+ in excess

Effect of tissues and channels – plasma, blood, muscle, fat, digestive, excretory, circulatory