How Yoga helps support our life’s natural cycles
This article was written with a wide variety of people in mind. Each of us are at different stages of our lives, this article is offered as an introduction as to how Yoga can help support us all.
Something in common that we all have? We’re here to learn how to improve our health whilst journeying through the different phases of life that we naturally experience.
Right now, the way social, cultural, professional and familial expectations are laid at our feet, life doesn’t allow much time for us to tune in to our natural rhythms. It also doesn’t provide us with the tools we need in order to tune in, even if we wanted to.
It truly is a big endeavour as a woman, to live our lives, be successful, fulfilled, fantastic mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, civil partners etc, as well as all the other expectations we hold ourselves up to. How would we ever find the means to also tune in to the natural rhythms of our bodies and cycles and support our health in that way too?
Surely it’s asking too much?!
I’m here to say that it doesn’t have to be this way.
We can get the movement that our bodies crave, the mental stillness that our minds require, the spiritual growth that our deepest selves yearn for – all we need to do is look in the right place.
I believe there is more than one right place for us all. Where I go to support my health as a woman might not be where you go, and vice versa. So I’m here to cover Yoga, to explain how Yoga practices, meditations and philosophy are here to help us learn about ourselves, tune into our rhythms, listen to our bodies and the symphonies of hormonal transformations and honour what we need.
If we can find what supports us, we will have more energy to be the true version of ourselves. The other areas of our lives won’t suffer. They’ll flourish. Because we have taken care of ourselves just as we need, so that we can give to our families, society, home and careers.
This is a short article that will briefly touch on a few phases of life that we may experience and how Yoga practises can support us throughout these.
If you are a woman that experiences menstruation, you know deeply how days can be coloured completely differently depending on where you happen to be in your cycle.
Yoga offers us many different practises. When we’re talking about the physical practise of Yoga asana, we can choose Yoga class styles based on how much energy we have.
I would like to preface this paragraph to say that every body is different, I will speak to my experience of what I commonly see, however I often see the converse. Usually, around the time of ovulation we may tend to feel more extroverted, confident and full of energy. Then just before and during our periods we feel more introverted, thoughtful, sensitive and perhaps lower in energy. Side note: this isn’t true for everyone, some women have bursts of energy throughout the time that they are experiencing their period – listen to what’s natural for you and take the lead from there.
Listen to your cycle, what does it tell you?
The time that you have more energy would be a great time to head to your nearest Vinyasa class (Classic Furie at Yogafurie) or Power Yoga class (Fierce Furie at Yogafurie). This way we can build strength, stability and flexibility when our bodies are inclined to have that amount of energy.
If you do tend to feel lower in energy at certain times of your cycle, head to your nearest Restorative, Yin or Slow Flow class. Try practising more meditation and Yoga Nidras. Build up your stores and nurture your body at this time – it pays off later in your cycle when you have the extroverted energy once more!
Even the act of simply listening to your monthly cycle and honouring how your natural energy ebbs and flows with a small mix up of your Yoga practice can have a profound effect on your health, energy levels and wellbeing.
The things that our bodies can do really are magic.
Yoga, meditation and relaxation practises can greatly support a woman’s health and the health of her baby throughout pregnancy.
Of course, our bodies experience big changes, including hormonal as well as physical.
From the first trimester our bodies begin producing lots of the hormone relaxin, which does exactly what it says on the tin! It relaxes our tendons and ligaments, so that our hips can get ready for growing a baby and then of course, birthing the baby. This means we want to be careful with deep stretches, however a Yoga practice can help us stay strong and balanced.
Finding your nearest Pregnancy Yoga class run by a trained Pregnancy Yoga teacher is the best idea. You’ll practise Yoga that heals and nourishes, you’ll become part of a community of women going through similar experiences – a great sense of support throughout a time of such change, and you’ll likely even be shown useful birth positions and breath practises to use during labour.
Meditation and certain breath practices are key to keeping your stress levels low, helping you cope better with the world’s demands whilst growing a human. This also has a positive effect on the health of your child in utero!
This is an interesting time! Certainly the first few weeks, or 6 or longer, you will be recovering from birth. Depending on the kind of birth experience you had, you may have a lot of healing to do, or relatively little.
Either way, you’re also likely to have a newborn baby glued to you night and day!
Your sleep may be hugely disrupted, as well as a lot of other changes to your life.
This is where Yoga Nidra and meditation come in SO handy! Those early days are a haze of wonder, awe, and (in my experience) zero sleep. Yoga Nidra and meditation are deeply restorative practises that offer you much needed rest and relaxation. The tools you learn and the mental space you provide to yourself can offer you ways to cope with such huge changes to your life and enjoy the new person in your life.
The best thing? You can do these anytime! Baby fell asleep on you? Cluster feeding? No problem, stick on a meditation and let yourself enjoy the stillness.
When you’re feeling ready, you can begin to approach the physical practice once more. This really does depend on your healing journey, how strong you feel, how much energy you have, how much support you can get looking after your little one. So don’t put yourself under pressure to begin this too soon, you will find the time, energy and motivation soon enough!
Menopause is a phenomenal transformation that us women experience. Looking at other cultures, it’s an honour, a transition into a new role in society that is well respected and revered. Unfortunately it doesn’t feel quite the same in our society, and the theory is that as a result we experience stronger symptoms of the change. This includes hot flushes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, low mood, anxiety and more.
From speaking to so many women who attend Yogafurie, and learning a little about the menopause form doctors, nutritionists and other health progfessionals, this doesn’t need to be a time of struggle that then leads to a feeling of being invisible in society.
One source of inspiration for me was Daphne, a member of Yogafurie Hot Yoga in Bristol, who found that the Hot Yoga practise helped her get through the menopause with little struggle. You can read her story here. She experienced many of the symptoms including hot flushes and insomnia, however the tools Daphne learned in Hot Yoga helped her to manage these symptoms with relative ease.
Again, listening to your body is advised here. Do you have a lot of frustration or stress? Could this energy be burned through a methodical practice?
Are you experiencing achey joints or feeling a loss of strength? Gently encouraging your bones, connective tissues and muscles to strengthen with Hatha Yoga (classes such as Dreamtime, Glow Flow or Freedom Flow) are great ways to deal with this. Not to mention the extra suppleness, a feeling of more energy and less stress!
There are many ways Yoga can help us as women take care of our health and well-being. Yoga is an ancient, rich and vast tradition with and endless variety of practices. There is always so much available to support us throughout the different cycles of our lives.
So where to get started? You can join me on Sunday 29th January for our Winter Boost Day Retreat at Yogafurie studio in Bristol for an entire day of Yoga, movement, relaxation, meditation, nourishing food and more. You can find out more by following the link below:
Making Yoga practices and philosophy accessible, I will offer a variety of thoughtful practices throughout the day that will nourish your body, nurture your intuition and help you cultivate a wellness “toolkit” of practices to take with you into your daily life.
Beginners to Yoga are welcome! This class is a healer for all body types and capabilities. You don’t need any prior Yoga experience or knowledge to enjoy this class and take home wonderful rituals to support your health.
Not local or can’t make that day? Don’t worry! You can join Yogafurie Online to try a range of different class styles depending on your mood, energy levels and level of experience with Yoga. Click here to discover hours of Yoga and mediation online.
Wishing you an abundance of wellness, energy and great health!