Your period is not the same as your menstrual cycle!
It's actually quite a common misconception, especially if you are not practising cycle awareness, so you might not realise that your period is only just a small part of your cycle.
Your cycle is something that is happening all the time, and you are constantly part of it. It is actually made up of two halves and those are divided by two prominent poles. Menstruation (your Period) and ovulation.
What is the cycle
Your cycle is calculated from the first day you bleed and typically lasts anything between 21 & 35 days.
The cycle has four main phases both biologically and energetically speaking. The more awareness you have about your cycle the more you get to understand who you are during each phase and that is where the magic begins to happen. Let's have a closer look at the cycle and think of it in more tangible terms by using the seasons of the year.
Menstruation - Inner Winter
This is the phase we all know about because it's when we bleed, this is not just blood but also the shedding of the uterine lining and old tissue through your cervix and vagina.
It generally lasts about 5 to 6 days and estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest and we are at our most tired. You might not feel like it but this is an incredibly powerful time.
The week of your period is the Winter of your cycle. It is a time to take rest, restore and preserve energy. It is wise to match your movement and activities for how you feel with gentle movement.
What you do at menstruation is key in setting yourself up in the best way possible for the month ahead and it all starts with rest. Rest is not a reward a basic human right! So resist the temptation to keep on pushing, or to keep layering expectations. It's ok to do less!
Pre Ovulation - Follicular Phase - Inner Spring
This is between the first day of your period and ovulation. Estrogen rises as you may start to feel your own energy rise. The pituitary gland produces communicates with the ovaries to get going and prepare an egg.
The uterus gets busy rebuilding the lining that was shed on your last period and becomes thicker to prepare for a potential fertilised egg to find its home and begin to grow.
It's also the Spring of your cycle and an opportunity to cherish yourself, remember your innocence, be curious and play. Nurture your being and allow things to unfold rather than pushing them, it’s important to create boundaries to manage yourself.
Like a little sprouting seed, nurture yourself, go slow as you transition from winter to spring, allow time for your hormones to rise and give you the energy you need.
Ovulation - Inner Summer
During ovulation, an egg is released from your ovaries and makes its way along the fallopian tubes. It then waits for a friendly sperm to rock its world and create a baby while the uterine walls continue to thicken. Estrogen is at its peak and you also get a cheeky testosterone bump.
During ovulation your Inner Summer phase, your energy peaks. Summer is about showing up in the world as you are, stepping into the fullness of yourself. Celebrate who you are!
You may find yourself a social butterfly, able and happy to communicate and share yourself with the world. Move the body in new and challenging ways building heat and fire in the body. This can be a time of motivation, passion and expansion
Pre Menstruation - Luteal Phase - Inner Autumn
The week prior to your period energy starts to ground, think of it like the Autumn of our cycle. It's time to start reserving your energy, slow it down and go inwards, allow yourself to reflect. Autumn invites you to come back to yourself, restoring balance back to the body after the peak of summer. Time to shed everything that is no longer serving you and get ready for Winter.
This phase is about 14 days long. After ovulation, oestrogen starts to dip before it rises again as progesterone continues to rise and we start to slow things down. Once your body realises there is no baby happening, it prepares for menstruation and the lining of the uterus starts to break down. Both estrogen and progesterone plummet towards the end of this phase and the body begins menstruation.