What are the Seasons of the Menstrual Cycle?

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 - your period and ovulation.

What does your cycle look like?

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.

Inner Winter
Menstruation | New Moon

Energy - Inner Winter is a time to rest, restore and preserve energy. 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!

Movement - Match your movement and activities to how you feel, make it gentle and restorative. Gentle Walks, Yin, Nidra, Mindful Stretching. 

Whats happening in your body?

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.

Inner Spring
Pre Ovulation | Waxing Moon

Energy -  Inner Spring is an opportunity to cherish yourself, remember your innocence, be curious and play.  Don't go too big too soon! Allow things to unfold rather than pushing them, it’s important to create boundaries to manage your energy. Like a little sprouting seed, nurture and go slow as you transition from Inner Winter (period/new moon) to Inner Spring, allow time for your hormones to rise and give you the energy you need.

Movement - Vinyasa, Cardio, Strength Training, Running and Cycling

What's happening in your body?

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 communicates with the ovaries to get going and prepare an egg.

The uterus gets busy rebuilding the lining that was shed during your last period and becomes thicker to prepare for a potential fertilised egg to find its home and begin to grow.

Inner Summer
Ovulation | Full Moon

Energy - During the Inner Summer phase, you may find your energy peaks (in a balanced cycle). Summer is about showing up and celebrating who you are, stepping into the fullness of yourself.  You may find yourself a social butterfly, able and happy to communicate and share yourself with the world.  This can be a time of motivation, passion and expansion. But just because you have more energy doesn't mean you need to give it all away, it’s ok to keep some back for you.

Movement - HIIT, Cardio, Power Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Spin Classes, Boot Camps, Climbing and Sprinting.

What's happening in your body?

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.

Inner Autumn
Pre-Menstruation | Waning Moon

Energy - During Inner Autumn energy starts to ground, it's time to start reserving your energy, slow it down, go inwards, and allow yourself to reflect. Autumn invites you to come back to yourself, restoring balance back to the body after the peak of summer.

Autumn can be a wonderful time of creativity and reflection, you can use that energy in your practice to get creative on the mat too. It is also the time to purge and detox the body, letting go of things that haven't been serving you. You may also find you have less tolerance here, so remember boundaries are your best friend to balance your energy.

Movement - Hatha, Resistance training, Pilates, Walking, Swimming, Low Cardio

What's happening in your body?

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.

How to use your cycle to create more ease in your life.

It's so very tempting to just keep pushing through, isn't it? The fear of not achieving enough in the time we have each day is the ever-present driving force behind burnout!

BUT operating from exhaustion WILL always end up in you becoming a human puddle! So the next time that little voice in your head tells you to rest, listen to it!

So often I see peeps struggle to balance all the different parts of their life, wearing all the different hats, working all the hours, running a busy household and struggling to factor in time for them because....

👉  They don't realise how impactful the effects of their hormones can be on their energy and motivation!

If you haven't started charting your cycle whether that's the moon cycle or menstrual cycle then here's your invitation to start! Download your FREE charting tool here

I promise once you get going it's a 3-minute-a-day habit and will help you begin to anticipate the fluctuations of energy y you experience. Which means you won't be blindsided by them any more.

Once you know WHAT'S happening and WHEN in your cycle, you can start to plan around it and once you know WHEN to do WHAT, things become a lot easier!