Menstrual Cycle Awareness
Charting ~ Get to know your cycle by marking each day on a chart, a calendar (digital or paper), through an Instagram story, period or fertility app, Excel Spreadsheet or in your journal (Day 1 is the first full flow day and doesn’t include any spotting leading up to the first full flow day)
Methods ~ It can prove useful to use more than one tracking method as your practice grows to deepen your understanding and insights but let it work for your life, find a sustainable method that you enjoy
Timing ~ I find it useful to keep notes in my iCal on a Menstrual Cycle Awareness calendar or in my phone notes and then take 2 minutes to update my chart retrospectively the following morning. Explore finding a way that works for you life
Less is more ~ For example you might use an app to record your period days and waking BBT (for conception, contraception or health purposes) and a chart or journal to record how you feel each day, your tendencies and any significant dreams, events or insights you might have. Less is more sometimes. Better to have a sustainable practice rather than a laborious one you won’t be able to stick to. One word a day could be a good place to start
Inspiration ~ It can be difficult at first to know what to write, to some this comes very naturally to others less so. I have some prompts I can share with you if this is your experience.
Observing ~ Grow to understand, accept and cooperate with your cycle by observing your shifting moods, energy levels and tendencies each day
Quiet close attention ~ Throughout each day pay quiet, close attention to your moods, emotions, energy levels, needs, wants and tendencies and make time each day to note them on your chart or in your journal
Review ~ At the end of each cycle take a little time to review your chart and any notes and reflect on what has arisen and shown up through your cycle. This can be a time to reflect on any changes you might need to make and how you might be better prepared for the next. For any Excel/data nerds out there I have an Excel template that I use for cycle analysis
Share ~ Having a cycle tracking buddy can be incredible useful and can help with validating your experience and uncovering insights and patterns through talking it through. The Wild Woman Club community on Facebook is a great source of menstrual cycle awareness inspiration and insight and of course I am always available for sessions if you want to delve in more deeply
Inner Seasons ~ Come to know the seasons and transitions of your cycle and how best to support each phase
Swim downstream ~ As familiarity with the shifting currents of the cycle builds, menstrual cycle awareness invites us to honour the shifting moods and tendencies, accepting and cooperating with the cycle rather than working against it
Discover your inner rhythms ~ A great way to do this is to view the phases of the cycle like the seasons of nature and to begin to explore your own unique rhythms in relation to each phase
Flow with your flow ~ Over time you may discover the phases of your cycle that are best for particular activities and approaches, when you want to be out in the world, when you want to retreat, when you are creative, productive and when you are an unstoppable, boundaried as fuck power bitch
Patterns not predictors ~ Learning your patterns without letting them become predictors, a bit like stepping out to test the weather rather than checking the weather app
Take a stand for rhythm ~ The menstrual cycle can be the ultimate tool for avoiding burnout and taking the rest that you need to live a full life. In the words of Alexandra Pope ~ never let your need for rest be regarded as a weakness.
The Seasons of the Cycle
Each of the 4 phases of the menstrual cycle and the transitions between can be viewed through the lens of nature's seasons.
In nature the seasons change on a fluid continuum, each shift inviting in different physical, emotional and psychological experiences. We too move through seasons on a fluid continuum, as our inner seasons shift so too our experience of our inner landscape.
To come to know the unique and ever changing experience of the inner seasons is a powerful tool for self-understanding, self-enquiry and self-care.
The menstrual cycle awareness chart uses a 30 day cycle as a guide but please know a normal cycle can vary from 21-35 days and the seasons within that will be different to that outlined below. They are in quadrants for ease of design but each season may not be of equal duration.
The seasons are individual to each person and are to be approached with real freedom of interpretation and flexibility.
Each cycle and each person's experience will be different. You will grow to know your own seasons as your practice develops.
Menstrual Cycle Awareness Chart
How To Use
Working from the middle out...
The inner segment with the round circle is for marking the lunar day Lunarium and Time and Date are great for this
The next segment with the numbers is the days of the menstrual cycle (print the chart double sided for cycles longer than 30 days side two becomes 31)
The next long blank segment is for noting significant symptoms, moods, emotions, events, energy levels or whatever you feel will help you gain a better understanding of your cycle
The next small blank segment is for the date
The outermost segment that runs as a circle around the whole chart has many different uses. A friend of mine uses colour coding, I do something similar. You may wish to mark the seasons of your cycle and transition at the end during your cycle analysis or you might like to use it for additional notes
I often have much more to write then fits in these small segments so as you will see in the example chart I write around the edge and sometimes on the back!
I also like to use the inner segment to mark my menstrual cycle flow rate, cervical mucus and moon phase zodiac and usually keep a tally in the corner of sexual contact, times I cried, creative days, conflict and masturbation as a measure of my emotional wellbeing each cycle. The options for tracking are endless!
Below is an example chart for a 24 day cycle...
Menstrual Cycle Awareness Coaching
Private 1:1 Menstrual Cycle Awareness Coaching
I offer private 1:1 coaching in person or over the phone/via Skype. The sessions are completely personal to each woman and guided by her own experience of the cycle. They are a mix of informative and experiential and predominantly focus on sharing to build understanding and insight.
The sessions can be tailored to fit your particular needs, interests and issues.
More information on these sessions can be found on my private sessions page.
Menstrual cycle awareness is my life's biggest passion and I live and breathe this work. I have acquired many tools, tips and techniques over the years of my own practice, work with my mentors and with other women and would be so glad to share those with you should that be what you are looking for but my intention is not for these sessions to be teachings from me but rather a space for you to tap back into your wild intuition and to discover the deep current of insights, clarity and wisdom that you hold within.
By signing up to become a Patron at any level you will receive a Menstrual Cycle Awareness bundle to include all information, charting prompts, analysis templates and charts. If you sign up to the 'Flow' tier you will receive monthly coaching for $20 a month! This package includes...
1:1 session - A monthly bespoke menstrual cycle awareness 1:1 session via phone or Skype (in person is an option too if I know you and you live nearby). In these sessions we will work with the principles of Know, Grow & Flow to deepen into your experience of menstrual cycle awareness.
Cycle analysis - at the end of each cycle (if you're into Excel I have a spreadsheet I can share with you otherwise we'll find your way). An opportunity to pick up on patterns, explore power days and how to take care of your sensitive and challenging days
Regular follow up - emails to share your cycle insights and to answer any questions you might have
A one time 20% discount code - to use against any of my events
How I found this work...
My grandma gave me my first journal at the age of 11, the same age I had my first bleed. I always wondered if this wasn’t as much of a coincidence as it later seemed. Whether she intended this or not, I instinctively began marking the first day of my period in my journal with a star and always made a note of my mood each day. Little did I know that these simple and innocent mood notes were in fact the basis for the menstrual cycle awareness techniques that I now use and were creating a lifetime of information about my early cycles and menstrual experience. An absolute treasure trove for me now as an adult.
My introduction to menstrual life wasn’t marked with any magic and I suffered incredible pain and mood swings my entire life. The only suggestion by doctors and friends was to go on the pill, something I instinctively never felt I wanted to do. The pain became so bad in my late 20s that twice I had to pull over on the side of the road to be sick; whilst wailing and moaning with pains I had never felt before and the mood swings were so bad I was regularly lashing out and feeling suicidal in the premenstruum. Despite all of this, I still felt I didn’t want pain medication or hormonal contraception. I felt deep in my bones that this pain was a message and I just needed to learn how to hear it.
I finally heard the message in November 2017 during my Well Woman Yoga Therapy Training with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and had my first pain free bleed during that training. This was a message I couldn’t unhear and transformed the way I live my life, plan my work and manage my relationships. Cooperating with my body rather than working against it has become my life's work.
Training and Credentials
As my friend and fellow Menstrual Cycle Awareness enthusiast, Vickie Williams, once said. 'I'm a woman, that's my training' and I wholeheartedly agree. I also live and breathe this work each and every day of my life. My menstrual cycle is the foundation from which the rest of my life grows. I have facilitated women's circles since 2016, regular Well Woman Yoga classes since 2017 and have seen many women 1:1 to discuss their periods which over time has exposed me to the goldmine of many different experiences of menstruation and the menstrual cycle.
Well Woman Yoga Therapy with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli ~ November 2017
Menstrual Cycle Awareness practice since 2012, cycle tracking since 1999