Menstrual Cycle Awareness
Get to know your cycle by marking each day on a chart, a calendar, through an Instagram story, app or in your journal (Day 1 is the first full flow day and doesn’t include spotting)
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
For example you might use an app to record temperature (for conception or contraception purposes), first day of bleed, symptoms and more and a chart or journal to record how you feel each day, your tendencies and any significant dreams, events or insights you might have
Grow to understand, accept and cooperate with your cycle by observing your shifting moods, energy levels and tendencies each day
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
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
Come to know the seasons and transitions of your cycle and how best to support each phase
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
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
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.
Below I have used the days that relate to a typical 28 day cycle as a guide but a normal cycle can vary from 21-35 days and the seasons within that will be different to that outlined below. The seasons are individual to each person and to be approached with real freedom of interpretation and flexibility. Each cycle and each person's experience will be different. The days I have used below are for approximate guidance only your inner feeling will tell you what it is for you.
Menstrual Cycle Awareness Coaching
Private 1:1 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.
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 relationship. This has become my work.
As my friend and fellow Menstrual Cycle Awareness enthusiast, Vickie Williams, once said. 'I'm a woman, that's my training' but also I live this work each and every day of my life. My menstrual cycle is the foundation from which the rest of my life grows. I also host monthly women's circles and regular Well Woman Yoga classes which focus around the sharing of experiences of menstruation which over time has exposed me to the goldmine of many different experiences of menstruation and the menstrual cycle.
Conscious Menstrual Cycle Awareness since 2012, cycle tracking since 1999
Well Woman Yoga Therapy with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli ~ November 2017
I am forever grateful to Red School, Claire Baker and Maisie Hill for their incredible work in this area and for Uma Dinsmore-Tuli for bringing them to my attention.
How To Use
Working from the middle out...
The next segment with the numbers is the days of the menstrual cycle (print double sided for cycles longer than 30 days)
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 is for use at the end of your cycle. In this circle you can mark the seasons of your cycle and transition days if you wish to. You may prefer to use it for additional notes
Below is an example chart...
I also like to use the inner segment to mark my menstrual cycle flow rate, cervical mucus and moon phase zodiac, often add additional notes around the edge for significant events and also usually keep a tally in the corner of sexual contact, times I cried and conflict as a measure of my emotional wellbeing each cycle. The options for tracking are endless!
Menstrual Cycle Awareness Chart