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Self understanding is a precursor to self love

Self understanding is a precursor to self love

Understanding my cycle is understanding myself. When I took my Well Woman Yoga Therapy training course a couple of years ago with Uma Dinsmore Tuli and was introduced to the work of Alexandra and Sjanie of Red School my whole life changed. I had always tracked my cycle since menarche at 11 but this new knowledge helped me to understand what was happening and why and in turn I began to accept, cooperate and even love my cycle and my body in ways I had previously not even imagined possible.

Without an understanding of what is happening in my body I was quick to dismiss certain symptoms as normal, I found myself dreading the premenstrual phase and the awful cramps, nausea and exhaustion that accompanied bleeding and I reprimanded myself for being so critical and withdrawn as I moved into the waning phase of my cycle and would fall into shame as I found myself incapable of coping with a feral type of rage.

Now I look back I can see that I was body illiterate! We speak of being so developed in the west but a huge proportion of half of our population are not equipped with basic body literacy that is essential for living a healthy and fulfilling life in a woman's body.

To understand what is happening the body and why is a basic human right. We should be taught from before our very first period how we can glean information about our nutritional, emotional, mental and physical needs from the messages our body delivers to us throughout the cycle. We should be taught to decode our cravings and symptoms, to understand the importance of observing the quality and quantity of blood, the quality and consistency of cervical fluid, the length and regularity of the cycle so much more.

We should be empowered in our ebb and our flow and shown how each phase has its own unique power and emotional tone and how this can be so different for each and every woman. We should be taught to have each other's back in empathy and understanding when we're being aggy or antisocial rather than judging or calling each other crazy or premenstrual. How different our experience could be if we were approached with gentleness and understanding when we feel at our worst.

To understand our bodies is to learn to love them. To know what we need is to be able to ask for it and to ask for help is to have more of a chance of those needs being met by the ones we love rather than feeling unseen, unheard and frustrated.

If we can learn to understanding the way we shift and change then perhaps we might have a better chance of coming to love ourselves in wholeness rather than relegating the challenging and difficult parts of ourselves to the shadow realm to play out unconsciously throughout the whole of our lives. (If we can remember that everyone has a double chin when they laugh then maybe we can learn to embrace our smiles without hiding.)

Carly x

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