Why cyclical yoga?
We live in a world with natural rhythms and cycles. Our body has natural rhythms and cycles (circadian rhythm, plus our inner systems- endocrine, immune, nervous).
But the Western world looks at life in a linear way. Even thing has an end and a beginning. Start. Stop. The day begins, the day ends. Our period starts, our period ends- the rest of the month is just period free. In reality, there is so much more going on!
If you’ve practiced with me in the last few years, then you would have practiced some form of cyclical yoga. Though I have been drawn to Chinese Medicine for a few years, it’s only within the past 3-4 years that I have started honoring the cycles and rhythms that happen naturally in nature and within my body.
Here are some examples of cycles:
*the seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn... and the cycle begins again)
*the menstrual cycle (menses, follicular/ post menses, ovulation, luteal/ post ovulation...)
*moon cycle (New Moon, waxing, Full Moon, waning...)
*the cycle of the day (midnight, sunrise, midday, sunset...)
*cycle of life (birth, adolescence, adulthood, old age, death...)
*manifestation (intention, planning/ decision making, full manifestation, assimilation, period of completion...)
*cycle of breath (inhale, pause, exhale, pause...)
*nervous system stress response (awaken arousal, signal threat, mobilize a response, restore coherence, digest the gristle...)
I’ve found that the practice of living in deeper intimacy with nature’s cycles supports my growth, health, spirituality, & creativity.
By tuning in and paying attention, I can feel the shifts happening in my body as we move within the cycle of the year and the cycle of my body. My energy shifts, the foods I crave change, my Yoga practice shifts. When I honor this, I feel a deeper connection to myself and the world around me.
"Every month, 1.8 billion of us across the world menstruate, yet it still feels taboo to discuss. Let's break the stigma around our periods so we can celebrate what a beautiful source of life they are and how we can tune in to love our bodies." Elix Healing via Instagram
Our menstrual cycle is more than just the few days we're bleeding. Bringing in awareness of our entire 28 day (more or less) cycle can help us with PMS, painful periods, fertility, and more.
In Chinese Medicine, there are 5 seasons, which correspond to 5 elements, meridians, and organ pairs.
You may choose to adapt your yoga practice to the season, the amount of sunlight, the outside temperature, and/or the organ pairs/ meridians.
You may already notice that your energy shifts throughout the year. Tuning into this awareness can help you find balance.
It takes 29.5 days for the Moon to cycle through all 8 phases (from New Moon to New Moon), though it takes 27 days for the Moon to orbit fully around the Earth.
The Moon affects our sleep, our energy, our emotions.
We can align with the Moon cycle and sync our body with the flow of nature. Adjusting our yoga practice to flow with these phases can be a beautiful thing.