Women’s monthly cycles have 4 distinct phases that impact our mood and energy levels. These phases are predictable in a way that can teach us to be more aware of ourselves. This is the idea usually called “cycle syncing”. It is when we can align our exercise, work, self-care, and what we eat with our menstrual cycle to feel more in sync with our body’s natural rhythms.
Our womb carries tremendous wisdom if we choose to tap into it. In some cultures, the female menstrual cycle was welcomed as a blessing and celebrated as a great gift of fertility and femininity.
Becoming a woman, we are biologically connected to the cycles and rhythms of the moon. Many women even refer to their menstruation as their ‘moon -time’. The words ‘menses’, ‘moon’, and ‘month’ all come from the same root word meaning to measure. For centuries, humans measured time by the light of the moon. Each lunar cycle is 29.5 days – roughly the average length of our female cycle. When we connect to our cyclical nature, we are able to better understand our natural fluctuations – physically, mentally, and emotionally. This rhythmic blueprint is the source of all creation and a doorway to healing, transformation, and growth.
Like the moon, our cycle can be broken down into four main phases: the beginning (new moon), rising (waxing moon), peak (full moon), and dissolution (waning moon).
NEW MOON (Days 1-7: Early Follicular Phase)
During this phase, it is important to take time to be still, relax and reflect. In the resting of our body and mind we create space for rejuvenation.
Our body is literally letting go of old energy so that we can create space for the new. What to do to support our physical body during this phase: Restorative and yin yoga along with yoga nidra and meditation, a time for retreating and prioritizing self-care as much as possible, focus on eating foods that are high in fiber, iron, zinc, and antioxidants.
We may feel tired and lack overall drive. This is a great time to reflect on what you would like to leave behind as well as what you would like to bring forward. Accessing other realms is easier during this phase. Intuition, sensitivities and insights are heightened. What to do to support ourselves mentally during this phase: Reduce external distractions. It is a time to ask ourselves what we want to bring forward and to set intentions for the next cycle. You may want to surround yourself with people who don’t drain your energy.
If we do not take time to be alone, feelings of irritability and distress will arise. Journaling and giving ourselves permission to let emotions flow can help clarity. What to do to support ourselves emotionally during this phase: Journaling and giving ourselves permission to let emotions flow can help clarity. Allow yourself to slow down, go inward, and take time for yourself on the new moon.
WAXING MOON (Days 7-14: Late Follicular Phase / Pre-ovulation)
This phase starts after the bleeding has stopped. For some, it may be felt during the final days of menstruation. Our body feels lighter and renewed. Because our body has the capacity to do more, it is a great time to start a cleanse or a new workout.
This phase is all about renewed energy and planting seeds in all areas of your life. What to do to support our physical body during this phase: the perfect time for a spa night and refreshing your living space, focus on eating protein-rich foods, which can help support muscle growth and repair. Stronger yoga practices are encouraged to regain strength in the body, especially inversions.
During this phase, you are likely to feel more creative, upbeat, and optimistic. You have an opportunity to be incredibly productive during this phase. This is a period of inspiration and motivation; when our mental acuity is sharp. What to do to support ourselves mentally during this phase: Brainstorming and planning, Try new things, Socializing. Experiment with new ideas and be curious and open to learning new things.
As your light increases, you also feel more attractive and willing to connect with others. Because we tend to be more positive during this time, communication and heart-to-heart conversations can be powerful. What to do to support ourselves emotionally during this phase: Getting together with friends and loved ones, socializing more, and having heart-to-hear conversations with your closest ones.
FULL MOON (Days 14-21: Ovulation)
During this phase, your estrogen and progesterone levels are at their highest, which can boost your mood, energy levels, and libido. You’ll have more stamina, energy, and confidence.
This is a great time to focus on taking advantage of your increased energy levels. Our body is open and ready to create! We may feel very primal, sensual, and full in our beauty. Dress in a way that accentuates your body and makes you feel beautiful. What to do to support our physical body during this phase: In your yoga practice, standing poses and backbends help support the overall feeling of abundance and totality. It’s a perfect time to do your High Intensity Training. Focus on eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.
During this phase, our ability to create and bring something into the world is at its peak. You’ll find it easier to express your ideas and have extra confidence. Even if you’re an introvert, it’s easier to be around people at this point in your cycle and you’ll probably crave it. What to do to support ourselves mentally during this phase: Doing creative projects, planning and prepping, collaborating, put your public speaking on schedule during this phase.
There is a slight shift happening in our energy. In some way, our energy is still moving outwards – making it a great time to make new friends and nurture and support your loved ones. What to do to support ourselves emotionally during this phase: expressing your love and appreciation for loved ones at this point in the cycle can be life-giving!
WANING MOON (Days 21-28: Luteal Phase)
Women experience different physical symptoms during this time depending on their unique hormonal makeup. Some may feel tired, sluggish, and bloated. This stage can be when premenstrual syndrome or PMS may occur.
During this final phase of your cycle, you are likely to still have a little bit of energy reserve left, but it will drop shortly after. It is a good idea to start pulling back a little bit and start prepping for the menstrual phase in terms of workouts What to do to support our physical body during this phase: Practice yoga, light strength training, pilates, low-intensity cardio, focus on eating foods that are high in complex carbohydrates.
During the luteal phase, you might feel more fatigued and less pleasant. Your mind is also more prone to experiencing anxiety and overthinking. This is a powerful and potent time to tune into the esoteric realms. Our intuition is incredibly high. It can be a great time to acknowledge what is and isn’t working – but do not make any major decisions. What to do to support ourselves mentally during this phase: Use the active mind to stir inspiration and creative ideas for the future. It’s a great time for planning, self-analyzing, and project preparation.
Emotions range depending on your unique balance (or imbalance) of hormones. Anxiety, depression, irritability, and moodiness are common indications that this phase has begun. Practice patience and honor your emotions by creating space for self-care. Stick to your daily routines and spend time alone. What to do to support ourselves emotionally during this phase: Try journaling about the emotions that come up this week. It can be helpful to write about what’s bothering you right now and return to these items when you have more energy to take action on them in your waxing moon phase.
Doing this cycle syncing provides many benefits for our bodies, including:
Improve hormonal balance
Reduce PMS symptoms such as bloating, mood swings, and cravings
Make your workout routine more effective
Reduce the risk of injury during a workout
Reduce period symptoms such as period pain and mood swings
Feel more energized and balanced
Provide fertility support and when best to conceive
Better quality of sleep
In conclusion, it is important to note that every person is different and some will experience severe symptoms throughout their cycle whilst others will not be greatly impacted. Understanding cycle syncing can benefit every person who menstruates, especially if you do not feel at your best in all phases of your cycle.