Menstruation is an important gift and a blessing for women.
Every month, women have a unique opportunity to purity their body and cultivate physical and creative energy (known as "shakti" in Ayurveda), for the month ahead. It is like pulling back the bow to launch into life with vitality.
It is to common that medications, whether it be drugs or herbs, are prescribed to attempt to balance the menstrual cycle. However, all one may need is awareness of this natural stage in life and how-to live-in harmony with it.
Ayurvedic Program for Menstruation
Take time off. REST
During the period of menstruating, activities are best reduced to what is essential so that the body, mind and blood flow can reserve all its energy in the pelvic floor. The body, mind and spirit may flow in accord with the natural rhythms moon and 27 constellations (Naksatras).
Resting the physical body in regard to exercise, movements and travel, ushers the downward flow of energy and blood to purify effortlessly.
Resting the mind from activities like studying, mental work and stress allows the energy and blood flow to move in a downward direction.
This is the time of the month to schedule less work.
This is why men need to be educated about this powerful time for women, because it is this time of the month that they should be taking responsibility for more home chores, shopping, cooking and taking care of the kids.
- If one is unable to rest for the whole period, one should take rest for at least the first 1-2 days.
- Do not sleep during the day – This promotes sluggishness, poor circulation and blocks the channels. If you are undergoing Banana Purification, it is okay to sleep during the day.
- Take it easy - Mental activity and psychical activity reduced. Especially 1st day when heavy bleeding is happening, take day off. Avoid running and excessive exercise, laughing, hearing loud sounds (loud music, crowded places).
Retreating from the normal routine and everyday activities and stressors is necessary so that you may remain mindful of the great transformational experience of shedding the lining of the uterus (endometrium) so that it can be renewed once more.
Be Within Yourself
The menstrual period is a gifted time to naturally slow down. Attune yourselves to go more inward. Maintain positivity during this period.
This helps balance the colon, bladder and hormones.
Vata Pacifying Regimes
- Keep yourself warm, happy (chocolate not required for happiness) more oily foods (ghee).
- Handle cravings comfortably – Some women naturally crave salt or sugar during this period. Try balance salt cravings, and if sugar cravings persist, a glass of hot water or warm milk with spices is an option.
- No baths, light shower is ideal.
- Not cold or hot water, just luke warm – cold is good.
- Shower is best skipped on first day and can be avoided during the whole period.
Why less bathing?
- Activates lymphatic system (like parishek treatment). Also distributes energy to peripheral tissues (skin), when it should be preserved in apana vayu (pelvic floor) for the purification period.
- Vata is prevalent during this time. Vata is dark, cold, excessively moves, erratic and ungrounded. The body at this times needs to be kept protected, cared for, grounded and stabilised with the least degree of intrusion so that the necessary discharge can be pulled by its own rhythm and completed without interruption.
No Swimming or Washing Hair During the Menstrual Cycle
- We need to safeguard the body against the persuasive rhythm of the water element.
- Water is one of the five powerful elements used to bless, cure, heal, nourish, nature and revive the body, mind and spirit. Water is sacred, powerful and has its own cosmic energy.
- Water, guided by this cosmic energy, can influence the flow of the menstrual cycle to an exacerbated flow, like the calm, peaceful, smooth flowing body of water can turn into a tsunami, avalanche, hurricane or storm.
- We want the fire element - the metaboliser and governor of blood, to flow in temp with its own rhythm and tune.
~ Some of these tachings beautiful articulated by Maya Tiwari
- Simple warm, cooked and light food. Avoid meat.
- Mono-diet as much as possible.
- Milk rice is great, especially for those woman who have uncomfortable and rough periods..
- No cold foods or drinks.
Constipation can happen because your body’s elimination focus goes more towards the menstruation. To counter this:
- Shodana Vati
- Vata Pacifying regimes.
- Do not suppress any natural urges, (burps, farts, defecation, urination, yawning, sneezing, etc.)
- Drink 2-3 cups of hot-warm water in early morning.
No Sexual Activity
This probably will aggravate the colon, bladder and hamper normal flow. We want the blood to be focused on staying in the pelvic region (apana vayu). During this time, we don't want anything up the vagina as this will block the flow of energy.
Intercourse during menstruation is considered the most inauspicious act according to Ayurveda. (Source: Caraka S, S.S)
For the same reason as not bathing. Applying some oil as a moisturiser is fine.
Nothing more than a 30 minute light walk (at least).
Light walk daily is great.
Avoid Combing Hair and Cutting Nails
Grooming hair and nails is for times of extrovert. The vedas says women who cuts nails or hair during her period will promote her future offspring to have bone issues.
Avoid Gardening, Cooking and Being Near the Preparation of Food During the Menstrual Cycle
- This is not due to the irrational thinking that menstrual blood is unclean, unhygienic or toxic.
- Food and plant life is imbued with prana - a rising energy flowing up from the earth towards the sun and sky.
- In contrast, the menstrual blood is instilled with apana vayu, the downward-flowing, bodily air pulled from the body by the magnetic forces of the earth.
- These two powerful roles of nature do not harmonise together.
- Plant-derived food is also Kapha in nature, earth element full of youth-giving energy that nourishes and builds the body (anabolic action).
- Menstrual blood is dominated by Pitta and Vata, which fosters cleansing of the body and spirit and reduces tissues (catabolic).
- It is unwise to introduce the rising, energising nature of food into the menstrual blood, or to mix the downward-flowing, cleansing energy of blood into our sustenance - including preparing food or eating heavy foods during the menstrual cycle.
~ Teachings beautiful articulated by Maya Tiwari