// I am on the hunt for perfect periods. As I wrote about recently, Maya Abdominal Therapy has brought me much healing already. Now that my periods are becoming much less painful, I am going to try an ancient ayurvedic practice to begin to align them with the new moon. This practice is known as Uttar Basti.
My cycles have actually been exactly 28 days for the last few months, and my period is aligned directly with the Full Moon. Many of the teachings I study mention that women traditionally menstruate with the New Moon. The dark moon being a time natural for introspection and meditation, the turning inward for renewal. Just as the moon does – she begins to grow, to wax, and brighten until the next full moon. The full moon is ideally a time for ovulation, as the brighter light encourages one to stay up later, and to feel the extroverted and energized full moon vibes.
Uttar basti is an internal vaginal flush using herbal teas. Yes, kind of like a douche, but with completely natural and very gentle ingredients, and not only done for cleansing, but for this specific purpose of encouraging menstruation. The herbs have almost nothing to do with it – if balancing a dosha, or disinfecting is necessary, specific blends can be made appropriately. It’s just the power of the flow, the water almost acting as menstrual blood, flowing with the new moon, signaling to the physiology that this is the right time. (The start of an argument to expunge tampons, and use pads instead…) According to Maya Tiwari, from whom come the practices I’m sharing below, many women’s monthly symptoms can be relieved when a woman switches her cycle to the new moon, as then her monthly cycle of hormones are aligned with the larger energies of the cosmos.
So, for now, I promise not to write any further (in this post) about vaginas. I’ll also share other yogic and breathing practices that go along with new moon energies.
If you’re interested in this sort of thing – which, if you’ve read this far into this post, you must be – I recommended getting one of these posters which chart the cycles of the moon. They’re pretty, too.
5 things you can do to ground your energy near the new moon:
- Lessen the amount of caffeine and sugar intake
- Schedule in your morning meditation and pranayama
- Swap out a vigorous yoga class with a restorative class
- Find a great new soup recipe to make
New Moon Practices from Maya Tiwari
Deep Belly Breathing
Using Ujjayi breath, lying down, sitting up, or even driving your car, practice deep belly breathing. You might put your hand on your belly, so as you inhale, you actually feel it rise, and as you exhale you allow your belly to soften, and your hand to drop again. Practicing using your hand has a guide, breathing into it, pushing it away a bit, until the mechanics becomes natural to you. Deep belly breathing fills us with prana, and literally tells our cells they can relax, and our parasympathetic nervous system switches on (as opposed to sympathetic – fight or flight response.)
Shitali Breathing (AKA Shitakari)
‘Shita’ means cold. This breath is best for those who may experience loose stools, or a lot of heat or tensions and frustration before or during their cycles. (Didn’t say vagina…oops.) If you can make a little tube with your tongue, you’ll inhale through the mouth, and then placing the cool tip of the tongue on the roof of your mouth, exhale out the nose. Continue for about 10 or 12 times. Then rest, and repeat if you like. *If you can not make a tube with your tongue, gently press the tip of your tongue behind the front teeth, and sip the air in through your teeth – then again, place the cool tip of the tongue on the roof of your mouth, and then exhale through the nostrils.
“Pranayama is a simple and effective way to extend the duration and improve the quality of your life.” – Maya Tiwari, Women’s Power to Heal, pp 257.)
The king of the asanas, savasana means ‘corpse pose.’ It is a practice of surrender, great to do before bed/in bed, or during the mid-afternoon when energy naturally wanes. And of course, during the new moon! You can lie on your back, on a yoga mat or rug, either flat or if you need or want some support, using a pillow under your knees and or neck. Palms face up, feet fall wide and relaxed. Close your eyes, and breath naturally. Feel supported by the floor, the mat. Maya Tiwari recommends a visualization, which is optional (and maybe nice if your mind needs something to focus on):
“…visualize your breath as a translucent stream of white light that flows from your heart and radiates to the farthest reaches of your body. Allow this moonlit breath to flood your entire being. Feel it in the tips of your fingers and toes, in the crown of your head, in each of your vertebrae, behind your eyelids and in your throat. Rest your mind in the serenity of the breath.” (Women’s, pp 262.)
It’s natural to ask, “these practices seem so gentle, how can they be doing anything?” In my experience, these practices switch on subtle energies or forces that lie dormant, that our intellect may not be aware of. When we begin to do the practices that resonate with us for some reason, that we can access that place beyond the intellect. We do so much, it’s important to take time to be, to assimilate all that doing, so we spend less time feeling overwhelmed and stressed. This is not a common mindset in our culture, but I find that when we’re given permission to do these things (or not do) we’re more than ready to let go.
If you have trouble knowing what’s right for you, how you can feel better, how you can take the first step to living the life you want to live, spending regular time in silence can allow space for the answers to arise. Practices like these mentioned above allow us to start moving junk out of the way (incessant thinking) and allow access to the intellect, and beyond, making space for messages from the soul.