If you have a menstrual cycle then each month you'll go through four different phases, as your hormones fluctuate. These phases can be likened to the seasons we see in the yearly cycle, spring, summer, autumn and winter. You can read more about the inner seasons here.
Due to these fluctuating hormones, your body will be having a different experience in each of the four phases so it makes sense that your daily routines will need to change along with them.
When it comes to exercise, we can sometimes get attached to a certain way of working out which becomes automatic rather than embodied or intentional. If you do the same movements every day then chances are your body is craving something different. Below are some recommendations for how you can begin moving in a way that harmonises with your cycle rather than overriding what your body if asking for.
- Follicular phase/Inner Spring
As your oestrogen starts to rise in this phase your energy will likely return. It's a time to have fun and not be afraid to get out in the world and try new things. The inner spring is all about connecting to your inner child. How does she like to move her body? dance? play? bike rides? find what lights you up and do that. Try out a new class, get out of your comfort zone and don't be afraid to be a beginner at something. During this phase there are no goals to be achieved or anything to prove so just have fun.
Bike rides in nature
Flow yoga - try out new arm balances or inversions as a fun challenge.
- Ovulation phase/Inner Summer
Make use of the peak energy during this phase by exercising in a way that makes you sweat! Faster paced, higher intensity exercise might feel great here. This is the time of the cycle when you may feel the most social and happy to be seen - so a group class or more competitive sport may also satisfy your desire to be around others too.
High energy group classes
- Luteal phase/Inner Autumn
With cortisol levels naturally higher here, anything that adds stress to your system will not be beneficial, so ideally try to avoid any hiit classes or other high intensity movement. Instead, focus on building strength and resilience through weight and resistance training. This may also help to transmute any PMS symptoms that show up during this phase.
Jogging/hiking out in nature
- Menstrual phase/Inner Winter
You do not have to exercise every day of the cycle! Give yourself permission to slow down and rest. Choose to move your body in this phase only if it feels nourishing.
Walks in nature
There are so many ways to add movement into your daily routine. Try to make a habit of tuning in to see what your body is asking for and listening to the messages you're receiving from within.
It can help to track your cycle so you can begin to notice these patterns and see them down on paper in front of you.
If one month you notice more intense period cramps or pms - take a look at how you’ve been moving your body. Have you been overdoing it in spin class? Has your movement style not changed all month? Take note of how movement (or a lack of) affects you and make the adjustments you need.