After my “Plugging it All Up” blog series that finished up earlier this month, I received a really great question from a reader regarding moon time and exercise. She was wondering what my opinion on practicing physical exercise during menstruation was, and the response to the question is definitely post-worthy, so I thought I would share it with you all!
For me, daily exercise is non-negotiable. To some, my exercise regimen might come off as fanatical, but to me it is so much more. Exercise every morning makes me feel so fantastic, not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Daily exercise releases stress, both tension in my muscles and tension in my mind. It makes me feel so healthy, and feeling fit definitely boosts my sense of confidence.
My general exercise regimen is a four-day repeating cycle, consisting of a no-intensity day, a low-intensity day, a medium-intensity day, and a high-intensity day. On the no-intensity day, I do a joint mobilization and gentle stretching. On the low-intensity day, I do some invigorating yoga. On the medium-intensity day, I usually do some body-weight exercises and/or functional fitness movements; some days I’ll do an hour long intensive yoga routine. On high-intensity days, I usually repeat the medium-intensity day’s exercise routine, but physically exert myself more to make it more high-intensity. I also usually go to some kind of dance class once or twice during the week, whether it is 5Rhythms, choreographed dance, belly-dance, ecstatic dance, etc. This routine is subject to change of course, depending upon my daily schedule, if I am traveling, etc. though 85% of the time, I follow this repeating cycle pretty religiously.
I follow it religiously because it makes me feel good. Not only does moving my body feel great, but movement deeply inspires me and constantly teaches me things about myself. Many of my goals and dreams in life are centered around movement and things I strive to do physically. I love to learn functional movements and how to move fluidly through an environment. I love to dance and totally shake my body and soul up, transforming intense emotion, and creatively expressing myself. I love to stretch my body out and calm my mind with yoga, bringing peace to my soul.
As you can deduce, movement is a huge part of my life. Moontime (menstruation) is also a huge part of my life. Over the last few years, I have learned the two don’t mix too well for me. Through my 23 years of being in existence on this planet, I have learned that I have a quite the fighting spirit. I am the kind of person who will tough through challenging experiences, while they may be intense in the moment, in order to achieve an end result that is desirable to me. This has served me incredibly, while it has also been counterproductive at times. The combination of movement and moontime has amplified aspects of my fighting spirit over the years, and showed me how at times it can benefit me more to drop into the soft, feminine space as opposed to the outward, strong masculine space. Especially during moontime.
Moontime basically forces us into that soft, juicy, receptive feminine space, whether we like it or not. I always just want to cuddle up in my coziest red clothing, in the comfiest place in the house during moontime. I always feel physically soft, my vision feels soft, and my experience of life feels heavenly. That is, when I am honoring that time of my cycle. Because of my intensely fighting spirit, I have spent many, many moon cycles trying to mix movement and menstruation. Many times my first day of moontime has arrived on the day of medium or high-intensity exercise days, and many of those days I have fought my way through a workout when my body was screaming anything but to move. That routine-oriented aspect of my mind has ridiculed me in the past for missing a workout, while that wise feminine aspect of myself always says, “Rest, your body needs stillness more than it needs movement.” So many times I have dishonored that inner knowing, pushed through a routine, and utterly felt like crap afterward.
Any time that I have done too much physical exercise or movement during the first few days of my cycle, by body is not stoked. It can be as extreme as resulting in doubling me over with cramps that feel like I could puke, to minor headaches or fatigue. It all depends upon how much I attempt to exert. If I try and do a high-intensity workout during the first few days of moontime, that usually leaves me with wicked cramps. If I do some invigorating yoga, it could leave me feeling tired or headachy, for example. This was when I disregarded my body’s messages about not moving too much. After years of not listening, I have finally gotten the message to slow down and honor the gentle space I am in during moon time, and WOW does it make a difference.
When I don’t over exert myself physically during moontime, I can more clearly experience the deeply intuitive space I am in during that time. I usually don’t have cramps when I slow down in this way, and feel physically energized instead – While also feeling that deep sense of softness in my body. For me, too much physical movement during moontime seems to add a fogginess to the experience, as opposed to the crystal clear focus and inspiration I have otherwise.
This was one of the many profound messages that my moontime has taught me: That sometimes simply doing nothing, just being and feeling, is exactly what the medicine woman ordered. This has continually proven to be the case for me during moontime. It has been pretty consistent over the last couple of years that my body has sent me strong messages on the first few days of my cycle to simply rest, rejuvenate, and take care of myself, rather than exert and do anything too physical.
I will say, that it is always different with each cycle. Some cycles, I feel open to a bit of stretching and maybe some gentle yoga during the days I am bleeding. Other cycles, I feel like even walking too much is counterproductive to the space I am in, so even going out and running errands and being out of the house feels stressful. I never have cycles these days where I feel inspired to take on any kind of high-intensity workout. Mostly, I enjoy relishing in those first few days of my bleeding time and just relax, let-go, and tune into my body. Usually by the last few days of my cycle, maybe around days 4-5, I am usually feeling inspired to get moving again so I will start slow with some low-intensity things to get me back into the movement rhythm. When I honor the messages my body sends me, I am rewarded with feeling amazing.
So, where I am at with movement on moontime currently, is I don’t partake in it when my body sends me the messages not to – and for the most part, my body encourages me to nurture stillness. I choose to honor the space that I am in with each cycle, and know that it might change each time, so I don’t adhere to any definitive guidelines. I encourage you to tune into your cycle next time you bleed, and see what your body is saying. Are you getting strong a strong “NO” to movement, or perhaps your body is energized by the idea of stretching out and doing some yoga? If you are someone who always exercises, regardless of being on your cycle or not, test the waters of just relaxing and giving your body a break during that time and see how you feel
In the comments below, please share how you feel about movement on moontime! Do you usually like to take your moon-days off from exercise? Do you have a special movement plan for while your on moontime? Tell us what you have learned through your experience of movement on moontime! There are other women out there who are curious on this subject as well, so your experience could help another woman on her journey.
Thank you, as always, for reading!