Yoga for Your Follicular phase
Sometimes I feel like a troll during menstruation; grouchy, bossy, and generally dangerous to humans. It’s a time for cocooning, turning inward, and resting. Luckily after the darkness comes a bright and powerful light, and for me, after the troll, comes the empowered boss babe. This stage of the menstrual cycle is often called the follicular phase and it’s in this stage that we finally get the energy and creativity to start creating and caring for our dreams again. Woohoo! What I mean is, we’re finally not feeling exhausted and that’s worth celebrating!
The follicular phase is a time of magical transformation and growth within the body – a testament to the incredible power of our biology. Named ‘follicular’ because your brain is communicating with your ovaries, signaling for a group of ovarian follicles to grow. Each of these follicles shelters a tiny egg, cocooning it until it’s time.
Simultaneously, there’s an increasing wave of the hormone called estrogen, which is released by the developing follicles. Ever the diligent architect, estrogen works on the uterus, repairing and thickening its lining with a plush layer of blood and nutrients, creating the perfect environment for a potential pregnancy. Although in my case, no thank you (4 mouths to feed already).
What’s even more empowering about this part of the cycle is the way it can positively affect your energy levels, mood, and even thought processes. Increased estrogen can lead to heightened cognitive skills and elevated moods, and for some, it’s during this stage of the cycle that they feel at their most productive, their most creative, and their most vibrant.
It’s true that not every cycle is the same and not every person experiences the same levels of estrogen but there’s one thing for sure, during the follicular phase (after menstruation), energy is BUILDING!
As an experienced yoga teacher I’m happy to share with you that with increased energy and the right yogic tools and practices, we can actually harness our potential energy, AND we can use this increase in energy to finally accomplish some of the things we’ve been putting off for later.
That said, there are many different types of yoga and the affects vary greatly. Some are slow and mindful others are challenging and demanding. Each stage in your cycle is complemented by different yogic practices. The follicular stage of the menstrual cycle calls for some specific practices. Notice I said specific “practices,” not specific “poses.” In this phase, it’s important to opt for powerful practices like power yoga, vinyasa flow, and energizing pranayama, like Bellow’s breath for example. You may be doing the same poses that you’ve seen before in hatha yoga or gentle yoga, but the process and pace changes significantly. My suggestion is to find a local class or even a YouTube video with the words “power,” “vinyasa,” or “flow” in the title.
Power yoga and Vinyasa flow yoga are both dynamic and physically demanding styles of yoga, but with slight differences in intensity and approach. Power yoga is an energetic, strength-focused practice that challenges the body with fitness based moves like planks, lunges, squats and lots of core work. Vinyasa flow yoga emphasizes the rhythm of breath and smooth transitions between poses, allowing practitioners to find harmony between mind and body. They are both challenging so If you’re a beginner or you’ve had a particularly exhausting blood phase, start with vinyasa flow yoga and gradually progress to power yoga as your strength and endurance increase.
If your schedule allows, practice yoga and breath-work daily during the follicular phase.
Each time you practice you’ll feel the benefits as the body re-organizes energy and transforms stress to harness and embrace the increased energy and vitality of this phase, supporting you in feeling refreshed, focused, and ready to accomplish your goals. Say goodbye to the troll and hello to your higher self again.
If you’d like to join Margie live on zoom for vinyasa flow yoga Thursday at 6:30pm CST, reach out via email at [email protected] for the link.
Guest Author: Margie Sanders
Margie has taught over 2000 yoga classes and continues to teach yoga and sound therapy classes and trainings both online and in person at Bliss House Yoga in La Vernia, TX.
Margie’s Mission Statement:
“I believe yoga is a journey of empowerment that stretches our body, mind, and spirit. It meets us day after day exactly where we’re at. When we roll out that mat, we show up for ourselves. Some days we’re strong, happy, eager. Other days we’re weary, broken, and weak. But we show up. We show up ready to take the journey because we know that all beings everywhere deserve to be happy and free. You are worthy of these things and so am I.”