In the last half-century, women have made strides towards achieving parity in leadership roles and pay in the workforce, but this progress has led to a pervasive issue: nearly every woman I know feels drained. The average woman, fulfilling the role of a “woman” based on gender, is burdened with excessive responsibilities, grappling with physical and emotional overwhelm and teetering on the edge of burnout.
What’s causing this, and how can we address it?
A significant factor is that women have been conditioned to overlook their feminine biology. Somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten our innate natural rhythms. To gain equal respect, we’ve conformed to male-centric models of behaviour.
Over time, the expectation emerged that women could juggle high-powered careers and manage households simultaneously. In addition, societal pressure to maintain a flawless appearance compounds stress. Despite our cyclical nature, we’re expected to perform perfectly and consistently.
The female body follows a monthly and seasonal rhythm beyond the daily circadian rhythm. Unfortunately, modern fitness trends suggest women should not rest during menstruation, encouraging intense workouts. However, it’s crucial to reconnect with our cyclical nature and draw strength from rest.
During menstruation, it’s vital to prioritize rest, particularly considering the profound impact of suppressing our natural cycle. Astonishingly, some advise working out harder during periods, backed by theories of muscle gain. But listening to our bodies is key, as they hold somatic wisdom.
Ayurveda underscores the importance of tuning into our cycle’s nuances. Each phase embodies distinct dosha transitions: vata to kapha, Kapha to pitta, and pitta back to Vata. Menstruation marks the transition from pitta to vata, a time for rest and nurturing.
Excessive physical activity disrupts apana vayu, impacting hormonal balance and reproductive health. Disturbances manifest as symptoms such as irregular menstruation and lower back discomfort.
Traditionally, cultures respected menstruation’s reflective aspect. Today, you’re invited to avoid strenuous activities during your heaviest period days. Gentle walking or restorative yoga are better choices.
Embrace rest in various forms, whether declining weekend plans or a two-minute meditation. Reconnecting with our monthly rhythms diminishes the discomfort and aligns us with our bodies’ needs, fostering comfort, mood, and inherent power. This era is about prioritising rest, recognising that our power stems from who we are, not overexertion.