Spiritual ・ relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things
Sovereignty ・ supreme power or authority; self-governing
The womb is our greatest teacher and source of power. The womb has no personal agenda; she simply moves to the rhythm of Nature. Because of her self-less, embodied connection to Nature – to the Goddess – she is a guru.
* Note: I do not intend to engender the womb but only to use a respectful pronoun over the replacement ‘it’ which I feel would objectify a living energy.
A guru is someone or something that reveals to us our darkness and sheds light on it so that we may be free. Like a flower, our womb responds to her inner (you as an individual) & outer (collective/cosmic) environment in a living, sensitized way. Our womb will either wilt or blossom with the environment and through this living feedback she speaks to us of our power, our personal Truth and the Truth of the universe.
The beauty of her presence in us is that our menstrual cycle works as a source of inner spiritual authority. Mindfulness of the rhythms of life at work within opens us to broader and broader ideas about who we really are & what this body really is while we’re held by the menstrual cycle. This practice of awareness is not something that can be done for us by any teacher or external guru. There are no books that can tell you what your inner rhythm is revealing to you about your purpose here in this lifetime. That your inner rhythm is uniquely yours is spiritual sovereignty.
Living in intimacy with the rhythm & cycle of life, we are endowed with a certain flavour of intuition. Intuition can speak many different languages but, for people with wombs, that language is written in the menstrual cycle: the creative and destructive language of Nature.
Surrender to these rhythms is an inimical spiritual practice.
Art by: @soulart.klerks
Consider the Source
I rediscovered the practice of menstrual cycle awareness as spiritual practice after years of practicing and teaching solely from the Hatha yoga tradition. I found myself in a dynamic tension between following ‘my’ tradition and now actively hearing the call of my inner rhythm, which spoke to me of when to rest, when to create, when to let go and who I am becoming. Of course, my own inner rhythm didn’t care what tradition wanted me to do – the menstrual cycle is utterly unapologetic. Gradually, I began to re-learn what it meant to trust my intuition, my inner Knowing, and to unapologetically trust it, even if that meant unlearning some of the traditions I so trusted. And let me be clear, I have great respect for these traditions and I fully acknowledge that it is because of my initiation into them that I have arrived where I am now with greater awareness. But these traditions are not the full picture.
For you yoginis and yoga teachers, I have something for you to consider: what if your yoga practice was a compliment to (and not a replacement of) your menstrual cycle awareness practice? How might it feel or look to be in alignment with your inner rhythm and allow that connection to guide your movement (or stillness), breath and intention? It’s certainly something to consider and explore.
And here’s something more, have you considered that the tradition of Hatha yoga, which is the most popularly taught system/source of yoga, was initially created for men by men? Not necessarily to exclude people with wombs (although that exclusion happened historically as well) but because people with wombs had their own, unique source of spiritual power (in sanskrit, we call powers siddhis). Did any of your teachers or texts speak to you of your source power?
If you comb through your yogic texts, do they speak to your experience as someone with a womb, a cycle, the capacity to give birth, to experience power through orgasm, lactation, menstruation and menopause? Are these powerful Feminine experiences acknowledged and honoured in your texts or by your teachers? Are your teachers/sources informed about the safest way to practice throughout the menstrual cycle and the various stages of womb life? Is your cycle acknowledged and honoured? Do you feel safe and seen in your body?
I only intend to raise awareness how your menstrual cycle fits into your yogic tradition. Just something to consider, and if you’re interested in researching this further, I highly recommend reading Yoni Shakti by Uma Dinsmore-Tuli or Yoga: A Gem for Women by Geeta Iyenga. These two books have two very different approaches so be sure to read a summary before deciding.
So, why live in alignment with your menstrual cycle? To decode the language of your power and freedom. There are no sciences, no teachers, no books outside of this process that can truly replace this intimacy with yourSelf. Ultimately, the only reliable source of Truth that we can depend on comes from within. You are the only person who must live with you, and only you can know what you need. All of the maps, charts, books & practices can only serve to remind you of how to connect with this rhythm. Once we are reunited with the practice of menstrual cycle awareness, we have only to be with that inner rhythm. How liberating!
The menstrual cycle refines and moulds us into wiser and lighter iterations of ourselves, if we’ll allow it. Then she releases us to claim who we are from the roots of our being before we take that final step through the portal from this world into the next.
It’s perfectly orchestrated. It’s Nature.
"The most effective spiritual paths are those that self-deconstruct once the teaching has served its purpose." Kavitha Chinnaiyan, Shakti Rising
We will one day be released from the womb’s cycle come menopause. If we have been very conscious throughout our menstruating years, we will be initiated into the still void of menopause with grace. Our ties to the cycle are cut and we are prepared for that release. In this way, the menstrual cycle has been a sacred unfolding that served to unfold us, like a flower unfurling, one petal at a time, until the thousand-petals open fully in their brilliance.
So even though we are held in the cycle for potentially many years, the womb comes with its own built in self-deconstruction that serves to free us even from the lovely container of the cycle itself.
To truly know one thing is to know the whole universe.
Could it be that, through menstrual cycle awareness, we begin to decode the secrets of the universe? The imprint of the Divine? The energy and essence behind and within all that is? Not only would this open us to broader perspectives for our personal lives but it would naturally contribute to the healing of our planet. As we heal, the planet heals. As we re-member, we call others home along with us naturally, as if in Divine orbit.
Now more than ever we need to own our spiritual sovereignty. With all of the information flying around and endless sources to extract that information from, how do we stay sane, clear and connected with our Truth? Be mindful of the sources you trust and are ingesting information from. Even this newsletter…don’t just take my word for anything!
The true source of power is within.