I have never paid too much attention to my menstrual cycle. I just suffered. I suffered interminable pre-menstrual phases, unspeakable menstrual pain and bewildering mood swings. I can’t remember how many times the female members of my family, my girlfriends and health practitioners replied to my complaints saying: “it is normal, it is just your period”. So, for many years I accepted that being a woman means to experience the same painful story every month or so.
How could I doubt it if everybody around me seemed to agree? How could I question that reply if most of my girlfriends experienced dramatic distressful menstruation too? I took for granted that that was the rule. Being a woman equals cyclical suffering with no explanation.
In my hometown in the Europe of the Southern Mediterranean, I hadn’t met any empowered woman that would push me to look for different answers, or different questions.
Is it true that menstruating means to suffer? Is it true that we need to accept it without questioning? Is it true that the contraceptive pill is the only cure to a painful period?
Of the many personality features that make me a wonderful person, curiosity is the one I prefer and the one that brought me away from the only-one-reply place to find new points of view and information.
The menstrual cycle should not be painful, it is a normal physiological process of the female body, and (just like digestion, breathing or hair growing), it should happen with no sorrow or ache.
Unfortunately, dysmenorrhea also known as menstrual cramps or period pain, is very common, and it may be severe enough to interfere with daily activities in up to 20 percent of women. Mild premenstrual syndrome is very frequent, affecting up to 75 percent of women with regular menstrual cycles. However, the root causes of this pain is very often under investigated. For example, an estimated 6 of 10 endometriosis cases are undiagnosed.
Our body is in pain when something isn’t working in the right way. According to Yoga, the physical body is strictly interlinked with the other 4 bodies that make a human being: the five koshas or layers (physical, vital energy, mental, awareness, and bliss).
So when we observe our menstrual cycle patterns, we ought not to stop at the physical level, as this is influenced and influences the other Koshas.
Approaching the menstrual cycle from a Yoga perspective helped me to nurture a deeper connection with my female nature, month after month new insights, thoughts, intuitions, awareness raised from the menstrual pain. And my menstrual cycle finally became easy and pleasant, it became my beautiful cycle.
An integral, holistic approach that dignifies menstruation and honours it as a fundamental element of women’s existence is necessary if we want to investigate our pain or menstrual disorder. It means to recognize and honour the power of our Yoni Shakti (I will post on it very soon), a sacred place in our bodies where our feminine nature resides.
This is a process that demands openness, honesty, compassion, self-love and practice. But it will show you the beauty of your cycle and help you to free yourself from the pain and build confidence, strength and space for inspiration and self-realization.
 Pallavi Latthe, Rita Champaneria And Khalid Khan. Dysmenorrhea, Clinical Evidence Handbook, A Publication of BMJ Publishing Group.
 Robert F Casper, MD. Literature review February 2019. Patient education: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) (Beyond the Basics).
 Morassutto, C., Monasta, L., Ricci, G., Barbone, F., and Ronfani, L. Incidence and estimated prevalence of endometriosis and adenomyosis in northeast Italy: a data linkage study. PLoS One. 2016; 11: e0154227
Photo by Emma Matthews