Within Ayurveda there is the practice of observing nature’s rhythms and aligning ourselves with them. We honour the cycle of night and day by sleeping at an appropriate hour. We acknowledge the shifting seasons by favouring a seasonal diet. We honour the phases of our lives by being students as children, striving toward our ambitions as adults and pursuing contemplative practice as we age.
Women have an additional rhythm that connects us to the cycles of the moon. Each month, a woman’s body has the possibility to cleanse and rejuvenate itself through the blood of menstruation. It has been acknowledged that within traditional cultures, women would menstruate together during the dark nights of the new moon. During this time they would gather to support one another in a journey of deep introspection.
During the night of the dark moon, when there is no moon in the sky, women are encourage to reflect and look within. It is believed that her energy, in relationship to the moon, is at its lowest point. Protecting her well-being, she is advised to spend time in quietude, rest and inward reflection. When the moon is full, women are at their highest point energetically. She is encouraged to be more externally expansive, to get involved socially and to finish projects. Ayurveda teaches that this cyclical sway of energy exists inside each woman to cause her to wax and wane between experiences of self-inquiry and interactions with the external world.
In Ayurveda, the prana shakti of every woman exists in her womb. Her strength is found here and affects her on every level of her health. The cycles, the wax and wane, the natural emotional flow of the female is regarded as sacred. Ayurveda teaches that it is interwoven within a woman’s DNA to be an emotional being that fluctuates in emotional experience. This emotion is what makes her beautiful. It births her psychic nature, attainment with the cosmos, intuition and empathy.
During the new moon time, the natural period of menstruation, women are invited to take advantage of their sacred time of natural purification by going within and maybe extending their meditation practice, refraining from intense activities and allowing rest.
Modern times have demanded that many of us turn our backs on this natural process. It is interesting that the very thing that makes a woman sacred is culturally viewed as an inconvenience. This has made many young women ashamed and even disgusted by her natural bodily processes. It has also left a wake of confusion regarding the emotional rhythm a woman experiences every month.
Every month, a woman has the natural ability to shed toxins, emotions and physical blocks that no longer serve her. Her body cleanses and rejuvenates itself at the time of bleeding during the period of the dark moon. When we do not take advantage of this time, we threaten the vital prana shakti that exists inside us. We disturb our energy levels and we step out of synchronicity with the natural harmony that attempts to guide us.
The full moon also has its energetic advantages. It calls us forth to activity, ceremony, new projects, overcoming obstacles and using external energy. By taking advantage of this natural fluctuation, by resting more during new moon and participating in externally motivated activities during the full moon, we heighten our prana shakti and enhance our inner harmony.