Want to know the ins and outs of your menstrual cycle? Get access to my free talk and discover what the hell goes on every month.

Menstrual Health

7 ways to deal with periods that are painful AF

Painful periods used to be the bane of my life. As in, I’d have to lie down on pavements because I couldn’t make it home, and I burnt myself with a hot water bottle to the point of causing blisters three months in a row because I felt so much internal pain that I had no idea that I was burning myself.

Thankfully, I haven’t suffered from period pain for the last six years and it’s made a huge difference to my experience of my cycle and quality of life. I no longer live in fear of coming on and no longer wonder if my uterus has got something wrong with it. I also know that even extreme period pain can be improved or resolved entirely (yes, really) and I want to share my favourite tips and tricks for dealing with it with you because a lot of you have been asking for advice on how to reduce the pain you’re experiencing, and it’s no wonder that so many of you have been asking, because it affects up to 84% of us¹.

And it’s important to know that painful periods are not normal and are a sign that something needs to change. We are conditioned to believe that it’s our lot in life to put up with them. It isn’t.

So why the hell does it happen?

Just before your period starts, the lining of your uterus – your endometrium – begins to break down and will be shed during your period. When this happens your body wants to minimise blood loss, and to this end, it produces hormone-like substances called prostaglandins which make your uterus contract and limit blood loss.

Prostaglandins are a good thing, but they also prime the nervous system for pain and heighten the pain response, causing painful contractions and an increase in pain signaling to the brain. And if you experience period poos or nausea around the time of your period starting, then you can thank your prostaglandins for that treat.

Some menstruators can secrete high levels of prostaglandins, resulting in an increase in pain, and some have stronger or abnormal uterine contractions which result in an increase in pressure inside your uterus and a decreased ability to get oxygen to the contracting muscles which results in more pain. The contractions of a menstruating uterus can even be as strong as those that occur towards the end of labour, and as someone who’s experienced both, I’d take giving birth over painful periods any day of the week!

Speak to your GP

With any kind of pelvic pain it’s important to speak to your GP so that they can assess you and refer you for further investigations where appropriate.

The birth control pill is often prescribed as a first line treatment for period pain, but although it can reduce period pain, it does not and cannot treat it, because it acts as a band-aid by stopping you from having periods altogether. The so-called ‘periods’ that you have on the pill are actually withdrawal bleeds and are entirely different from periods, which require a full cycle of hormonal activity in order to happen, the most significant of which is ovulation, which always precedes menstruation (your period) by fourteen days or so.

In my personal and professional experience, painful periods can be helped massively by dietary and lifestyle changes, especially with the help of a qualified practitioner.

Here are my top seven tips for improving them (there are 19 in my book):

1. Orgasms

This is hands-down my favourite approach (pun intended). Masturbation releases feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and oxytocin and lowers levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, all of which can reduce physical pain. In Chinese medicine, pain is often a result of stagnant energy, and practitioners will use needles and other techniques to encourage blood to flow smoothly, but another way of doing this is by masturbating and/or having sex throughout your menstrual cycle in order to get the energy in your pelvis moving more freely. Traditional Chinese medicine recommends avoiding penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex when you’re on your period, but there are plenty of other forms of sex, and as most of us require clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm, isn’t that what our pleasure should be focused on anyway?

2. Cut out dairy.

Ok, so this one isn’t so much fun because let’s face it, butter and cheese are delicious, but it’s an important one, so bear with me. Dairy can cause or contribute towards period pain be because it triggers inflammation in some people, likely because of a protein present in the majority of cow’s milk called A1 casein, and my clients often find that cutting out dairy improves their period pain.

I recommend cutting dairy out entirely for three menstrual cycles and assessing what changes take place, and then reintroducing dairy which has A2 casein in it, such as that which comes from Jersey cows as well as dairy from sheep and goats, because it tends to be better tolerated and may not result in period pain and other hormonal and reproductive issues.

The good news is that feta, halloumi, manchego, pecorino, ricotta, Roquefort and goat’s cheese (which comes in cheddar form too) are all A2.

3. Start using supplements.

Ok, before we get stuck into this, let me first state that you can’t supplement your way out of a bad diet. Taking supplements without addressing your diet as a whole is not the route to go down, got it?

But, supplementing your diet can be beneficial, especially if you’ve taken the birth control pill, which is well known to cause vitamin and mineral depletion², such as folic acid, vitamin B2, B6 and B12, vitamin C and E, magnesium, selenium, and zinc (this is why I always recommend waiting before trying to conceive after coming off the pill, you need time to restore your body’s nutrient status before getting preggers).

Supplements to consider for period pain include Omega 3 fatty acids such as fish oil, magnesium, curcumin, zinc, and B vitamins. But don’t just run off to your local health store and load your basket up with all of the above, it’s important that you have a nutritional plan which considers all of your health and current requirements, and that will vary from person to person. So your best bet is to see a qualified nutritional therapist or naturopath.

4. Get moving and grooving.

Remember what I said about pain being caused by stagnant energy in Chinese medicine? Well, we need to get that stuck energy flowing a heck of a lot better and the best way to achieve that is by moving. It doesn’t matter what you want to do – swimming, yoga, CrossFit, pilates, running, or dancing around your kitchen to Madonna – they all count and will help to shift the energy in your pelvis. Research shows that doing aerobic exercise three times a week (30 mins each time) for 8 weeks is associated with an improvement in period pain³.

5. Try castor oil packs.

Heat therapy (aka hot water bottles and hot baths) have been shown to be as effective as NSAIDs such as ibuprofen in relieving period pain⁴, but you can level up by using abdominal castor oil packs. To make your own DIY castor oil pack, you will need:

  • A 250ml bottle of high-quality cold-pressed castor oil (preferably organic).
  • A piece of cotton or wool flannel that’s large enough to cover your lower abdomen when folded in half (muslin baby squares work well).
  • A hot water bottle or heating pad.
  • Another muslin square, small old towel, or cling film to cover the pack with while you’re using it.
  • Old clothes to wear and an old towel to place underneath you as castor oil does stain.
  • A glass container with a lid to soak the flannel in the castor oil, and to store it between uses (glass Tupperware or a jar are perfect).

Your first castor oil pack could be a slightly messy affair, so don’t do it on your favourite sheets. Once you get the knack, it gets easier and there won’t be any mess. Here’s what you do:

  • Fold your piece of cotton or wool cloth so that it is a size that will cover your lower abdomen.
  • Place the folded fabric into your glass container (you can fold it up further so that it fits in there), then saturate the cloth with your castor oil. It doesn’t need to be dripping wet, castor oil is very thick so once you use it the increase in temperature from your body heat and the heating pad will make it runnier.
  • Stick some relaxing music on or enjoy some silence.
  • Lie down somewhere comfortable, with an old towel underneath you, and your hot water bottle/heating pad and your glass container with castor oil-soaked cloth in it all next to you.
  • Turn your phone off.
  • Carefully remove the cloth, unfold it, and place it across your lower abdomen.
  • Then, cover the saturated cloth with another folded muslin or an old towel. You can use clingfilm (saranwrap) but this isn’t ideal because it’s plastic.
  • Place the heating pad or hot water bottle on top of the cloth.
  • Take some deep breaths, meditate, read a book, watch Queer Eye, or if you’re anything like me, fall asleep.
  • Keep the pack on for 30–60 minutes.
  • When you’re done, store the saturated cloth in the glass container. It can be reused around 30 times, though you may need to top it up with extra oil occasionally.
  • Wipe off any excess oil, and if you prefer to wash your skin afterward, a diluted solution of baking soda and water will remove it easily (1 tsp to a pint of water).

My recommendation is to do the pack for three consecutive days a week (it’s lovely to do before bedtime), for 1–3 months and assess if you feel they’re helping you. One word of warning: oil gets hot easily and can burn you, so don’t use a just-boiled hot water bottle.

6. Reduce inflammation.

It’s not just dairy that can trigger inflammation and result in painful periods; not getting sufficient sleep, processed foods, sugar, alcohol, gluten, simple carbs (pasta, bread, pastries), and nightshades (aubergine, peppers, and white potatoes) can all create inflammation, so it’s really worth making sure that you get enough good-quality sleep and avoiding or restricting likely causes of inflammation in your diet.

Again, there’s no point spending money on supplements if you’re surviving on beige food and sugar, and sinking half a bottle of wine every evening.

7. Try acupuncture and/or the Arvigo Techniques of Mayan Abdominal Therapy

It goes without saying that I’m biased towards these therapies because they’re the main therapies that I use with my clients (as well as reflexology and aromatherapy), but I’m biased towards them for good reason – they work!

They both help by moving the stagnant energy that can cause painful periods and are great ways of supporting your fertility and digestive health too.

So there you have it, my favourite tips for dealing with painful periods, give them a go for a few months and let me know how you get on!

Want to know more about your cycle, how to attune daily life to suit the phases of your cycle and get a boatload of self-care tips?

There are some spaces available for my Womb Tang Clan three month programme which starts Feb 25th and is entirely online. Plus, you’ll save £250 and only pay £147 if you decide to do it now. You can get the full details and book your spot here. My books are closed to new clients until July/August so this is currently the only way of working with me.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22792003
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23852908
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5791467/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15493566

Will you conceive in 2018?

I’m no Mystic Meg and this post isn’t about me predicting if you’ll conceive or not in 2018. But, if you’re planning on trying to conceive at some point this year, or even if you’ve been trying for a while, and you want to improve your fertility, then this post is for you.

Recently I’ve been hearing from a lot of women who are preparing to conceive, and that gets me feeling excited because not only do I love doing this work but I’m also impressed by their forward planning. For me, it’s always amazing to start working with a woman at least 3 months before she and her loved one start trying to conceive, but ideally before then. Not necessarily by treating her on a weekly basis, but definitely with the idea of making a plan and suggesting things that she and her partner can do on their own in the year that they’ll start trying to conceive.

The trouble is that my diary is pretty loaded at the moment, so because I’m not able to see all the women that I’d like to right now, I’ve put together some information to get you started. (more…)

The 2 minute practice that will drastically improve your relationships

Ladies, I promise you this is easy, quick and simple.

All you have to do is keep track of what day of your menstrual cycle you’re on (if you’re not currently menstruating or don’t have a womb, then you can use the lunar cycle), and write down how you feel, any particular insights you receive, what you struggled with and what went fantastically well.

You might just write down one word that sums things up (ideal if you’re short on time or have trouble committing to self-care practices, and yes, that’s most of us), or a sentence… or a page might feel more appropriate on some days. Just start with something.

Once you’ve been charting for a few months, you’ll start to notice patterns, and that’s when life gets excitingly predictable: You’ll know when you’ll want to socialise and be out there in the world, you’ll know when you’ll need some time alone, and when you’ll crave being outside/going out dancing, or simply want some uninterrupted time to potter.

imagesYou’ll also, and perhaps more importantly, know when it’s really not the right time to do your monthly shop with kids in tow (not that that is ever a wise move). You’ll know what days you should avoid cramming extra meetings into. You’ll know when it’s a bloody awful time to have house guests… Especially your in-laws. (more…)

What that wet patch in your knickers is all about

You’ve probably noticed that once in a while a wet patch appears in your knickers, in fact, there can be a hell of a lot of fluid down there, enough to make you question if you have something weird going on. But what you’re feeling and seeing is cervical fluid and it’s a sign of good health. Thank flip for that.

In fact, it’s massively important when it comes to your fertility.

Ferning CFProduced in the lead up to ovulation, it works in several wondrous ways by:

  • Letting you know you’re getting ready for the big O (ovulation). Cheaper, and in my opinion, more effective than ovulation sticks.
  • Making sex more comfortable due its lubricating nature (though it is different to the love juice you produce when you’re turned on).
  • Creating a route for sperm to get from your vagina and into your womb via your cervix.
  • Literally speeds sperm up on their epic journey to your egg.
  • Produces a ferning pattern to guide sperm on their merry way. Non-fertile fluid during the rest of your cycle stops them in their tracks (one of the ways the birth control pill works is by preventing you from producing fertile fluid).
  • Nourishing sperm to keep them alive and in tip-top shape.
  • Providing an alkaline environment which protects them from the acidic nature of your vagina (it’s acidic to help prevent infections).

(more…)

Are you playing Russian roulette with your hormones?

ec2343600f68bb6724378029acd9573aThere are times when I find it really easy to skip meals, particularly breakfast.

If I’m in the flow with my writing or having a lazy morning in bed at the weekend, it’s all too easy for me to ignore my belly’s need for food.

Hours will go by and I’ll suddenly realise that I’m ravenous, and before I know it, I’m shovelling a pile of hot cross buns smothered in butter and jam down my gob instead of the sweet potato fries and poached eggs I had lined up.

And that, ladies, royally screws me for most of the day, because skipping a meal and then loading up on refined carbs means that my blood sugar levels can be as up and down as a whore’s drawers.

(more…)

48 hours of hell

The call came at 1am and I mumbled my interested but sleepy responses to the man on the other end.

This was no booty call.

I’d only had two hours of sleep and wasn’t ready for this. After 2 years of working as a birth doula, you’d think I would have been, but the truth is, being jolted out of sleep is always hard.

Now, given the title of this post, 48 hours of hell, and the fact that this birth was an induced one, you might be expecting a horrific birth story. However, although it was one of my longest births, both my clients and I felt it was a positive one.

But I was in hell.

Shortly after I arrived at the hospital, my bleed arrived. This was five years ago, back in the days where period pain would floor me. Not realising my bleed was due, I had no tampons or painkillers. So there I was, supporting my client through her intense surges (my preferred term for contractions), whilst being on the verge of collapsing from my own pain. Thank goodness for my clients maternity pads and the midwife who sneaked me some paracetamol.

It happens all the friggin time.

Yes, I’m self-employed. Yes, I can largely decide my schedule, but not all the time. When a client is in labour, I go, and with almost eight years experience as a doula, I’m now fully aware of how common it is to get a bleed whilst at a birth, (somehow we sync up with our clients). Thankfully, I no longer require any painkillers but my bleed still affects me in other ways, and just like the rest of my cycle, I plan around it.

And the point of telling you all of this is:

You can too.

Every woman I’ve spoken to about cycle awareness has been touched by how powerfully simple tracking your cycle can be. Women get it. Men get it. Because it’s a no-brainer.

But maybe you, like them, struggle to see how you can make it a part of your life.

“I have a normal job”.

“I don’t have the power to schedule my work around my cycle”.

“I can’t take time off to rest”.

“I’m reeeeally busy”.

I’m calling bullshit.

You heard me. Bullshit.

None of the above are valid reasons for you not to track your cycle and use it to your advantage. In fact, if any of those statements are true for you, you have an even greater need to pay attention to your cycle.

I’m not asking you to change your life.

When I say, live in accordance your cycle, a lot of women hear change your life according to your cycle. Let’s look at the difference by working with the statement I hear the most frequently:

“I have a busy office job which doesn’t allow me to decide my own schedule”.

What women think I’m going to say, ie. changing your life to suit your cycle:

You need to rest when you’re bleeding, so don’t go into work on those days. Tell your boss that you can’t do that really important presentation on that day, you need to reschedule it for this day. Back to back client meetings on that day isn’t going to work for where you are in your cycle, you should cancel them or ask someone else to do them. You know what, maybe you should think of a career change … be self-employed like me, then you can do all of these things!

What I *am* saying, ie. living in accordance with your cycle:

Ok, so you’re going to be working at the most intense part of your bleed, what can you do to make it easier? You have a presentation coming up and it’s not at the ideal time in your cycle, what do we need to do during the rest of your cycle, so that you can safeguard your confidence and nail it? Back to back client meetings? That could be exhausting for you during that phase, what can you get in place in terms of self-care, so that it’s not so depleting?

Living in accordance with your cycle does not mean only doing things at certain times, it means matching tasks to phases, where possible. And the rest of the time? It’s about working with what you’re able to.

You *are* in charge.

You can’t set your schedule when you’re at work, but you can outside of work. So if you have a full on work day week, smack bang in the phase you struggle with, how about not making evening plans too? Instead, prioritise getting enough sleep and eating regular meals, that way there’s less potential for it to feel catastrophic.

Find half an hour.

That’s all I’m asking. 30 minutes to prioritise you.

  • Leave your office for half an hour during your lunch break (radical, I know).
  • Get lost in the neglected book that’s been moping on your nightstand for two months.
  • Turn your phone off and have a conversation with someone you adore. I bet that person just popped into your head.
  • Have a steamy bath date with that delicious Argentinian, Mr. Malbec.
  • Fly solo or partner up, but have an orgasm.

Too busy to go for treatments?

You want to have some acupuncture, but you don’t have time to travel to me. Or maybe you just want the luxury of being treated in your own home. Either way, right now I have an offer running which will appeal to you. Due to the fire which damaged Sadhaka, I’m currently treating clients in their homes for £85 instead of £125, but only until I find a new treatment space to use.

So if that’s appealing, holla.

Smart girls guide to oral

photo 2Some women aren’t into oral. 

It’s a bit tricky for me to put myself in their position because I love it. Some would say I’m a natural. When I do it, I feel powerful and enjoy knowing that what I’m doing is affecting someone in a profound way.

The women I’ve spoken to who aren’t into it, have told me that:

  • They feel awkward and stiff.
  • They get very little or no enjoyment out of it.
  • They fumble and things just don’t flow.
  • There’s other stuff they’re skilled at which they’d rather do.
  • They feel a degree of performance anxiety.
  • They don’t have a clue what they’re doing (or so they tell themselves).

I’m about to make life easier for you.

Whether you’re a woman who feels at home delivering oral *presentations*, or you’re totally freaked out at the thought of meeting a new client for the first time, let alone speaking in public, this nugget of info will help you to perform at your best.

photo 1Day 12 is where it’s at.

Hormonally, a woman’s oral performance is likely to peak on day twelve of her menstrual cycle. Now, obviously this depends on the length of each woman’s cycle, and where in her cycle she feels most at home. Some women will feel more at home during menstruation, but me, I’m an Ovulation Queen. I experience a natural expansive high around days 9 – 14: I’m social, and interested in connecting emotionally – intellectually – physically, so it’s easy for me to take advantage of the peak of Oestrogen on day 12, and use it to nail a workshop or client meeting.

Our hormones are trying to get us laid.

Why does this happen around day 12? Well, it’s often also the peak of a woman’s sexual desire, so given that ovulation occurs around day 14, it makes sense for us to be chatty and horny around day 12, as it takes sperm a few days to travel and find the egg. So very cleverly, mother nature has us out there feeling confident, horny and talkative, all so we have sex at the right time to stand a chance of conceiving.

Track your cycle.

I’m all about tracking menstrual cycles. If, every day, you jot down what day you’re on and a bit about how you’re feeling, you can start to track your own patterns. Women are actually far more predictable than the media would have us believe, and once you start harnessing the power of each phase of the menstrual cycle, you can get the most out life (more about this next week).

Plan your diary accordingly.

If you feel amazing around ovulation, try to schedule meetings where you need to perform in some way around this time; basically, anything that involves speaking. My guess is that if you feel good around this time (again, not all women do), then you’re more likely to do well. That might look like being more confident at a public speaking event, convincingly asking for a raise, or eloquently debating your point (whether you’re at work or home).

Work with me.

I’d love to hear from you if you’d like to explore the power of your own menstrual cycle. Maybe you find it a battle or go a bit nuts every month, or perhaps you want to raise your game at work and are realising this menstrual awareness stuff isn’t just a load of woo-woo.

I’m getting ready to launch a three-month coaching package at an introductory rate. I’m limiting it to six spots as I want to focus my energy on a small number of clients, so keep your beautiful eyes peeled for the details.

What the hell does “bleed well” mean?

Going shopping for food when you’re pre-menstrual or bleeding is never a good idea.

You know what I’m on about.

You felt so flipping amazing around ovulation that you said “hell yeah” to too many things. All the things you possibly now regret saying “yes” to are taking place when you’re in the “about-to-bleed-any-day-now” zone. That means you’re running around getting them all done, which means you have bugger all food left at home.

Sound familiar?

Now you’re negotiating the aisles of Tesco, annoyed with all the other people who are there (do they really need food right now, can’t they give you some space or at least be quiet?). You feel lost because you don’t know what you want (seriously, last month I spent five mins staring at different pasta shapes). You’re cranky because this is the one week of the month where they’ve decided Gü puddings won’t be on sale … it’s as if they know you’re gonna be jonesing for them. Sneaky bastards. Somehow, you make it out of there, but your bus is on diversion and it takes ages for you to get home. Some bastard (sensing a theme?) is eating chicken and chips which makes you want to vomit at the best of times, but now when your sense of smell is hyped up, you angrily wonder if you should just walk home. You sit it out but you’re filled with rage … which quickly turns to despair and tears when you get home, empty your shopping bags and realise nothing you bought constitutes a meal.

Ugh.

Back when I used to be paralysed by severe period pain, walking would really aggravate matters, so popping down to the shop was actually a nightmare, not ideal when you’re chucking painkillers down your gob which should really be taken with food.

One of the women at my recent workshop asked me what I meant when I said, “do what you need to do in order to bleed well”. For me, that means avoiding the above scenario.

My non-negotiables:

  • I don’t treat people the day before I bleed or on my first two days (unless the timing is crucial because of IVF etc).
  • I prioritise the 3 R’s: Resting, reading and writing.
  • I spend a lovely amount of time lying down and doing castor oil packs (to help the blood to move smoothly and painlessly).
  • I ‘bleed on it’. Anything I’m stuck with – ideas, relationships, projects – I hold in the energy of menstruation, and use the depths of this time to find guidance.
  • I set my intention for the new cycle; what do I want to focus my energy on?
  • Once in a while, I go technology free for the first two days (no laptop, no tv, no social media).

You’re probably thinking …

It’s alright for Maisie, she’s self-employed, she can do these things. I have a *very* busy life and there’s no way I can do anything like that.

You can.

Do something different. By 5%.

Can’t take a day off work? Plan ahead and don’t cram your day with presentations if you’re not going to be feeling up to them during this time. Take half an hour that is solely for you.

Need to be at your computer for work? How about you give yourself a break from Facebook?

Got kids to take care of? Once they’re in bed, sod the housework and have a bath (wine optional) and really get into that bath. Make it count.

Figure out what will help you.

Ask yourself: “What can I do to create some softness around this time? Where can I find some space? What can I do that will nourish me?”

And if you find yourself looking in your kitchen cupboards and on the verge of tears, you can always make this.

Now go forth and bleed well.

Shameless plug:

If you have menstrual symptoms which prevent you from bleeding well (been there, got the t-shirt), please please please get in touch. I’d love to help.

My big news

No, there’s no bun in my oven (sorry, doula sisters, you’re gonna have to keep waiting).

But, I do have some exciting news (don’t worry, not enough to challenge your pelvic floor): I’ve got a women’s health workshop coming up in May.

Read on, if:

  • You think that your period is the same as your cycle (it’s not, but don’t worry, it’s a very common mistake to make and everything will become clear on day one).
  • You’d like practical tools which allow you to create a life which is in tune with your body’s rhythms.
  • You want to know how to adjust your yoga practice according to your menstrual cycle (or moon cycle for the post-menopausal ladies).
  • You want to feel connected to your heart and womb so that you can hear and develop your own wisdom.
  • You want to reframe how you view your reproductive system (maybe you have menstrual symptoms / fertility issues / have experienced trauma, and have trouble loving this part of you).

“Why-didn’t-anyone-tell-me-this-when-I-was-fourteen?!”

I’m going to be busting out the need-to-know, can’t-be-skipped women’s health essentials. I’ll be giving you the low-down on some basic biology (there’s no test at the end, though if there was, I’m confident you’d nail it after this), and getting into the juicy business of how women change as we move through the different phases of our monthly cycle.

Life-changing, like my first time with Mimi.

There’ll be a super-insightful guided visualisation, complete with journalling / drawing (whichever floats your boat), so that you can journey into yourself and discover what messages are waiting to be heard, and that, ladies, is where the work gets BIG … I don’t want to spoil it, but you’re going to be learning how you can use your cycle to get the most out of your life. This work is often deeply emotional and spiritual, but with a very practical basis for living in the modern world.

After you’ve had a delicious lunch in our café – hello, millet burgers and raw chocolate cake – (other eateries are available), we’re going to be getting into a nourishing and insightful yoga practice, which will allow you to explore how you can adapt your practice to suit your needs as you flow through each phase of your cycle. Our afternoon practice, led by Mollie Morris and myself, will build on the wisdom of our morning session.

Broga.

Many traditional yoga forms were designed for men, with linear, movements and a focus on repetition and regularity and sometimes a military discipline. In some yoga traditions, we are taught to make our body fit the practice, or to skip the practice altogether. As women, our bodies have different rhythms and needs at different moments in our cycles.

Using seasonal traits to effectively manage our energy levels, we can also practice and embody different qualities based on our cyclic rhythms. This supports our bodies’ transitions through our cycles and stages of life. Expect to move and feel, but also to leave with inspirations for aligning your practice to your body (and not the other way around).

Sound good? Here are the details:

Saturday 10th May

10am-1pm & 2pm-5pm (each session is £30)

Sadhaka Yoga Centre, Camden, London, NW1

Ready to book?

Then head over here to book your spot for the morning, and here for the afternoon practice.

See you ladies there! 

Big love, Maisie.

P.S.

If you sign up for the whole weekend (Sunday features a Sister Yoga Circle and Belly Dancing), it’s only £100. Bargain.

I feel the need, the need to … breed.

It took a while for me to come around to the idea of having little people in my life.

In fact, for years, I was resolutely “no-way, José” (just kidding, his name wasn’t really José) but then something changed. I can’t put my finger on what, exactly, but something did. I’ll come back to this in a moment but first of all, as I’m talking about women’s “need” to reproduce, I want to be super clear about something:

I’m not saying all women feel the need to have children … and there’s no judgement here if you don’t feel the urge to have kids. That being said, my standpoint is that we don’t just create human babies. Working on a project is akin to growing a baby; sending it out into the world is like giving birth. We all nourish “babies”, my business is a baby … my plants are my (withering) babies. So if you’re reading this and not into the idea of breeding, you may want to read it from the perspective of the creative process, because that is a need as well.

Back to me.

When I started working as a birth doula, I was 25, managed a  late-night rock bar in Soho, and was uninterested in having kids. Now, I’m 33, in bed nice and early, and game on the kids front (those sentences aren’t as linked as they seem). Did supporting families during the childbirth year influence things? I’m sure it did.

Missed opportunities.

Regardless of whether you’re trying to conceive or not, each period can bring with it a sense of loss or grief. Sound bonkers? I assure you, it’s not. I’m not trying to get knocked up, but once my bleed (my personal choice of terminology for menstruation) arrives, my spirit recognises that there’s been a missed opportunity. There’s one less egg in the box, and although I know there’s way more than a dozen tucked away in there, it’s a *little* unnerving to see them disappear down the toilet month after month, literally and figuratively.

For many women, the desire to breed is a biological need.

And that’s what people forget. It’s *not* a cerebral decision, it’s *not* about playing house, it’s *not* a desire that you can magic away. You are not a cliché with a ticking clock.

Men, and their balls.

Ladies, I’m sure you’re aware of this already (and if not, get ready for the newsflash), but men need to – ahem – release the pressure on a regular basis. Yes, they *need* to ejaculate. It’s mother nature’s clever way of ensuring the best guys are in the pipes, ready for action.

It’s the same for us.

Ok, so for the purpose of this post, I’m separating out sexual appetite and yearning for a family. I am *not* saying that the female equivalent of a man shooting his load is a woman having a baby. Hell no.

Evolutionary biology means that procreation has been hardwired into our physiology, so let’s not minimise or judge how craving a child can dominate a woman’s life. Because it can, in every possible way. Whether she’s fourteen or forty, once a woman decides she wants a family, the way she views and makes decisions about her life changes. Her relationship with herself shifts, as well as those with others.

Baby handsWanting a family.

It’s primal: There’s no getting away from it. By its definition, it is “of first importance”.

It’s painful: Longing for a family can physically ache, and it can be a factor in some women’s period pain.

It’s unreasonable: Inappropriate partner / no partner / broke / just got your dream job. Guess what? Your body doesn’t care. It just demands to know, “where’s the goddamn baby?!”

Got baby fever?

I’d love to give you five tips to help matters, but I don’t have five. I can tell you that before a baby is potty-trained, you will have to change roughly 7,000 nappies (diapers for the Americans), does that put you off? No, me neither. In fact, I’m guessing that some of you would probably jump at the chance to deal with the “richness” of a toddler’s poo-pancakes.

Something useful for you.

This is a juicy topic, and it’s not always an easy one to chat about with partners / friends / family, but talking can help to lighten the load, or at least get started on that path. I’ve had so many of my clients unload when they step into my treatment room; the “empty womb” bag is a heavy one to carry.

If you’d like to speak to me about your menstrual health and fertility, I’m offering free 20 minute consultations over the phone or Skype, and I would love to chat with you if this article resonated with you. There won’t be any hard-selling from me. What I will do (with your permission) is put you to the front of the queue for a new programme which I’m opening up next month, so you’ll get first dibs if it feels like a good fit for you. It’s also a great way to suss me out if you’re thinking of coming for some treatments.

Interested? Then head here and holla.

Dates for your diary: 

I’m away on residential courses April 28th – May 3rd & May 6th – 8th, so if you want an appt with me, you can come and see me at Sadhaka on the 5th (morning only) and 9th (all day). Back to normal week commencing May 12th.

May 10th & 11th: I’ll be co-facillitating a women’s health weekend at Sadhaka Yoga Centre. Keep your eyes peeled for the details.