AYURVEDA & CYCLE-SYNCING
If we have a better understanding of the different phases of our cycle through these doshas, we might learn to live in a deeper harmony with our body working with the cycle of nature, rather than against it.
So let's get rolling.
DAYS 1-4: VATA PHASE
CREATIVITY + INTROSPECTION
Period of menstruation. Hormones are low and iron levels in the body drop.
We tend to feel tired and slower - so you might have thought this was the Kapha phase. Makes sense. The phases however are defined not according to how you might feel, but the physiological process that's happening in the body. Vata is the force that regulates all downward movements in the body, pushing the menstruum down and out.
So what this means is that even if you might feel sluggish, this phase is actually great for creativity (a very Vata quality), as you're more sensitive and intuitive.
Journaling, writing, art, marketing plans and creative brainstorms are perfect for this phase. Preference slow and gentle movement practices such as meditation, walking, yin yoga or pilates.
We adopt dishes and foods that will soothe the body:
1. "warming" such as soups, dishes in sauce, curries
2. anti-inflammatory food like oily fish, berries, ginger, turmeric to reduce cramps
3. foods rich in iron such as red meat, seafood, fish, lentils, spinach, broccoli.
Do not hesitate to combine foods rich in iron with those that contain vitamin C (peppers, berries, citrus fruits, aromatic plants), to help increase iron absorption.
Remember also: hydration is the name of the game.
If your vata is out of balance, it can manifest as bloating, constipation, excess fatigue, anxiety and insomnia indicating the need for some vata balancing practices.
DAYS 5-14: KAPHA PHASE
GLOW + ENERGY = YOU.
It's time to prepare for ovulation: your hormone and energy levels start to rise during this phase. Kapha governs the bodies structure and lubrication. So, the kapha stage of the cycle is all about building the endometrium and estrogen levels - restoring strength to the body and preparing it for conception.
You are more open and communicative in this phase, your confidence might feel higher than usual, so now is the time to take advantage: meet new people, take some risks, go for gold.
Capitalise on all that energy and confidence inside you: plan your toughest work meetings or challenging conversations during this phase. Or ask your boss for a raise ;)
For movement it's about cardio, HIIT, ashtanga, crossfit, roller-blading, boxing...
It's all about protein plus cruciferous veggies (green cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, B-brussels sprouts) to metabolise estrogen properly.
We also adopt foods rich in vitamin E such as green vegetables, sweet potatoes, olive oil and dried fruits (nuts, almonds, hazelnuts etc.) to boost your immune system.
If kapha is out of balance it will manifest as fluid retention, weight gain, breast tenderness, tiredness, and general heaviness.
DAYS 14-28: PITTA PHASE
Pitta the main dosha involved in the ovulation and luteal phases. The fire energy is transformative - so this is the stage where the body fires up and prepares itself for new life. When the egg is not fertilised, this then gives way to the phase of "rest".
Pitta fire can make you emotional so try to temper heated situations.
We're into regular but less intensive physical activity, alternating between "cardio" sports and softer sports.
As your appetite increases, prepare balanced and comforting meals, reducing carbohydrates and putting the focus on fibre (beans, lentils, leeks, turnips) to satiate.
Magnesium is your ally to calm PMS and boost your mind: very dark chocolate (or our cacao 100%), oily fish, spinach, avocado, bananas...
If you need a small snack between meals, don't beat yourself up. If you don't eat enough, it can make you irritable and upset.
If there is extra heat in the system in this phase, it can lead to skin irritations, headaches, diarrhoea, irritability and emotional overload.
WANT TO GO DEEPER?
If you want to dive deeper into modern research on this topic, do a good old google on the infradian rhythm: it is a bit like the second biological clock of your body which follows a 28 days rhythm. What's interesting is you can recognise the ancient doshic principles in this modern science.
A podcast episode we liked on the topic "Heal Your Hormones With Alisa Vitti"