As women, we are blessed with a powerful and divine cycle that allows us to connect with our bodies in a unique and profound way. The menstrual cycle is not only a physical process but also a spiritual and emotional journey that can help us understand our bodies, minds, and souls on a deeper level.
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, recognizes the menstrual cycle as a vital sign of a woman's health and well-being.
In this article, we will continue our exploration of the Ayurvedic perspective on the menstrual cycle and focus on the follicular and ovulatory phases.
A quick recap of Part 1 - Menstruation:
According to Ayurveda, the menstrual cycle is governed by the three doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These doshas are the fundamental principles of nature that govern all aspects of our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Each dosha has its unique qualities and characteristics, and when they are in balance, we experience good health, vitality, and happiness. However, when they are imbalanced, we may experience various health problems, including menstrual disorders.
Let's jump into into the Follicular Phase and the Ovulatory Phase. These two phases are crucial for the health of the reproductive system, as they set the stage for ovulation and the subsequent development of the corpus luteum.
The Follicular Phase
The follicular phase begins on the last day of menstruation and lasts until ovulation occurs. During this phase, the body prepares for ovulation by producing follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulates the growth of follicles in the ovaries. These follicles contain immature eggs that will mature and be released during ovulation.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, the follicular phase is dominated by the Kapha dosha, which represents the earth and water elements.
Kapha is responsible for building and nourishing the body, and during this phase, it provides the necessary energy and nutrients for the growth of the follicles. Kapha is also associated with the qualities of stability, patience, and endurance, which are essential for the long process of follicle growth.
To support the Kapha energy during the follicular phase, Ayurveda recommends a diet that is nourishing and grounding, including warm soups, stews, and cooked vegetables. Containing plenty of protein, to support the growth of the follicles.
It is also essential to stay hydrated and avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol, which can disrupt the Kapha balance.
In addition to diet, exercise routines can shift at this phase. This is where adding some HEAT to your exercise routine will come in handy to balance the dense qualities of Kapha:
HIIT training, strength training, or intense cardio & running are the perfect support to stimulate and move the body.
Ayurveda also recommends self-care practices that can help balance the Kapha dosha, like hair or face masks, to aid the skin and remove excess oils from the body.
When Kapha is balanced during the follicular phase we will feel like beautiful social butterflies, our hair will have a perfect shine, and we can feel like a GODDESS.
However, here comes Ovulation to mix things up!
The Ovulatory Phase
The ovulatory phase is the shortest phase of the menstrual cycle, which starts around day 14 and lasts for approximately 24-48 hours. During this phase, the mature egg is released from the follicle and travels through the Fallopian tube, where it may be fertilized by sperm.
This phase is dominated by the Pitta dosha, which represents the fire element and is associated with transformation and change.
Ayurveda teaches us that the ovulatory phase is a time of intense transformation and energy, and the Pitta dosha is responsible for this transformation. Pitta provides the necessary heat and energy to release the egg from the follicle and prepare the uterus for implantation. Pitta is also associated with the qualities of courage, passion, and transformation, which are essential for this phase of the menstrual cycle.
To support the Pitta energy during the ovulatory phase, Ayurveda recommends a diet that is cooling and calming, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and herbal teas. It is also essential to stay hydrated and avoid spicy and oily foods, which can increase the Pitta dosha and cause inflammation in the body.
Ayurveda also recommends self-care practices during the ovulatory phase that can help balance the fiery Pitta dosha. These practices may include exercise that moves as well as cools, such as swimming, dancing, or restorative yoga.
Self-care rituals that promote relaxation and cooling are essential during this phase:
Taking a cool bath with essential oils or practicing aromatherapy, and self-massage with cooling oils (such as coconut). It is also essential to get plenty of rest and avoid excessive stress during this phase, as stress can quickly increase the Pitta dosha and disrupt the delicate balance of the menstrual cycle.
It is common to feel angry and emotional during this time, there are so many hormonal changes going on!
Ayurveda is here as a tool to be utilized whenever we need to regain balance.
Ayurveda offers a unique perspective on the menstrual cycle, recognizing it as a vital sign of a woman's health and well-being. By understanding the doshic energies that govern each phase of the menstrual cycle, we can adopt practices and make choices that support our physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
During the follicular phase, we focus on nourishing and grounding practices that support the Kapha energy and promote the growth of follicles. While during the ovulatory phase, we focus on cooling and calming practices that balance the Pitta energy and support the release of the mature egg.
In addition to diet and self-care practices, it's essential to listen to our bodies and honor our unique needs during each phase of the menstrual cycle. This may mean adjusting our exercise routine, taking more rest, or practicing self-care rituals that promote relaxation and rejuvenation.
By embracing the menstrual cycle as a sacred journey and aligning our choices with our body's natural rhythms, we can cultivate a deeper sense of connection, balance, and well-being.
We hope that this series has provided you with valuable insights and tools to navigate your menstrual cycle with Ayurveda. Remember to honor and embrace your body's wisdom, and trust in the natural rhythms of your cycle.
Stay tuned for the final part of this series, where we will explore the luteal phase.