Yoga and Menstruation {Guest post}

Known by many names, menstruation can be a time of reverence or a time of feeling cursed. I like to refer to this time of the month as our moon time, honoring how our cycles often follow the phases of the moon.

There is much confusion about yoga and menstruation. Some teachers suggest to stop practicing, while others suggest specific practices for the menses and different conditions of the menstrual cycle. In classical Ashtanga practice we take the full and new moons and the heavy days of our cycle off and rest.

After many years of practicing and teaching yoga I am a firm believer in the development of a personal practice. Swami Kripalu talked about radical self- acceptance as being one of the highest forms of yoga. If we follow our own intuition and the needs of our bodies we will create a sustainable practice that supports our stage of life and health. Having said this, some simple guidelines may help to navigate and manage the uncomfortable and often painful side effects of our cycles.

Most experts recommend that we stop strenuous exercise during the heavy days of the cycle. The body is sloughing off the lining of the uterus and it is a good time to practice gentle self-care. Rest, have a nap, enjoy a cup of tea, go for a walk or read a book. Take the time that you might practice yoga and sit in quiet meditation or simply breathe deep and full for 5-10 minutes.

If you have cramping, pain, profuse discharge or heavy bleeding a simple practice might include:

  1. Sit comfortably for 5 minutes:Pay attention to the breath

    Artist & Yogini extraordinaire, Sarah Elizabeth.

  2. Head neck and shoulder warm up: Turn head side to side, right ear to shoulder, left ear to shoulder, circles (like drawing a circle on a chalk board with your nose)
  3. Spinal Flexion: Forward and back, side to side then circles Right/Left
  4. Badakonasana: Bound angle
  5. Supata Badakonasana: Reclined bound angle
  6. Prasarita Padottanasana: Wide legged forward bend right/left/centre
  7. Jathara Parivartanasana: Spinal rotation right/left
  8. Svasana: Relaxation

 

Some things to avoid include shoulder stands, head stands, forearm and hand balances. Avoiding postures that increase blood flow or makes you feel uncomfortable is also important.

If you would like to read more about specific conditions of the menstrual cycle and yoga, one of the best books on the subject is, Geeta Iyengar’s book, Yoga: a gem for women.

For more information or a private consultation around yoga, menstruation and specific conditions of the menstrual cycle contact master yoga teacher, Denise Davis-Gains. info@atlasstudio.com

Denise Davis-Gains, MA (INP), CYT

Through a lifetime of spiritual pilgrimage, Denise has learned to move gracefully and appreciate music, she enjoys a good story and was blown wide open when spirit, movement and sacred music met on the yoga mat in 1993. A Kripalu/Ashtanga inspired teacher, Denise walks a path towards wholeness and integration as a healer, yoga teacher, mentor and leader. Denise shares her inspired life with others at Atlas Studio located in Cambridge, ON, Canada

24/7 Period Talk

If asked, most girls could recall one talk they had with a parent or relative about their “monthly visitor”, “Aunt Flo” or “you know… the thing”. And most often this “talk” is one that to this day they will always remember.

Like many topics related to puberty, talking about your period can be quite uncomfortable, especially if the person you are talking to has little knowledge of the menstrual cycle. In our 20 years of experience developing and promoting menstrual cups, we have learned that many women (even after 20 years of having their period) know very little about the menstrual cycle.

Although period care has come a long way (you no longer need to ask for your period care product at the back pharmacy!), the conversation surrounding menstruation is still riddled with tabooed myths, embarrassment and an attitude of secrecy.

Diva International believes in talking openly about period care because we know that when a young girl is empowered with positive period talk her self-esteem is strengthened.

Our commitment to drawing awareness to positive period talk is advanced by our website, through educational partnerships, our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages as well as by our ongoing support of Be Prepared Period and You ARE Loved.

We want to encourage everyone who is part of the Diva Community, whether a parent, teen, friend, career woman or grandmother, to engage in some positive Period Talk this month!

Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered.

On the second Friday of every month you can participate in an online conversation about periods! And lucky for you, this Friday is the second Friday of September which for many of us means Tweet Chat: Period Talk!!! 

Every month, the team at Diva International joins in conversation with women and young girls for Be Prepared Period and You Are Loved’s monthly Tweet Chat: Period Talk. These hour-long Tweet Chats cover topics like how to care for your period, foods to avoid during your cycle, and how to better respond to your emotions and menstrual health.

This month’s Tweet Chat is on Friday September 14th, 2012 at 11am PST/ 2pm ET and is featuring the topic Back to School: Periods 101. Special guests Samantha Kelly, Founder of Funky Goddess and Jennifer Leggett, Chief Executive Mama at Earthy Crunchy Mama will be sharing some insight, asking questions and guiding the discussion.

If you’re going to attend any Tweet Chat this month, we would highly recommend you attend this one!

If you can’t make the Tweet Chat, you can now engage in Period Talk every day because the Period Talk Tweet Chat is so well liked that the team at Be Prepared Period thought to design a full website committed to… Period Talk!

As its name suggests, the Period Talk website is a 24/7 online social forum where “talk” about period care, puberty and menstrual health can be explored, shared and discussed! Free to anyone interested in joining the conversation; all you need to do is create an account.

September is often celebrated for its change of season and the new beginnings it offers to students. In keeping with the spirit of new beginnings, why not make this September the month you start talking openly about your period? Join us for this week’s Period Talk Tweet Chat with the hashtag, #PeriodTalk or sign up for your free account at the Period Talk website.

We’d also love to hear some period talk stories from our Divas (especially some positive ones!) as well as what you wish someone would have told you when you first got your period. Share today, because you never know how much your period experiences can encourage a young woman with a little bit of period advice.

 

It’s finally here… “Back to School” season has officially arrived!

You always know Back to School season has arrived when the big yellow buses return, you can buy notebooks and pens for half the price they usually are and the children you never saw before 11 AM are now making the morning commute with you.

Each of our Divas has different ways to prep for the school year. Parents are usually busy buying Back to School supplies, teachers are busy prepping curriculum and students are seen counting down their last few days of summer.

 

Yet, whether a Mom Diva, Student Diva or Teacher Diva, one thing we all have in common is that we all need to prep ourselves (and possibly daughters) for period care.

The memories of being a young girl with my period at school are ones I will never forget. I was blessed with a heavy period and so needed to properly time my bathroom breaks, ensure I had the right product (hidden strategically under my sleeve) and that I had enough of them to last me the entire day.

I wish I could say my high school years were different, but it was not until University that I discovered The DivaCup. At first it was a bit strange not having to time my bathroom breaks or change my product every two hours or so. On my heavier days I did have to empty my cup every six hours, and to be honest, the thought of doing this in public, freaked me out! However, I quickly learned that it was the simplest thing ever: all I had to do was empty the cup, wipe it out with toilet paper and re-insert. I was sure to wash my hands before and to give it a thorough wash when I got home. Thanks to The DivaCup I felt better about myself, my eco-footprint and my period health!

Some of you may be reading this in anticipation of your first period while others have had many years of bathroom breaks, product runs and maybe one or two embarrassing moments at school. The best thing any women can do for her period is to be informed. Our website’s All Things Period and Teens web page provide great insight about the menstrual cycle and period care. Talking to others, friends, your mom, or the school nurse or guidance counselor can also be helpful.

And in addition to switching up your period care routine to include The DivaCup, it is also important to drink lots of water, eat well, exercise often and get a good night sleep! (Don’t have a DivaCup yet? Enter our Facebook “Back 2 School with Diva” giveaway for a chance to win a DivaCup and a goodie bag filled with school supplies and some extra little things to help make this year the best yet!).

If you’re a Diva in Junior High or High School, I want to encourage you to share The DivaCup with your health class, teacher and school nurse. University students can request The DivaCup at their campus store or women’s center and Moms (and dads) and Health Professionals & Educators can encourage young women to care for their periods through open communication about puberty and an introduction to sustainable period care products like The DivaCup.

I’m personally excited for Back to School this year because of the new opportunities Diva International Inc. has been given through our recent partnership with Sexpressions – a Canadian-based sexual health organization dedicated to sexual health education and advocacy. Through this partnership we will be able to share The DivaCup with more students, teachers and health care professionals.

Something important to remember with each new school year is that we are very fortunate to have access to products like The DivaCup here in the West. Many women and young girls in developing nations often miss a week of school or work because they do not have access to proper period care. Start this school year off with a new Back to School tradition by donating a small amount to help a young girl care for her period through Lunapads’ Pads4Girls program.

I wanted to leave all our Student Divas with a little thing I like to call The Diva Period Kit.  Although when wearing The DivaCup, it’s all you really need for a full day of school, that doesn’t mean you can’t pack some extra items in your bag to keep you feeling good throughout the day.

Diva Period Kit
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Keeping hydrated helps with concentration and bloating.
  • Tissue Pack: In case you need to empty your DivaCup or find yourself in a stall without TP.
  • Dark Chocolate: Chocolate that has a high cocoa value contains magnesium, which can help alleviate period cramps!
  • Ginger Candies: Ginger can help aid in the digestion process and relieve symptoms of nausea (My personal favorites are Gin-Gins® Candies!).
  • Pain Reliever: To help with those pesky cramps!
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies: Great comfort food! I especially love these gluten-free recipes!
  • Hair Elastic: Because The DivaCup is ideal for swimming, dancing and playing sports!

We’d love to hear what you put in your Diva Period Kit and any school tips you may have for caring for your period, The Diva Way. Share it with us today!

All of us at Diva International Inc. want to wish our Student Divas a year of period bliss, great beginnings and fabulous Diva memories!

 

Wearing gold on and off the deck

With the close of the London 2012 Olympic Games earlier this week, we can’t help but highlight one of our favorite “golden” Olympians, our Swim Diva Julia Wilkinson.

Julia out and about in London!

You can easily find Julia by the competitive poolside; she’s the one wearing the Gold UGG® boots. We don’t think Julia chose this color by accident! Yes, gold is a symbol for victory, but the color also represents optimism, success and enjoyment of life. When worn, gold is also said to promote courage, confidence and willpower, all of which were evident in Julia’s performance and spirit at London 2012. While Julia is returning home without a gold medal, her spirit of determination and character of genuine integrity shines gold to a very proud Canadian nation.

For those not familiar with our Swim Diva, Julia was born and raised in Stratford, Ontario, a city that is best known for its Shakespeare theatre festival, unique shopping experience (chocolate shops!!!), community spirit and… Justin Bieber!!!

In fact, tomorrow, August 15th, 2012, Stratford is hosting a BBQ and free swim in honor of Julia’s visit home. Join in the festivities on Julia Wilkinson Day by visiting the Stratford Bandshell from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM to meet our Swim Diva (and some other Divas too!).

A competitive swimmer by the age of eight, Julia joined the Canadian National Swim Team in 2006, swam competitively at Texas A&M University and currently holds the Canadian record in the 50-meter backstroke with a time of 28:09 sec.

Julia’s dream to compete at the Olympics came true in Beijing 2008 and once again this year in London! Finishing 9th and 13th in her individual competition definitely radiates the characteristics of gold: courage, confidence and willpower!

Like many women, Julia discovered The DivaCup at just the right moment in her life – within weeks of the Olympics, making training, competition and life… a little less stressful.

I had always seen and was curious about The DivaCup and now that I have tried it for myself I am a loyal fan for life,” explains Wilkinson. “As a swimmer, The DivaCup is a much more preferable option to tampons as it’s reliable and comfortable. I can get on with my busy day of swim practice without having to worry or be held back.

In addition to being a competitive swimmer, Julia is a guardian to her pet hedgehog Roxy, has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Texas A&M University, is a guest writer for CBC’s blog and SwimNews, a musician and even has a sandwich named after her at the much loved sandwich shop, York Street Kitchen on Erie in Stratford, ON.

Team DivaCup!

Our hope is that by empowering women, like Julia, with a better period care solution to tampons and pads, they will be encouraged to step out of their comfort zone assured and confident with who they are; whether an athlete, mom, teen, or business woman.

Julia’s Olympic performance and character shows that being a Diva is about more than just using a product. Her spirit of determination has inspired us all to go after our goals, keep positive and never give up! This week, we want to encourage all our Divas to add a little “gold” to their life, whether in competition, on the job or at home, confidence and optimism go a long way!

Learn more about Julia on her personal website, visit her in Stratford on Julia Wilkinson Day and by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Empowering women… encouraging change!

Today marks a pivotal day for Diva International Inc.

We are not only launching our new website, but also new partnerships and projects and of course, our new DivaBlog.

When we first started Diva International Inc, 10 years ago, we never imagined that Francine’s vision for a sustainable menstrual product would become a world leader in menstrual care.

Over the past twenty years the menstrual cup concept has come up against much resistance. While today it is hard to believe that The DivaCup – the much loved menstrual cup women cannot imagine their lives without – was something feared, unaccepted and a product described as something well just plain weird! We would be lying if we said this journey has been easy. It took a lot of dedication, development and planning from our side, and from you, our supporters, to make The DivaCup something worth talking about. Every friend you told, every online post you linked to, each personal testimony submitted and every store manager you asked to carry our products, helped to make The DivaCup a leader in the menstrual cup industry.

Thanks to our supporters, both women and men, and those who have accepted The DivaCup into their business, The DivaCup has gained international recognition, awards and received personal acceptance from women worldwide. Women from all over the world, North America, Europe, Australia, South America and many more countries are joining The DivaCup community each day!

As we launch our new website, we hope you will find the knowledge, tools and community you need to be the Diva you were destined to be. Our DivaBlog will be an online space for you to come and learn about Diva News, join with our guest bloggers and hear about DivaCup events, initiatives and programs.

We are proud to be a world leader in the menstrual cup industry and cannot wait for the future of sustainable menstrual care to unfold and empower women’s lives everywhere!

We would love to hear from you, so please leave us a comment!

Sincerely,

Carinne & The DivaCup Team.