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How to elevate your menstrual cycle

The menstrual cycle is an essential and sacred part of overall health. We reached out to founder of Looni and mother-to-be Chelsea Leyland to discuss body literacy and how to align with our natural rhythms. Chelsea’s vision began during her own journey with endometriosis, where debilitating pain led her to take autonomy over her health. She began to see menstruation as a reflection of nature through cycles of death and rebirth and the creation of new life.

On a mission to empower and educate

“Every menstruating person has the inherent right to access the education necessary for achieving optimal health and well-being. At the brand I helped found, Looni, our mission is to unlock our inner potential by elevating the menstrual cycle and increasing menstrual literacy. My own journey with endometriosis is at the heart of my mission. The menstrual cycle is a valuable guide to overall health, and with Looni we provide the tools and knowledge needed to help others become intimate with their own natural rhythms.”

Improving menstrual and body literacy

“Body literacy and education are vital in order to understand ourselves more deeply. Most of us start from a body knowledge deficit, as women and minorities have been underrepresented in clinical trials. There is a huge need for greater representation in medical research. It’s important to learn how to advocate for ourselves while navigating the shame and taboo that have been projected onto us. We believe community is a key part of our learning and healing, which is why we set up our online Geneva community, Cycle Sanity, which encourages vulnerable and open conversations in a safe place. Whether you’re experiencing PMS, endometriosis, or infertility, this is a place to learn and feel supported.”

The menstrual cycle as a sacred experience

“Our menstrual cycle can be considered our fifth vital sign, acting as a doorway to understanding our health on a deeper level. During each menstrual cycle, our bodies shed what is no longer needed to make space for the possibility of creation. This cycle of death and rebirth is a beautiful opportunity to continuously reset ourselves as we pass through our own inner seasons. Menstruation is sacred because it reminds us that death is also necessary in order to create new life. Nature demonstrates this to us as decomposition produces the rich soil for new growth.”

Connection with ourselves

“Learning to connect with our bodies is one of the first steps in easing the discomforts associated with menstruation, and this can be done through cycle tracking. Tracking the menstrual cycle can help us understand our own unique rhythms, including the average length of each cycle phase and what symptoms are experienced throughout the month. Connection with ourselves can also come from rituals, celebrations, or cycle syncing to align with our inner seasons.”

Cycle syncing and the cues of internal seasons

“Cycle syncing is a way of using nature to connect with our internal rhythms. The menstrual phase correlates with Winter, the follicular phase correlates with Spring, the ovulatory phase correlates with Summer, and the luteal phase correlates with Fall. These seasons remind us that we are dynamic and ever-changing beings. Some days we can push ourselves physically, while other days we require rest. These seasons can also provide wisdom and insight for other areas of our lives, including how we nourish ourselves. The body in a season of Summer can benefit from lighter foods, while the body in a season of Winter may benefit from something heavier.”

Living in alignment with your cycle

“I try to live in flow with the seasons and phases of my cycle, which requires listening to my body and honoring what it asks for. I used to be the type of person who would push myself to run five miles right before my bleed rather than moving my body in a way that was more restorative. I now know that cardio is going to feel a lot easier once my bleed is over and I enter my follicular phase where my energy is higher. When we pay attention to the cues of these internal seasons, we can find a greater sense of ease.”

Finding balance within

“When hormones are balanced, there should be fewer negative symptoms such as mood swings, cravings, acne and irritability. Supplements containing vitamins, minerals, and adaptogens like Looni’s Balance Beam Mood Complex can help soften the edges of our mood and encourage equilibrium in the body. Other helpful supplements include magnesium to help calm the nervous system and herbs like dandelion and nettle to help cleanse the body and support healthy blood flow. Some additional tips are to eat nutrient-dense and unprocessed foods, avoid excess sugar, add lemon and a dash of salt to your water for electrolytes, and rest when your body asks for it.”

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