Hatha yoga teaches that we each have a feminine and masculine side. The right side (ha) is the masculine side and is represented by the sun and the left side (tha) is the feminine side and is represented by the moon. The purpose of yoga is to balance both of these energies to create harmony.
It's no secret that the world we live in is masculine dominated - think action-orientated, results driven, assertive, hustle culture. Whereas the feminine is receptive, soft, intuitive and is welcomes flow and ease.
I believe that the masculine ways of the world have gone too far to the right. We need some more balance. We need to honour our inner feminine, We need to even the scales. I like to think of it as being guided by my inner feminine and using my inner masculine to bring things into fruition with action.
So, how does one do this? How can we honour the inner feminine more? How can we bring more flow and ease into our lives? How can we tap into our intuition? How can we lead with the heart?
By honouring the many cycles of life, we can honour the inner feminine and give ourselves space.
1. Connect to the seasons of Mother Nature
Nature goes through cycles and we can use these to guide us. For many of us, myself included, we have a favourite season or two and strongly dislike the others. I much prefer the warmer months - I feel free and at home. This meant I used to spend a lot of time and energy resisting and resenting the cold. However, the colder months arrived whether I liked it or not. So now, instead of resisting it, I try to lean into its gifts and make it my friend, rather than my enemy. I find it helps life to be filled with more ease.
Winter - a time to rest, reflect and reset. Our energy levels are at their lowest as we hibernate from the world.
Spring - a time for new beginnings, renewal and growth. Our energy levels begin to grow and we feel like going out into the world more.
Summer - a time of celebration, joy and gratitude. Our energy levels are at the highest point and we are ready for action and adventure.
Autumn - a time to edit and let go of what no longer serves you. Our energy levels are beginning to drop as we prepare for rest.
This is not to say that we can't take action in winter or that we can't rest in summer but, rather, be gentle with yourself and don't expect that your energy levels will be consistent all year long.
2. Connect to your menstrual cycle
Our menstrual cycles carry so much wisdom and information that has been lost over the years. It is now making a come back and I am so here for it. Tracking your menstrual cycle is one of the most powerful ways to connect to yourself and learn about your own inner cycle. The inner spring and summer phases are dominated by masculine energy whereas the autumn and winter phases are more feminine.
Inner Winter: Menstruation - this is our bleed phase. It's the most inward part of the cycle when our intuition is at its strongest. Try to take some time to slow down, rest and connect to yourself. I love to journal and find that meditating feels really good in this phase.
Inner Spring: Pre-ovulation - we have stopped bleeding and are slowly feeling ready to come out into the world and enjoy the new cycle. There is a playful and fun energy as we start to take action on the insights from our inner winter.
Inner Summer: Ovulation - most of us will feel like we are on top of the world. Our hormones are supporting us to feel like superwoman and we can do anything and everything - but that doesn't mean we have to. Remember to continue practicing self-care in this phase.
Inner Autumn: Pre-menstruation - the phase that gets a bad rep! This is when the rose-tinted glasses from summer are well and truly removed and we do not have time for any BS. We are clearing all the weeds, ready to be fully present and in our bodies as we prepare to bleed.
3. Connect to the moon
The moon is an ancient, wise and beautiful guide. She is around 4.5 billion years old and controls the tides, gives us seasons and gives us our 24 hour days. If she can do all of that for the Earth, then just imagine the effect she can have on us. We, as women, are inextricably linked to the moon. She has a 29 day cycle which mirrors our menstrual cycle. It can be overwhelming to start working all eight phases of the moon so I recommend starting with the following three phases:
Dark Moon or Waning Crescent Moon - this occurs around 3 days before the new moon and is lowest energy and lowest emotional point of the lunar cycle. This is when we feel most emotional or vulnerable or exposed. Our emotions are indicators of what is going on inside us so this is the time to step away from the world, sit with your emotions and release what no longer serves you.
New Moon - this is the point that the sun, moon and the earth all line up in the sky. It's a time for new beginnings and to take what we don't want (from the dark moon) and translate it into what we do want. It is the time to start planting seeds and set intentions for this next cycle or few cycles.
Full Moon - this is a time for completion, celebration and gratitude. It is the highest energy point in the cycle and pulls emotions up to the surface. It is an opportunity to reflect on the last 2 weeks (since the new moon) and celebrate your successes - the moon is shining in all her beauty and glory and is inviting you to do the same! Then take some time to consider what got in the way of you achieving your goals.
You can learn more about the moon and her magick by joining a moon circle
4. Connect to yourself
Most importantly, learn to connect to yourself and your own cycles. Use the three points above as a guide. Ultimately, no one knows how you're feeling better than you. So perhaps you don't feel your best in your inner summer - that's ok. Perhaps you don't feel like celebrating at the full moon - that's ok. You do you. You do what works best for you on any given day. Our cycles are always changing and what matters the most is that you are connected to them and you honour them.
I hope these ideas have sparked something inside you. Perhaps a feeling of inner knowing? This knowledge is deeply ingrained in all of us. Start to tap in and enjoy the gifts it provides.
With love and gratitude,