Moon Cycle Survival Guide

I was 11 when I got my moon cycle for the first time and along with it came all the symptoms. The women in my family have all coped with heavy cramping, bloating and hard periods. I'm talking doubled over, nauseous, mind-numbing cramps from knees to mid back, black out pain. I'm grateful I have a hippy yogi mom and to grow up in an Ayurvedic home to help me learn what would work for my body. 

When I went to a gynecologist, they thought maybe I had endometriosis, but that was quickly thrown out. The next "resolution" was to put me on birth control, which we did not do. Over the years I tried cutting out all sugar, caffeine, hard cardio, warm compresses, prescription pain medication (which just made me high and didn't actually take the pain away), you name it, I've most likely tried it. 

Over the years I have collected recipes, remedies and techniques that have helped me to cope. For me, one of the most powerful tools I learned is to just recognize that this is how my body cycles. I put this guide together to make it as gentle as possible. Not saying this is how all women's bodies cycle. If you truly feel like something is off, I recommend finding a naturopath or gynecologist that you like and trust to see if there is something else going on. I am not a doctor and am just sharing what I have found works for me. 

Warm Gingner Tea: 2-3 Days before my cycle and the first few days of my cycle, I sip on ginger tea. This is an Ayurvedic recipe and it makes a huge difference. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and will help with bloating, indigestion and cramping. I will make a big batch of this tea each morning and sip on it throughout the day. Adding a bit of honey will up the anti-inflammatory factor. 

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 3 inche fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup nut milk
  • honey to taste (optional)

In a saucepan, bring the water and ginger root to a boil and let it roll until reduced by about a 1/3. Add the milk and remove from the heat. Pour into a mug and add honey to taste.

 

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  • Pain Management: I used to pop 4 ibuprofen every 8 hours when I was on my cycle because it was the only thing that would touch the pain. I finally found a combination of supplements and herbs that really work.  I work in a chiropractic clinic and we sell a product called Formula 303. These magical pills are an herbal muscle relaxant made from valerian, magnesium and passion flower extract. They work like a dream not only for cramps but also tension headaches and muscle tightness. I take 2 every 3-4 hours to stay on top of the pain for the first 3 days of my cycle. I have found that these are not as effective is the cramping is already really bad. I have to make sure I take them at the first sign of cramping. I also take a dose of CBD each morning and evening to help with inflammation and pain. I currently use Select CBD.  I have been really happy with this source but don't necessarily think its the only one or the best one out there. Do you research and make sure you are getting it from an organic source. I will be doing a whole blog post on CBD soon.  When things get really painful I will add a Valerian Tincture, as well. This is formulated by the doctor I work for, but you can find valerian tinctures at most health food stores. 
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  •  Free and Easy Wanderer: This is a Chinese herb combination developed to help support the female reproductive system. When I am good about taking this every day, it makes a difference in my cycles. I take one dropper-full each morning in my glass of water. 
  • Ashwadangha: This Ayurvedic herb is truly amazing for the entire body. It helps to support the adrenal glands, nervous system and reproductive system. It very high in iron (if you have extra heavy periods, mix ashwagandha with molasses and nut milk). I take this herb almost every day. I feel that it helps keep my body in balance, and it also strengthens the uterine wall. Sun Potion is my favorite source for powdered extract. It is organic and tested for heavy metals (this is extremely important for products that come out of India). Portland Ashwagandha Farm makes a really great tincture as well. 

Note: I am also planning a post on adaptogens to support  your moon cycle so stay tuned for that!

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  • Warm Epsom Salt Baths and Hot Water Bottle: I'm a sucker for a warm bath. When cramping is really heavy, I light a candle, fill the tub, add epsom salts and climb in. I use this time to meditate and connect with my body. Sometimes I read a book, but it really helpful for me to just sit and listen to my body. I will place my hands on my abdomen and breathe through the discomfort. The warm water and epsom salts help to ease the cramping as well as low back pain and body aches. On days when a bath isn't possible or it's just too hot outside, I will curl up on the couch with a hot water bottle tucked next to tummy. This makes a huge difference and feels warming and comforting to my body. 

  •  Movement: Some people find it helpful to do cardio or movement while on their cycles. My body does not like it. I have a tendency to do very gentle and slow yogic stretches and gentle slow walks. This way my body is still moving, but not exerting. It's already working so hard to expel what no longer serves it. Some yoga poses that feel very soothing to my body are child's pose, gentle camel pose, and sitting in easy pose with both hands gently cradling your abdomen. Breathe all the way down into the bottom of your abdomen and breathe it all out. Whatever type of movement you choose to do during this time of the month, make sure you are connecting with your body and not pushing. 
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I am sharing these tools in hopes that it will provide some sort of support or help for other women. I know that I felt like this was just going to be my life and I couldn't do anything about it. It took me asking questions, trial and error and my yogic upbringing to find the things that worked. That being said, our bodies are always changing and always evolving so tomorrow I could wake up and none of these things work. Learning to tune into my body and truly listen has been the most powerful tool. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me directly or leave a comment below. 

How Body Bliss Life was Born

Happy Friday! I realized I just jumped into the whole blog thing and didn't do a post introducing myself, what I do and why I do it. So here goes:

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Hey! My name is Amrit-Sadhana, I live in Portland. I'm originally from Central Oregon and have lived in LA, Italy, Vietnam and spent extended time in India. I grew up in a yogic home (which you've heard me say before), but what does that mean? It means that I was raised with Kundalini yoga and meditation from a young age, we didn't wear shoes in our house, it constantly smelled like chai (totally ok with that), chant music was played non stop and we had a yoga room (yes, a whole room dedicated to yoga). This does not make my childhood extra special or void of trauma, but it did provide me with some tools that I carry with me to help me to cope. In fact, it's what helped me to heal from trauma. This lifestyle is the seed/foundation of why I created Body Bliss Life. I wanted a place where I could share my knowledge and experience of Ayurveda, yoga and mediation. Where you could find inspiration to create yummy and healthy vegetarian meals and a place where being a woman is 150% celebrated. Living consciously and blissfully is my passion because I feel that we all deserve it. It's a birth right. 

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    When I discovered feminine movement, I feel like the missing piece of a puzzle was found. When I lived in LA, I met Sheila Kelley (the creator of S Factor). She invited me to come take a class (me?! pole dancing... I don't think so). Took me about 3 months to take her up on her offer and of course I was hooked from the moment the class started. Never had I been given permission to move my body without judgement or shame. I could spend 10 minutes to get from the floor to my feet and it was celebrated. Too often, we are rushed and don't allow our bodies to just move in a way that feels good. Thus began my journey. When we moved away from LA, my body missed the movement so much. I traveled back several times for teacher training so I could become a teacher. Discovering my style of teaching took some time, but I found that it works best for me to fuse my upbringing with yoga and meditation with the movement, thus was born Body Bliss Movement. 

    I have a lived a lot of life in 31 years. There is so much more to tell but for now I will leave you with a few fun facts about me:

    1.  When I was young, my father was a professional shepherd. I spent many of my childhood days on a farm "helping." In high school/college, I milked cows. You could say that I am a farm girl at heart
    2. I am semi-fluent in Italian (used to be fluent) and miss Italy every single day
    3. I have my Bachelor's in Voice Performance and sang with Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera for 2 1/2 seasons.
    4. I did a 1000 day meditation (1000 days in a row without missing one day. A minimum of 11 minutes a day and no more than 31. In Kundalini yoga when you do a meditation for 1000 days in a row, you master it.). I did bound lotus, which is when you sit in full lots and wrap your arms around to grab your toes and then bow your forehead to the ground. 
    5. Elephants are my most favorite animals in the entire world!
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