Bleeding from a hole in your body. But not bleeding like you’ve got a paper cut. I mean bleeding as if someone slashed an artery with a knife. A sharp knife. I mean bleeding as if it was dripping from a shower. Gushing. Flooding. As if Niagara Falls was made out of blood not water. And instead of flowing over rocks, it flowed out of your vagina. Bleeding as if a mass murder had just occurred in your undies.
And you’re not prepared for it. Usually the onset is at a time that is not only completely unexpected, but also entirely inconvenient. E.g while wearing white pants, whilst hanging out at the beach in your new teeny weeny bikini, whilst sleeping on fresh sheets or when you’re catching up with that cute boy you fancy. This torrential bleeding rarely occurs when you’re prepared or at a convenient time. Because let’s be honest.. There is no such thing as a convenient time to begin bleeding from between your legs.
And best of all, it's not always a nice red or liquid consistency. Sometimes it's an array of deep browns. Sometimes it's thin like beetroot juice, and other times it's chunky, clunky and clotty.
Absolutely DEEEEE - LICIOUS!
Now, to stop this bleeding (or at least to hide it and make it appear you're not secretly shedding your insides out of your vagina), you have three options:
1. Go about your day as usual, regardless of the fact that you're leaving a puddle of blood wherever you sit.
Note: This option isn't recommended as it will stain your pants, cause some social angst, and it is incredibly unhygienic and considered social suicide.
2. You can wear a diaper. Okay technically they are called "pads". But we all know that is just the polite way of saying "grown up women's diaper". Not only does it feel bulky, you cannot swim or wear tight clothing, you have to practice extreme caution if wearing a skirt and you will be sitting in your own bloody juices all day long, BUT at least the pad catches the blood and you don't have to worry about leakage (if you remember to buy the ones with wings of course)
3. You can shove a cotton cork up into your hoo haa and cross your fingers that it doesn't leak. These things are called "tampons" and are not only slightly awkward to learn to use, but can be embarrassing to be caught in the possession of, and if left in too long, it can cause you to spontaneously combust! Okay okay, you won't combust. But it can cause TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), which definitely isn't desirable. You can swim in a tampon, but the string can protrude from your swimmers causing infinite mortification and public humiliation.
Note: Option 2 & 3 are preferable and socially acceptable. However, both items are incredibly overpriced.
Now sleeping is a whole other story! You see, you can't sleep on your left side, your right side, your front or even your back. Tampons aren't recommended to sleep in, and pads.. well, gravity will work it's magic and one way or another you will end up either with a nice stain on your sheets, or blood in between your butt cheeks. Neither of which is pleasant. Pretty much it's a constant battle between being comfortable and desperately hoping you haven't moved in such a way that your pad won't catch that red liquid. It's uncomfortable, inconvenient and tiresome. Even if you do get a few brief moments of shut eye, you will be awoken by the fear of your pad leaking, or worse, by your pad ACTUALLY leaking. You're either sprinting to the bathroom to check yourself. Or waddling to the bathroom because you can feel it dribbling down your leg.
Sleep on your period, at least for the first few days, tends to be non-existent.
And now imagine pain in your stomach. A pain so excruciating it feels as if your stomach has been invaded by a family of echidnas. And those echidnas decided to simultaneously take up gymnastics. Cartwheeling around whilst their spikes stab into every inch of your insides.
As if the next World War was raging from within your ovaries.
As if an alien was transforming into a wildebeest in your belly.
As if there is a large cheese grater caught inside a tumble dryer. And the tumble dryer is actually your uterus.
A pain so excruciating it makes you want to vomit.
A pain so intolerable it is completely unable to be tolerated.
And the pain is so overwhelming you’re bent over holding your tummy, praying the pain will stop.
Or better yet, you’re on the floor in the foetal position wishing your pain was actually going to kill you because at least that way you could breathe.
No position would make the pain ease. Nothing could make the pain go away.
Moving hurts. Not moving hurts. Eating hurts. Not eating hurts. Coughing hurts. Touching your tummy hurts. Not touching your tummy hurts. Thinking of touching your tummy hurts.
EVERYTHING hurts. It’s a crippling, debilitating and consuming pain that makes you wish you hadn’t been born.
So there’s the horrific blood. There’s the debilitating pain. And the overwhelming cramps.
But then there’s also the irritability, the bloating and the lethargy.
Nothing is right. You’re too hot or too cold. You’re never comfortable. You’re incapable of being pleased.
You’re stomach inflates with what feels like the pooling of blood. It expands like an absorbent sponge in the ocean. And you feel heavier than an elephant and more unattractive than a public toilet.
And the cravings! Oh the cravings!
Imagine craving something sweet, salty, sour and savoury all at once. You want the lightness of a salad, with the satisfying taste of a burger. You want the greasiness of deep fried foods and something super creamy but with the saltiness of a soup. But you want it all together! Pretty much you want a buffet at the ready every second of the day because when those cravings hit, they're undeniable. Pretty much, you could eat 8 sushi rolls, a packet of oreos, 3 large smoothies, a couple of burgers, a jar of peanut butter, an entire cake AND some unicorn blood.. and you would still want to order a couple of pizzas! There is no satisfying the cravings of a period.
And all of this doesn’t just last a few minutes. It lasts for DAYS! A WEEK! Sometimes MORE!!
ALL of these delightful things, just to remind you that you aren’t pregnant.
C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S !!
Although it sucks. It is kind of an inevitable female trait. And on the plus side, it does mean you are healthy and probably fertile for the day you do want to have some kiddies of your own. SO in the mean time, hang in there!
I recently had a really bad week with my period. I don't usually get much pain, but this time it was TERRIBLE and I was pretty much house bound because I'd need to bend over and hold my belly for a few minutes until the pain eased enough to stand again. And that gave me some empathy and inspiration to write this and help others struggling with similar things .. i.e every female ever haha!
So, I'll shut up and let you take it from here!
Here are a few yoga postures you can do whilst you have your period to either help ease the pain, or even just to get a little zen time..
BALASANA // CHILDS POSE.
Come toward the back of the mat. Sitting on your heels. keep your toes together and spread your knees to hip-width or either side of the mat. With your fingertips in between your legs on the mat, Inhale as you lengthen your spine, and exhale as you slowly creep your hands forward until your arms are straight out in front of you. Place your forehead on the floor. Relax your arms arms so your elbows are rested comfortably on the mat and focus on slow, deep breathing.
DANDASANA // ROD POSE.
Sit with your butt toward the back of the mat. With your legs stretched out in front of you (straight if possible, if not it is totally fine to have your knees bent or to place a cushion or rolled towel underneath the back of your knees for a gentler practice). Feet together, feet dorsiflexed (aka flex your toes toward the sky or your body). Place your palms on the mat beside your hips, and inhale as you lengthen your spine and imagine a "rod" supporting your back from your tail bone all the way to the top of your head.
PASCHIMOTTANASANA 1 // BACK OF WHOLE BODY STRETCH
Sitting in Dandasana (previous pose), keeping your spine elongated, hinge at the hips and walk your hands down the front of your legs toward your feet. If you can only bend a little, this is fine! Hamstrings are generally rather tight, but this flexibility will only increase with patience, persistence and time. If you prefer, you can bend your knees and grab your feet and then work on beginning to straighten your legs.
This is quite an intense stretch, so remember to focus on your breathing. Try to hold for 8 long, slow and controlled breaths.
JANU SIRSASANA // HEAD TO KNEE POSE
There are very many different variations of this pose. And if you ask me, none are "right" or "wrong". That's the best thing about yoga, it's all about how it makes you FEEL! Not what it looks like :) Traditionally, this pose is done with your head on your knee, for me it feels better to be little higher up, but still hinging at the hips.
Sitting in the middle of the mat, extend one leg out to the side, and bend the other knee so your foot can snuggle in to the inner thigh of your straight leg. Inhale and extend the spine, exhale and bend at the hips, hinging toward the foot of the straight leg. Dorsiflex the toes toward the sky, if you can, grab your toes and pull them towards you. Hold for 6-8 deep breaths, and then swap legs.
EKA PADA RAJAKAPOTASANA // ONE LEGGED KING PIGEON POSE
Coming into downward facing dog, place your weight onto one foot, slide the toes of your other foot onto the opposite side of the mat, then along the edge of the mat towards the front. Bend your knee as you come down onto the floor with your shin/calf parallel to the front of the mat. Keep your pelvis facing forward, and beside the front shin. Inhale and open your chest, creating space and inviting in positive universal energy. You can tilt your head back if your neck allows. If you would like a gentler practice, stay here. It is quite an intense stretch through the psoas muscle, and will be challenging especially for those who are quite athletic/runners.
If you would like to increase the stretch inhale, open the chest. then exhale as you slowly walk your hands forward and away from your body until you are laying/leaning over your front leg. here you can either place your forehead on the floor or on a block, or use your fists stacked on top of one another to create a DIY block.
Inhale and walk your hands back up.
Push back into downward facing dow, and repeat on the other leg.
BADDHA KONASANA // COBBLERS POSE
Sitting on the floor with your legs outstretched, bring the soles of your feet together and draw them towards your groin. Your hands can be placed on the floor behind your back, hold onto the ankles or interlace your fingers in front of the toes without lift them off the floor. Inhale and open chest, Elongate the spine, push shoulders back and down away form your ears. Allow your knees to soften towards the ground.
UPAVISTHA KONASANA // SEATED ANGLE POSE
From Buddha Konasana, extend both your legs out to the side as widely as you comfortably can. Dorsiflex or point toes to activate your
quadriceps. Place your hands either on the floor behind (fingers pointing away from you), or infant of your groin, or on your thighs. Inhale and lengthen the spine. if this stretch is intense enough, stay here and breathe 6-8 slow breaths. If you would like a deeper stretch, exhale as you walk your fingertips away from you as far as is comfortable. You may be able to get so low your stomach touches the floor. Hold here for 6-8 slow breaths. Then inhale and slowly walk yourself back up.
USTRASANA // CAMEL POSE
Kneel on the floor with your knees hip width apart. Rest the Base of your palms on your lower back with fingertips facing down. Gently press your pelvis forward and tilt your head back if your neck allows. If you would like a more intense stretch, you can place the palm of your hands on the soles of your feet, on your ankles or on the floor. Remember to breathe here. You can even raise on arm and then the other for a slightly different stretch.
SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA // RECLINING ABOUND ANGLE POSE
Sitting on your mat, lay back on to your back. (If you would like a more restorative and gentle posture, you can place a bolster long ways behind your buttocks when you are seated, then recline back so your back and head are comfortably supported).Place the soles of your feet together, relax your shoulders, close the eyes and rest your arms. Place hands either on the floor beside you (Palms facing upwards) or on your stomach. Stay in this posture for as long as you like.
VIPARITA KARANI // THE "FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH" POSE
Move your mat against the wall. Sitting on the left hand side of the mat with your right hip against the wall, slowly recline,as you swivel your legs up the wall and lay on your back. Dorsiflex your toes towards your body, relax the body, and place the hands either on the earth beside you (palms facing upwards) or on your belly (feeling the rise and fall of your breath). Relax your shoulders and gently tilt your chin towards your chest.
This is an incredibly restorative pose and great for stress, fatigue, menstruation, and lower back pain. It is better known as "The Fountain Of Youth" because it is said to reverse the signs of ageing and gravity!
If you have blankets, this pose can be even more comfortable and grounding if you place blankets under your back (but not your shoulders or neck).
Love and light,