Menstrual Cycle Awareness helps you to meet your daily experiences and care for your changing needs.
At Red School we coined the phrase ‘Menstrual Cycle Awareness’ (MCA) to describe the practice of paying attention to where you are in your cycle each day, what you are experiencing and how to care for your changing cyclical needs. Menstrual Cycle Awareness is the mindfulness practice for women and is intrinsic to women’s wellbeing.
Through the practice of cycle awareness you can discover the inner seasons of your cycle and get to know your own seasonal pattern. When you know your unique cyclical pattern you can learn how to live in sync with your cycle. This unlocks the cycles hidden resources that you can use to heal your body and create a more sustainable and creative life. And best of all it naturally builds self-esteem and inner kindness.
Find out more about the benefits of MCA in our short video
Here’s how to practice menstrual cycle awareness:
- Get charting
- Cooperate with your cycle
You can begin charting right now regardless of where you are in your cycle. If:
- you don’t know which day you are on, just guess,
- your cycle is irregular get recording anyway. You might have to be a little creative in how your use our chart as it’s only for 30 days. For example you may find you have to work over a couple of charts for one cycle of yours,
- you’re on the Pill, chart your Pill induced cycle. It won’t have the same intensity but you will start to get the feel of charting and attending to yourself more thoughtfully,
- you have no cycle at all due to PCOS or because of some kind of hormonal contraception, then chart your mood and energy in sync with the moon phases.
Just start charting!
Find a way of charting your cycle that works for you. We recommend getting a notebook for daily journaling and month-at-a-glance menstrual chart. Alternatively, you can draw up your own chart, or use one of the many apps available. However you do it, make it a simple and enjoyable practice.
- On your chart, record which day of the cycle you’re on. Day 1 is the first day of bleeding (this doesn’t include the spotting that can occur for some women before the full flow begins).
- At the end of each day of your cycle, record on your chart your dominant feelings, your dreams, your energy levels, and so on.
- Start a new menstrual chart at the beginning of your next cycle.
- Alongside the simple daily charting described above, you may also enjoy keeping a journal in which you record more detailed observations, including significant events, dreams, themes, synchronistic events, dominant or recurring thoughts etc
- You can download a free menstrual chart here
2.Cooperate with your cycle
- Know where you are in your cycle and take note of what your tendencies are at this time
- Go with the energy and mood of your cycle for that day as best you can. For example, if your energy is low and you feel more vulnerable and want to be quiet, don’t push yourself. Move more gently and slowly, and be less social. You may find your sensitivity makes you more aware of details or opens you to the wonder of life. On another day you might be full of energy and could conquer the world. Go for it!
- Organise and structure your life according to your cycle pattern as best you can within the demands of your life. You’ll notice as time progresses that you become much more assertive about when you are and aren’t available and people will respect you for your clarity, self-care and discipline.
You’ll find simply cooperating with yourself, rather than bullying yourself to be something you’re not, can make you so much more creative and efficient. Your cycle is your ally helping you to stay connected to yourself, and guiding you in how to live a healthier and more meaningful life.
Keep going with your MCA practice. Over time more and more will be revealed to you. Look back at 3 months worth of charting and notice what pattern has emerged. The more you get to know this pattern the more deeply you will know yourself and the more easily you will be able to care for your changing needs.
You can deepen your MCA enquiry using one or some of these questions in your daily journaling.
- What inner season am I in now?
- Which are the signature characteristics I experience in this season?
- What are my core needs in this season?
- How does this season affect my relationships?
- How do I feel sexually in this season?
- What could I do to honour and fulfil who I am in this season?
We notice that the women who get the most out of MCA are those who take the time to do the practice above each day. But don’t worry if you forget the odd day – it can often happen around ovulation when you may find you’re less reflective; or at any other time for that matter. Just pick it up again and keep going.
You can experience inner wellbeing for yourself through the Women’s Wellbeing Course.
About Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer:
Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer are co-founders of The Red School and they teach a radical new approach to women’s health and wellbeing; creativity and leadership; and spiritual life based on the menstrual cycle. You can learn more about your menstrual cycle in Alexandra and Sjanie’s book: Wild Power:discover the magic of your menstrual cycle and awaken the feminine path to power.