My journey with yoga started in my early 20s, when I was a busy and quite stressed University student in Sienna, Italy, and has gone through many explorations of styles, from Iyengar to Kundalini, from Vinyasa Flow to Ashtanga, from Hatha to Womb Yoga, from Yoga Nidra to Elemental Yoga... from being a student to becoming a teacher and a therapist and still feeling like a student (every time I sit on my mat to share with others), always in awe and full of gratitude to all I learn everyday from my students, especially the younger ones...
For me yoga is like a universal language, is the language with which the body and the mind can express themselves fully and find balance and purpose. They can become one with the Divine. This language has many dialects (all the different yoga styles) and all of these are equally perfect and beautiful, you only need to find the one that suits you, by listening deeply to your body innate's wisdom and knowing.
As women we know that we are never the same, that every day we shift along the magic wheel of our menstrual cycle: we go through our inner spring, summer, autumn and winter in one menstrual cycle and this can affect a lot our energy levels, our physical strenghts ans stamina, our emotions and so on. And it is crucial to learn how to listen to all the signals and how to honour the natural ebbs and flows of being a cyclical human being!
My personal practice is never the same, it really changes with the shift of energy I experience during my monthly menstrual cycle. It's more dynamic and quite playful during my inner spring; it can get stronger and more intense during my inner summer (this is the only one time of the month when you would find me enjoying a few sun salutations or poses from the Ashtanga series...). Later on, during my inner autumn, I start finding myself sitting longer in meditation and doing lots of grounding practices (especially all fours and seated) and also needing yoga nidra to keep me centred whilst my energy levels slow down; and then when I enter my inner winter, especially on day 1 and 2, all I want to do is sit or lie down in meditation or nidra and do only restorative practices. This is me. Not every month is the same, but this is my general monthly yoga wheel.
I invite you to experiment for yourself. I invite you to listen to your body and not to go against it, and really honour the need for slowing down or for more energised practices when it manifests. Your body knows.
"...When approached with appropriate consciousness and time, the menstrual cycle can be an inner yoga that initiates a woman into a deep sense of intimacy with herself and the Divine. What is important about this female way is that it practices us. That is, we don't have to 'do' anything, rather through a deeply felt engagement with the changing rhythms of our cycle, we can poetentially enter a spiritual consciousness. Simple though this may sound, it is an inner discipline of a higher order..."
(Alexandra Pope in: foreward to Yoni Shakti by Uma Dinsmore-Tuli)
Both in my personal practice and my teaching practice I also always connect to the maha cycles, honouring the seasons of Mother Nature and the solar and lunar biorythms. This way I feel a greater sense of inner and outer connection, allowing my body-mind to embody a practice in tune with the natural rhythms of life.