Welcome back to Tuff Love with your host Rob Kandell. The guest today is Sheleana Aiyana and she’s here to talk about the topic of women’s biology. Sheleana is a writer, an online entrepreneur, she runs a series of online businesses. She has always been passionate about sharing what she loves through a platform, and developed a following online. She’s always been really drawn to the feminine arts in many ways, including health, wellness, healing, and women’s empowerment. Right now she’s building a business called RisingWoman.com, with her partner Heather, which is a platform for women about health, relationships, self-care and beauty. She’s also launching a new channel with her partner Ben called Love and Truth.
Sheleana is passionate about the topic of women’s biology because she’s done a lot of study about women over the years. She’s a birth doula, which is someone who works alongside a midwife, that is there for the woman’s emotional support and self-care. Doulas are there for mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of the woman, they’re not medical professionals. What she’s come to learn over many years is that a woman’s moon-cycle, or her period or menstrual cycle, is a right of passage and initiation into womanhood, just like in birth.
Sheleana shares her knowledge and perspective of women’s biology:
- Birth and menstruation are two things that in many ways are considered to make a woman weak, but they’re two things that are often kept in the dark and hush-hush. Many people will say things like, ‘as long as you have a healthy baby, that’s all that matters.’ That statement completely disregards the woman’s birth experience, even though it’s one of the most pivotal experiences in a woman’s life.
- It’s similar in the menstruation realm, in that it’s a rite of passage and in many cultures there are rites of passage events that occur for young women to enter into womanhood. But in our culture, it’s hidden and considered something shameful and taboo.
- We’re also seeing a shift into this hyper-masculinization of women where they push themselves really hard during their periods instead, with a ‘nothing can stop me’ attitude.
- None of that is conducive to a woman honoring herself and her cycle, and acknowledging that during that time something is going on in her body. It doesn’t need to be ignored and pretend everything is normal because it’s a very significant time.
- If she’s really in tune with her body, she will notice that every week she feels differently. That’s the natural rise and fall of the cycle. Once we understand how our cycles work, we can work with our cycle and it becomes an empowering tool rather than something we’re at the whim of and victim to.
- Rob grew up in the 70s and a woman’s cycle was just never talked about. For guys, there was an inordinate amount of fear around a woman’s cycle, but now as an adult and being more educated he understands more that a woman’s cycle is a magical time.
- There’s a big gap between our understanding of these things and the reality. Men’s involvement is something Sheleana likes to talk about with men, because they don’t always realize how significant they are in these experiences of pregnancy, birth, moon cycle.
- These significant events represent life, and we are all creating live, men and women together, so it’s something we all need to educate ourselves on.
- Men create rites of passage experiences for themselves, but women come with them built in, and we need to pay attention to that.
Sheleana explains more about the phases of the menstrual cycle.
- There are 4 weeks, and the archtypes are the maven/the virgin, the mother, then there’s enchantress and then there’s crone or wise woman.
- From a matter of fact perspective, the first day of bleeding is the first day of the cycle. The average cycle is 29 – 32 days. Some women’s is different, or irregular. Sometimes that’s because of a medical issue or something going on in life, but some women just have longer cycles.
- Traditionally the way the moon cycle and a woman’s menstrual cycle is linked is about 29.5 days in a cycle.
- For ladies, hormones are at their lowest when they start to bleed. As the days go by, they start to rise and rise, which is why by week 2.5, she’s getting into that enchantress phase.
- At ovulation, the hormones are very high so she’s feeling playful, empowered and strong. Then the hormones start to fall, and right before the moon cycle or period, that’s when fatigue, irritability, sadness come in.
- Week 1: Bleeding, Crone phase. A very inward time, it’s about cleansing and letting go of the previous month and starting a new. Avoid strenuous activity, can still do yoga, be gentle with your body, get lots of rest etc.
- Week 2: Maiden phase. Lots of energy, feeling fresh and new, ready to take on the world.
- Week 3: Enchantress phase. Preparing for ovulation. Generally around day 14-18. Really magnetic, a great time to ask for a raise or do something that requires negotiation, diplomacy etc.
- Week 4: Back into the crone phase.
- For some women it’s not that intense of an up and down, but for some women it is really intense, which can be indicative of a hormonal imbalance.
- Once you understand it and have charted your cycle, you can start scheduling around your energy levels and moods. This allows you to be in control instead of at the whim of your cycle.
How a man can be an ally to a woman:
- Know your partner’s cycle. It’s not just a woman’s responsibility to know when she’s going to be ovulating. It’s her responsibility to tell him what she needs during those times, but it’s a two way street. One of the most effective forms of birth control is to know your woman’s cycle.
- Women need to learn how to ask for what they want and men need to learn how to show up and be present, and pay attention to her cycle as well.
- Rob recommends couples remove the mystery. Instead of it being something you can’t talk about, make it something you really talk about. To know this information and learn how to dance with it, it so empowering.
- Sheleana doesn’t hide her moon cycle, and she’ll talk about it to anyone who asks because it’s not something there needs to be any shame around. It’s a natural part of life.
- The more that we honor these events and practice self-care, the easier all of our lives will be.
- A lot of times women are experiencing intense PMS or their cycles are difficult, it’s because they’re pushing themselves in a direction their bodies don’t want to go and working against their cycle.
Rob and Sheleana coach Selena around this topic. Selena’s cycle used to be very regular, however for the last two years it has been shorter, more painful, more PMS and more heavy bleeding. Her work has also been more intense in this time. She has been told she is healthy by a gynecologist but she feels there is an energetic imbalance.
- Sheleana shares her story with getting her hormones checked and how it impacted her PMS.
- Selena does know where she’s at in her cycle, she used to track very carefully and have rituals around her cycle. She used to if possible take time off on the first day of her cycle, but she hasn’t been doing that for a couple of years.
- The fatigue could also be an adrenal issue, and Selena could consider scheduling time for more sleep. Sheleana also used ashwaganda, which is an herb, an adaptogen, which helped her PMS. She recommends seeing a naturopath to check if that would work.
- Selena has been on a very low fat diet but now is eating more fat. Sheleana recommends continuing to build up the fat stores and tracking her cycle more. Schedule more time for yourself to tune into your body and let it talk to you.
- Sheleana says, “Often times when we’re feeling a lot of PMS, we’re not slowing down enough to give ourselves the time we need to be able to pay attention to what we need to tune in to.”
- Remember that it is a cycle, it is up and down and it won’t be the same every month, or every week of the month. It’s something to tune in to and allow.
- Women’s cycles do start to change with age, so entering the 30s can be a change.
- A lot of times a woman’s cycle responds to her environment: stress, changes in the relationship, sense of safety, security, empowerment, health. All these things impact. If there’s anything in her life that feels disrupted, it can impact a woman’s cycle. It’s really related to emotional circumstances too.
- Ask yourself, what do you need to do to make yourself feel safe and secure in order to balance out?
- Rob notes that where men can be an ally to women is to provide that safe environment, and also the time and space to enable women to have this full expression.
- One of the easiest things to increase fat intake and help support a woman’s cycle is to start drinking bone broth. Alternatively, use bone broth as the basis for a soup.
- Rob points out that for men, they’re like machines, left right, on and on. But this is something women have to deal with every day, and he appreciates it and notices the lack of attention the world pays to it.
- Most of the stuff around cycles is utilitarian. Here’s how to make it go away, here’s how to feel it less, here’s how to cover it up. Instead of saying, ‘here’s how to honor it and allow it to be the time you need to let go and have an experience.’
- Use the magical power inside you to have your life be more pleasurable and fuller.
Where you can fine Sheleana:
You can find her at risingwoman.com or on Facebook @risingwomanofficial or on Instagram @risingwoman
Or you can follow Sheleana and Ben’s journey at @LoveAndTruth on Facebook and loveandtruth.tv
TED Talk “Loving your Ladyparts: the path to success, power and global change” by Alisa Vitii
Moon Mysteries by Nikiah Seed