This is why I am here.
When I think back to 15 year old me, I wish I could reach back in time and give her a big hug.
I got my first period at 13 years old and right off the bat, I knew some type of medical intervention would be necessary.
My period was super heavy, painful, and irregular. I remember at one point, I just bled for 20 days straight, soaking a never-ending supply of tampons and pads in less than an hour. I was miserable and knew that something had to be done.
My mom, who had always suffered painful and heavy periods at a young age as well, took me to a gynecologist and like many of you, he told me that taking The Pill would solve all of my problems.
Sure, there was a risk of blood clots, stroke, weight gain, mood swings, acne problems, and more, BUT it would “regulate” my period so it would arrive on schedule and would be a reasonable amount of blood and length of time.
I was relieved! A pill that was going to solve my problems. So, I started taking it without so much as a second thought.
As I got older, I did gain weight – but then again, I also quit dance team around the same time. Yes, I did start to have more acne problems, but I was a teenager and that was normal, right? I experienced intense mood swings but I just had an “attitude problem.” I started developing major digestive issues but that’s probably just because I was stressed and anxious.
The list of excused symptoms goes on and on, and even though I knew there were risks associated with taking the pill, I didn’t necessarily put two and two together to realize that ALL of these things could have a singular cause.
And as the years went on and I reached college age, I started to rely on the pill to not only “regulate” my unruly body but to prevent pregnancy – and it was certainly working in that sense, so I swept my concerns under the rug.
Fast forward to 27 years old… I had been taking the pill for about 13 years and I can’t fully explain it, but a shift had started to occur. I would always take the pill at night because it made me nauseous and every time I would go to take it, I would feel overwhelmed with this desire to chuck the pill into the trash.
This wave of repulsion washed over me every time I thought of swallowing it. I would always accidentally drop it on the floor, choke on it, or forget it altogether! (Rodrigo was constantly reminding me.)
I can’t really explain it, but after 13 years of dutifully taking it every single night, my body and mind had had enough. And then fate intervened.
I don’t know if it was my subconscious protecting me, or fate/God/the Universe stepping in, but one day, my birth control pills simply didn’t show up in the mail like they always did.
At first I panicked, “Oh sh*t, I’m going to end up pregnant!” but I also felt this overwhelming sense of relief. It was like a fog had been lifted. I could feel and understand my emotions again. I could feel and connect with my body again – I had almost forgotten how that could feel. I had a really heavy period the next week (I later understood that it was my final withdrawal bleed before my cycle starting again) and I felt joyous and renewed; like my soul was lighter than it had been in years. I know that sounds very woo woo but it’s really the only way to describe it.
I started reading more and more about all of the negative side-effects of the pill, I started to piece it all together; “Could all of these seemingly unrelated issues really be connected with this tiny little pill?!”
I decided I had seen enough and had to find a suitable alternative. The fog had been lifted and I couldn’t go back to not knowing. I couldn’t go back to my naivety and ignorance. I just simply knew too much to continue down that same path.
As Rodrigo and I were still not ready to have children at that time, I decided to get an IUD because it was a super effective method of birth control with much less hormonal interference than the pill.
Suddenly for the first time since age 13, I wasn’t having a period at all. I thought it might be sorta nice – not having to worry about ruining my cute underwear, not having to remember to bring my menstrual cup or tampons with me on vacation, having sex whenever we wanted without worrying about whether I had forgotten the pill or not.
But I was left feeling sort of empty – like I was missing something- so I kept searching for even better alternatives.
And that was when I stumbled upon the beautiful and wide world of cyclical living. I started to deeply understand not only how the menstrual cycle worked in detail but also how intricately connected cycle health is with all other functions of the body.
I felt so angry. Angry at doctors for not explaining that the pill was actually silencing my cycle, not regulating it. Angry at society for encouraging women to blindly poison their bodies for years on end. Angry at myself for not doing more research, trusting my gut, or sticking up for myself.
Around this same time, I had graduated from my yoga teacher training and was practicing yoga daily; I dove headfirst into my yoga practice, trusting that it would help me connect back with myself, remember how to feel and how to trust myself again. And it did just that.
Because I wasn’t sure how to track a cycle that couldn’t be marked on a calendar, I started syncing my yoga practice, my social life, my eating habits, basically my entire life with the lunar cycle. I started incorporating daily tuning-in and tracking practices to help me remember how to connect with how I was feeling and then choosing to honor that. I started exploring different spiritual practices – like setting intentions, manifesting, tarot reading, journaling – to help me dive more deeply into trusting my own inner wisdom and intuition.
I started to feel more connected with myself, I gained more clarity about what I wanted in life – not only day to day but also the bigger picture. I built confidence, compassion, and kindness. I had more energy, my digestive problems started to disappear, my libido came surging back, I felt more present with my husband and friends.
And then something very strange and maybe even somewhat miraculous happened – my cycle came back. While I still had the IUD in place. I was surprised at first – is this even possible, is something wrong with me – but in my heart, I knew it was meant to happen this way. This was my body’s way of telling me that all I was doing to connect with and honor it was not going unnoticed or unappreciated. It was thanking me by giving me back this beautiful symbol of power and life.
I have known without a doubt from that moment that this is what I am here for. I am here to remind women how to take back their own power. How to trust their own intuition and wisdom. I am here to protect young girls from the misinformation and miseducation that I went through – because nobody deserves to unknowingly poison their body. I am here to remind you that you are worthy just as you are.
This is my journey and this is why I believe in the power and beauty of honoring every part of yourself, every phase of your cycle. Because you have inherent worth – every part of you – you have inherent wisdom – your body knows how to heal itself – and you deserve to be listened to, cared for, and empowered.
That is why I started Energy Flow Yoga – and why I created the MOON FLOW PROGRAM. Because I have seen the transformative power of simply accepting and honoring myself- just as I am- and you deserve to see it too.
Namaste, The Yogi Next Door
Ashley Sorensen, RYT 200 Hours
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