Rather listen than read? Check out the Cyclical Yoga Podcast to hear me talk about different parts of my journey in my own words.
My Cycle Journey
I got my first period at age 13 and I was ecstatic about it! I felt like I was being welcomed into this super cool club of all the incredible women in my life and that was worthy of celebration!
Very quickly after, however, I realized that it wasn’t going to be a bed of roses. My periods were extremely painful, heavy, and irregular.
I remember trying to work on my homework while using a super tampon, an overnight pad, and sitting on a towel — and still bleeding through it all onto our office chair.
I remember taking 2 Ibuprofen, then 4, then 6 at a time to try to find some relief from the cramps, back pain, and headaches – but it was relentless. I knew I had to get help.
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, and more, BUT it would “regulate” my period so it would arrive on schedule, would be a reasonable amount of blood and length of time, and wouldn’t be so painful.
I was relieved! A pill that was going to solve my problems?! Sign me up. 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.
I experienced intense mood swings but that was written off as 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 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 12 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! (My husband, 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…. 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 and I felt joyous and renewed; like my soul was lighter than it had been in years.
As I read 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 curtain had been pulled back and I couldn’t go back to not knowing.
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 bleeding 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 and the fertility awareness method. 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 everything 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 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 –I am here to remind you that body literacy is your birthright and it is totally within your power to learn how to best take care of you.
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.
My Yoga Journey
Energy Flow Yoga was officially started December 2020 but the seeds were planted years before that.
I began my personal yoga journey all the way back in my Freshman year at the University of Iowa. It all started when my first acting professor insisted that we start each acting class with a few sun salutations to help us disconnect from the craziness out in the world and tune in to ourselves and our environment in the acting studio. I knew from that first experience that this yoga thing was something that I wanted to learn more about. A few months later a dear friend invited me to join her for a yoga class at our athletic center and I was officially hooked. I started practicing yoga at home on my own – from the little I could remember from classes – and went to every free class my poor little college self could get her hands on. Over the years, I have practiced yoga at studios around the world, on beaches and on mountains, in tiny dorm rooms and hotel balconies. My yoga practice is something that has grown and evolved just as I have – from an awkward, gangly, intimidated, shy 17 year old yearning for understanding and connection to herself to the confident, empowered, beautiful woman I am now, still yearning for deeper understanding, growth, and wisdom.
Although I started yoga as a more physical exercise, it evolved over the years to become the most important therapeutic and spiritual practice in my life. It has allowed me to quiet the dark thoughts, to embrace love for myself and others, and to practice patience, understanding, and acceptance.
I created Energy Flow Yoga because I couldn’t not share and continue helping to spread the practice and message of yoga. I also wanted to take it further and share how yoga was the key to helping me dive more deeply and embrace my own cyclical wisdom.
It’s so easy in this busy world to get caught up in the constant push for productivity, the shame and judgment for resting, and the feelings of worthlessness when you aren’t contributing in a material sense. As I progressed along my cyclical education and started to embody and live more deeply in alignment with myself, more intentionally matching my outer world to my inner world, my perspective began to shift. It became easier to see these energetic ebbs + flows as a great advantage, as the key to accepting and understanding myself, as the spiritual connection between us and the earth, the universe.
I chose the name Energy Flow Yoga because I wanted my work here to embody the acceptance and message that our energy is ever-flowing, ever-changing, but we remain worthy and important and valuable throughout these ebbs + flows.