Ayurveda suggests that women honor this special time of the month with suitable daily routines and rituals. Here is a selection.
Avoid sleeping in the daytime, as it will create toxins
Avoid abhyanga (oil application) during menstruation, as it will create toxins.
Do not receive massage during menstruation.
Do not do nasya (nosal oil drops)
Do not do sweats, steams or saunas
Avoid loud noises, violent movies etc. This is a sensitive time.
Do not go running or biking.
Do not exercise or exert too much.
Eat rice pudding
Eat lighter meals
Avoid sharp, pungent, heating and salty foods
Let your partner cook. Standing over a hot stove is not ideal for moontime. If possible, it is better for your husband or partner to cook for you.
Focus on positive thoughts
Special Moontime Rituals
Make yourself a special box for Moontime. For example: a red altar cloth, red candles, a picture of Kali, some special soap and some iron-rich treats like chocolate raisins. Prepare your moonbox lovingly to help you feel nurtured during moontime.
A Moon Rose
Throwing your moonbloods in the trash is not the most respectful approach--although it may be necessary, depending upon your circumstances. If you use washables such as Glad Rags, or a Mooncup, offer your moonbloods to a special rose bush. Roses need extra iron and will appreciate your gift. If you live with other women, this can be a beautiful project to share.
A Red Tent
In traditional cultures, women's menstrual cycle was synchronized with the new moon. With most women menstruating at the same time, it was traditional for women to gather, along with the grandmothers, in a Moon Lodge, red tent or other special setting, to sing and tell stories. In Jewish tradition, women have a 'half holiday' on the new moon (rosh chodesh). They are relieved from heavy work and encouraged to gather together in celebration.
A Moontime Meditation
Make friends with a tree you can sit under. If convenient, place hay or straw, covered by a moon cloth, under the tree and sit without pad or underwear, so you can bleed directly on to the ground. If this is not feasible, such as if your tree friend is in a public park, just sit comfortably under the tree. Feel the energy flowing into the ground and offer your moon energy to mother earth.
Special Ritual for Ending Moontime
This ritual is laid out in the Ayurvedic texts. First anoint your body with a favourite unguent e.g. chickpea flour, oil (almond, sesame, mustard, sunflower), sandalwood, turmeric, rose petals etc.
Then take a special ritual bath and wash your hair. Brihad Samhita recommends an array of fragrant and cleansing herbs and essential oils for this special bath--try a nurturing aromatherapy bath from Aura Cacia.
Then put on clean, fresh clothes, white is recommended. (It can be nice to have a special red moontime dress for Kali, and then after the ritual bath, put on white clothes to attune to Goddess Sarasvati). Wear flowers! Moontime was a purification--now honour and celebrate your purity.
Next week: home remedies for menstruation!
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
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