How to reduce overwhelm and fatigue with restorative yoga

This weekend I have really been feeling the dark moon energy. I know many of my female friends have been too. Last night I taught a restorative yoga for the dark moon phase class. I practiced the sequence myself as I was planning the lesson and it was exactly what I needed to ground myself and restore my energy.

Dark moon phase and menstruation

The dark moon phase is the few days either side of the new moon. This moonless sky was on Monday here in Athens. This lunar phase brings with it a more gentle, slow paced and inward facing energy. We often feel more tired, less motivated to work and play and need time to rest and reflect. Just as the moon disappears from the sky, we also want to retreat away from our responsibilities and obligations.

When we align this with our menstrual cycles, the dark moon phase represents menstruation. This is the time when we feel our lowest energy levels. Some women experience cramping and pain as the uterus works hard to shed it’s lining. We often feel more tired and overwhelmed than usual. We might feel like we need a break from work and social activities.

It’s fascinating to me how many women seem to be bleeding with the new moon this lunar cycle. I started my period on Friday and so my menstrual phase spanned the dark moon phase this cycle. I also have friends in Greece, the UK and Germany who have told me that they were bleeding this weekend. Some of them told me they were experiencing more pain and exhaustion than usual. Collectively there seems to be a craving for rest and healing.

Cycle syncing in the dark moon phase

As much as I try to listen to my body and live in sync with my cycle, it can be difficult at times! In Athens right now it’s over 30°C. It’s quite challenge to reconcile that need for cool and calm energy with the fiery hot summer energy that we have right now. I want to do all of the things and sometimes my body just say no…

This weekend I had plans to go and visit an island with some friends. Even though I was bleeding I wanted to make the most of the trip. We went to the beach, ate great seafood and travelled all over the island. We saw endless pistachio groves and a beautiful temple. It was such a lovely weekend but of course when I came home I was exhausted as I hadn’t been able to take the rest I really needed. I experienced cramps into the 3rd and 4th day of my cycle which is unusual for me. Plus I still feel tired a couple of days later.

At first I started to blame myself for not taking more care when “I know better”. But really, there is no such thing as perfection when it comes to living in sync with your menstrual cycle. Sometimes it is just bad timing and there is nothing you can do about it. As much as you would like to hit pause on the world for a few days and continue were you left off, the world keeps on turning. We just have to do our best to take rest where we can and show ourselves some compassion.

Some ways we can nurture ourselves when we are busy during menstruation include:

  • Making time for a daily nap or yoga nidra practice
  • Spending at least an hour alone to reflect and dream
  • A short meditation or breathwork practice to connect with the pelvic space
  • Going to bed early or lying in if possible
  • Switching off electronics and all notifications for a while
  • Taking time to write in a journal or doodle
  • A daily restorative yoga practice

Yoga for the dark moon

One of my favourites is of course restorative yoga. I have incorporated this into my health regime over the last 3 years or so and it has done wonders for my wellbeing. Restorative yoga aligns well with the dark moon energy as it is a very slow, soft practice. We use lots of pillows and props to support the body and hold postures for 5-20 minutes at a time. The practice is designed to restore energy and stimulate healing within the body mind. It really is a transformative practice!

On Tuesday evenings I teach Yoga for Women’s Health at the Mala Centre in Holargos, Athens. With all of these energies in the air, I decided to offer a slightly different style class last night in honour of the dark moon phase. Some yoga practices can be very intense, building heat and strength in the body. It particular, vinyasa and ashtanga styles of yoga can be very dynamic and need a lot of stamina.

These practices are great for creating a strong and healthy physical body and focus and discipline in the mind. But it’s important to also balance this kind of yoga with a slower, cooling and calming practice. This is especially important for women as we cycle through our own monthly ebb and flow of energy. I love how the yoga practice has so much to offer us and can meet us where we are right now.

Healing new moon yoga sequence

With this in mind, we practiced a kneeling version of lunar salutes or moon salutations instead of the usual sun salutations in a hatha yoga practice. This sequence has a lovely grounding energy to it and includes lots of lunges to open the hips and side bends to create space in the side body. I also included more restorative yoga postures than usual using pillows as props.

As usual, we practiced some postures and breathwork to support healthy menstrual flow and to ease pain in the pelvis and lower back. This includes Badda Konasana (cobblers’ pose), Upavistha Konasana (wide legged seated forward fold) and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (supported bridge pose). The class ended with a short yoga nidra practice to support deep rest, healing and restoration of that yin, lunar, feminine energy that we are craving right now.

The students left the class with a healthy, happy glow. It’s a good job the class was in the evening as we were all ready for bed afterwards! I plan to teach a similar restorative yoga class for the dark moon next cycle too as it’s such a beautiful practice.

If you live in Athens and want to join me for yoga in Holargos or Filothei, you can check the schedule and book your space HERE.

Until next time, Namaste…

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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