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How dance influences your cycle

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

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Our cycles, the ancient rites, and the Sacred dance

How dance can influence your cycle:

Women are cyclical beings, our periods are an indicator of cyclical patterns in our lives. Each phase of our cycle affects our bodies very differently.

Just like the seasons of the year, there are 4 phases in your cycle every month: the winter - the menstruation, the spring - the pre-ovulatory state, the summer - ovulation, and the autumn - the pre-menstrual state.

In fact, there is a fascinating connection between dance and the menstrual cycle that may surprise many. While dance itself does not directly alter the physiological aspects of a woman's menstrual cycle, it can influence hormonal changes, alleviate menstrual symptoms, and enhance overall women's health. Let's see how our bodies change to adapt to these phases every cycle.

The Winter - Menstruation

how dance influences women's cycles - the winter

The story:

The beginning of a new cycle is not necessarily a pleasant one when most of us find ourselves too exhausted and in too much pain to be able to deal with anything else other than the microcosm of our existence.

Your body is calling for rest and recovery, stretches, gentle walks, and hip movements will help you to start connecting deeply with this phase of your cycle as well as alleviate pain and offer pleasure to your body and mind.

The ancients embraced this part of their cycle by understanding the 'cleansing' effect it had on the body. In fact, the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates may have started the practice of bleeding sick people after observing women recovering from bloating and aches and pains after starting their periods.

The science:

The menstrual cycle is a complex process that involves a series of hormonal interactions and changes within a woman's body. It begins with the onset of menstruation, where the uterine lining sheds, and estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest. This marks the start of a new cycle, typically lasting between 28 to 35 days. One of the salient hormones involved in the menstrual cycle is estrogen. It is primarily produced by the ovaries and plays a vital role in regulating menstruation.

Dance has been shown to impact estrogen levels positively. Engaging in physical activities like dance stimulates the release of endorphins, which can help balance hormone levels, including estrogen. Moreover, dance, being a form of exercise, can also influence hormonal balance by reducing stress levels.

Stress can disrupt the delicate hormonal equilibrium, leading to irregular periods or other menstrual abnormalities. By incorporating dance into one's routine, stress levels can decrease, thus promoting overall hormonal health and regularity.

Furthermore, dance can help relieve common menstrual symptoms such as menstrual cramps and bloating. The physical movement involved in dance stimulates blood circulation, reducing pain and discomfort.

Our advice:

Let your body sleep & relax. Try doing some gentle exercise, hip movements, and lower back stretches.


The Spring - Pre-Ovulation State

how dance influences women's cycles - spring

The story:

The days leading up to your ovulation may make your body feel more energised, as a surge of hormones is being created and released into your body. You no longer feel tired, and your body is recovered from menstruation.

This is the perfect time for you to start dance practise and get your body into the daily routine. When in this state of your cycle, consider trying what you thought was a hard move, or something you couldn't do in the past - you might be surprised that after resting your body during menstruation, now it is ready to take on harder challenges.

For this phase don't only include your pelvic area in your dance practise, instead use your entire body to feel the pleasure and the ecstasy of the dance, to build and strengthen your connection to the elements around you, the earth below your feet, and the sky above you.

The science:

As the menstrual cycle progresses, another essential hormone comes into play progesterone. During the second half of the cycle, the ovaries release progesterone, which helps prepare the uterus for the potential implantation of a fertilized egg. However, imbalances in progesterone levels can lead to conditions such as heavy bleeding, irregular periods, or even infertility. Regular dance practice can positively impact progesterone levels and improve hormonal balance.

Studies have shown that engaging in physical activities like dance can enhance progesterone production, which may contribute to a more regular menstrual cycle and reduce the risk of abnormal uterine bleeding. Additionally, the endorphins released during dance act as natural pain relievers, helping to alleviate menstrual cramps and improve overall mood. Truly, dance can contribute to enhanced reproductive health.

Our advice:

Try joining new dance classes, practising harder moves, and trying out new moves.


The Summer - Ovulation

how dance influences women's cycles - summer

The story:

The most powerful part of your cycle comes during ovulation when your body is ready to carry and host a baby. During this time you may feel sharp pains related to the moment of ovulation, a lot of the time dance can only help to alleviate those pains.

For a much deeper connection during that time, you can do what our ancient ancestors many thousands of years ago did: dance to honour the body and its cycle. They danced to connect with that moment of ovulation and that then helped them to understand in what phase of their cycle they are in.

A lot of fertility rituals happened exactly on this day in honour of the Great Goddess, the goddess of Earth and fertility. To be able to carry a baby was a true blessing in ancient times, as not a lot of people made it into adulthood, in fact, a lot of the children would die early in their life of natural causes such as cold, disease etc.

The way they viewed it is the more children you have the greatest chance of survival of the human tribe. Therefore, this was the time of connection with the wild woman, the body, and her primal instinct of survival.

The science:

The rhythmic movements and exercises involved in dance promote pelvic floor strength, which is essential for ensuring the optimal functioning of the reproductive organs. A stronger pelvic floor can aid in preventing conditions such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids, which can negatively affect fertility and menstrual health.

While dance does not directly affect the duration or timing of the menstrual cycle, it can indirectly impact fertility.

By reducing stress levels, promoting hormonal balance, and enhancing overall physical health, dance can increase the likelihood of successful fertilization during ovulation, leading to a higher chance of becoming pregnant for those actively trying to conceive.

Our advice:

Release the sensuality that has been building up in your spring phase, use your body to express emotions, and explore your sensuality. Go wild!


The Autumn - Pre-Menstrual State

how dance influences women's cycles - autumn

The story:

As with the seasons, the body follows this booming of expression, creativity, and sensuality by slowing down. It is inviting you to reflect, to recuperate, and to celebrate life.

Although PMS is not common to everyone, dancing has proven to be a wonderful medicine for any symptoms you are feeling. Women in ancient times would use this time to slow down their bodies and create soulful connections - looking at nature and replicating its movements and working with individual parts of the body.

Although the body required a slower pace of movement, they were abundantly creative by incorporating slow sensual, and erotic dancing that pleased their bodies.

The science:

Moreover, dance offers a unique avenue for self-expression and emotional release. It can provide an outlet for emotional symptoms associated with PMS premenstrual syndrome, helping women cope with mood swings, irritability, or depression commonly experienced during this phase of the menstrual cycle.

While dance may not directly change the physiological aspects of the menstrual cycle, it can positively influence hormonal balance, alleviate PMS and menstrual symptoms, as well as promote overall women's health. By engaging in dance and enhancing physical activity, women can experience reduced stress levels, improved hormonal regulation, and enhanced reproductive health. Therefore, dance can be considered a valuable tool in supporting and optimizing women's well-being throughout their menstrual cycles.

Our advice:

Experiment and be creative with the wisdom you have acquired throughout your cycle. It is the time to reflect and use your newfound movements and somatic experiences in dance.
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