Moon Cycle Yoga

Year Released: 2004

Categories: Yoga
- Audio Workout

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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it over half a dozen times.

General workout breakdown: This 49-min. yoga CD features a practice for women to do during their “moon cycle,” aka menses / menstruation, TTOM (“that time of the month”), Aunt Flo’s visit, or whatever you want to call it.
Poses include sukhasana (simple cross-legged seated) with hakini mudra and then forward bend, naval rolls, neck rolls, cat & cow on all fours, rest on belly, rolling bujangasana (cobra), balasana (child’s), vajrasana (diamond) with varada mudra, malasana (garland), upavista konasana (seated wide angle) with torso circles, knees to chest, gomukhasana (cow’s face; lower body only) with self foot massage and then forward bend, paschimottanasana (seated forward-facing fold), table top, baddha konasana (bound angle) with forward bend, supta baddha konasana (reclining bound angle) with rubbing palms (to place over belly), setu bandhasana (bridge), apanasana (knees to chest), jathara parivartanasana (gentle reclining twist), savasana (corpse), and then ending cross-legged seated with chin mudra and forward bend.
The pace is slow but measured. The pauses between poses are intentional, as they give you the opportunity to take in what you are experiencing. And the savasana is held for quite a long time.

Level: I’d recommend this to experienced yoginis who feel comfortable with audio-only practices. The postures are accessible to a wide variety of levels, provided you are already familiar with these fairly basic postures. Ateeka suggests a few modifications, and she emphasizes listening to your body, but she doesn’t focus on form, alignment, etc. I’ve been practicing yoga for over 6 years but haven’t gotten much past the low intermediate stage (headstands and other intermediate / advanced poses are still beyond me at this point), and I find this a gentle, restorative practice. A few poses are challenging for me in terms of flexibility issues, so I modify or use props where appropriate.

Music: instrumental (with some vocals, but of the “ooh, ahh” type), alternating between more exotic sounds (some sort of percussion) and less so (harp, flute).

Production: clear sound. Ateeka’s voice is slightly louder than music.

Equipment: yoga mat (or equivalent). You may want a blanket or towel to prop up your hips in seated poses or your heels in garland.

Space Requirements: enough space to lie down with limbs extended and to sit with legs out to each side.

CD Notes: This CD has three tracks, one for the introduction, one for the bulk of the practice, and one for the relaxation.
N.B. The CD cover has a link to website with a list of poses, but as of earlier this year that site is no longer active.

Comments: This is one of several yoga for menstruation practices I have. The others are found in Judi Rice’s Yoga for Inflexible People DVD, J. J. Gormley’s Yoga for Every Body DVD, and Linda Sparrowe & Patricia Walden’s The Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health. I also recently picked up Linda Hawes’ Yoga Therapy Prescriptions DVD-R. (And there are more books and media out there.) Anyway, I find that I prefer to pull Moon Cycle Yoga out slightly later in my period. The first day or two, when I’m crampy, I’m much more drawn to Yoga for Inflexible People’s restorative sequence; also, I’m not always in the mood for Ateeka’s celebration of being female at that time. For me, Moon Cycle Yoga makes a great way to signal the ending of my moon cycle but a brief respite before my return to my usual yoga practices.

Gloria Draper’s Full Moon Yoga should not be confused with Moon Cycle Yoga. Despite what I wrote in my review of Full Moon, it’s not meant for during the menstrual cycle but rather for when the Earth’s moon is full.

Instructor Comments:
Ateeka has a pleasant, friendly, supportive voice. She speaks clearly, both in terms of cuing and enunciation (even pronouncing the “t” in “soften”). She doesn’t spend a lot of time with form instruction; instead, she focuses on making the practice more nurturing (emphasizing listening to your body, going at your own pace, and backing off from trying to get further into poses), meditative (positing menstruation as a time for introspection, pausing between poses to observe), and spiritual (suggesting this practice be an offering to the universe, pointing out the interconnectedness of cycles in the female body and in nature in general, and referring to the divine / Divine). Ateeka often uses metaphors, many of which are based in nature (e.g. telling you to settle into a seated pose like a mother bird settling into her nest). This all may sound odd, but in the context of the practice it makes sense. Ateeka generally introduces a pose by its Sanskrit name but always follows with an English translation and brief discussion of how to come in (and later out of) the asana.