Message Olechkina »Jun 28, 2013 1:10 am
Guys. Such a question suddenly arose regarding the energy that comes from a woman. They say that you can’t go to church "dirty," that is, with menstruation. Is this somehow related to energy, or is there a different reason, or was it invented from scratch?
Ancient knowledge of women's health and menstruation
It is no secret that women's health is very closely linked to the biological rhythms of nature. In many cultures, there are traditions and practices associated with the intimate side of feminine nature, which modern women seem a bit outdated, and someone even refers to them as a “taboo” that has no scientific basis. Is it really? A small group of volunteer scientists decided to find out what our ancestors were guided by, observing certain rules in the “special” period of the female cycle. About the results of these studies, our new article, “Women's Menstrual Practices.”
In many ancient cultures, there are a number of traditions, recommendations, and cultural practices related to the menstrual cycle of women. Most modern women and professionals relate to such practices as menstrual taboos and advocate the rejection of such "restrictions." This study examines the principles on which ancient traditions are based and explains why they were not originally considered to be “women's limitations”, but were designed to preserve women's health and well-being. And although many of these traditions are not practiced in the modern Western world, the knowledge on which they are based can be useful to everyone.
As part of this study, a group of scientists and social workers traveled to eight states of India to learn about the origin of their menstrual traditions and their effects on the female population. To the researchers' surprise, immersion in each of these traditions revealed the positive side of the practice and made clear the fact that none of these traditions considered a woman “dirty” or “wicked” during the cycle.
Perhaps many will challenge the “scientific” nature of such practices. However, the study noted that most women, especially those living in villages and following similar menstrual traditions, are not worried about the scientific side of this issue. On the contrary, they see themselves as guardians of a culture that has been transmitted for centuries. In view of this, the researchers tried to consider the issue from a cultural point of view. However, this issue also affects both modern and traditional natural sciences.
General explanation of menstrual practices.
On the one hand, each of the cultures seems unique and brings a number of its rules. Such diversity may lead to the belief that there is no common source in such practices, and the unification of the principles of such practices should be avoided. However, when summing up the results of a study conducted during the year, it was noted that all these traditions come from the same basis of ancient sciences, such as Ayurveda, Yoga, Meditation, Mantra and Astrology. Knowledge of the Wise and understanding of the path of Yoga are also important for understanding traditions.
Ancient Vedic scholars recognized the concept of "energy", which generated movement, circulation, set the direction and motivation. Life energy was called “prana” and meant the original source or “breath” of life force. Western allopathic medicine originated several centuries ago and is considering the use of external medicines and interventions. Ayurveda, which is at least 7000 years old, is a science of life in general and considers the natural system of maintaining health and the human body inextricably linked with nature and the world around it. Ayurveda is based on the principle of 3 driving forces in the human body, called Doshas. Doshas are the bioenergetic content of body systems and are responsible for the physiological processes in the body. There are 3 Doshas: Vata-, Pitta- and Kapha-, which correspond to a certain combination of elements of ether, air, earth, fire and water. Each of the doshas has its own function. For example, Vata (an element of air and ether) is responsible for communication, perception and mental activity. Pitta (an element of fire and earth) is responsible for assimilation and metabolism, and Kapha (an element of water and earth) is responsible for stability.
According to Ayurveda, menstruation is closely related to the function of doshas. In this tradition, it is believed that the menstrual cycle is a special opportunity for a woman to get rid of the surplus of one or another dosha, and, thus, is a monthly cleansing that promotes longevity and health. In the premenstrual period, the body accumulates energy as it prepares itself for pregnancy, and if it does not, then this energy is removed from the body. During menstruation, Vata is the dominant dosha. Apana Vayu - one of the functions of the air element - is responsible for the downward flow of menstruation. Therefore, you should avoid any activity that impedes this movement. During menstruation, women tend to absorb energy from the environment. These principles form the basis of ancient traditions associated with women's cycles.
Given the above, let's look at the most common menstrual traditions and their interpretations, considered during research and travel:
- Avoiding spiritual and religious events, visiting temples, and avoiding physical contact with a woman during her cycle,
- Avoiding cooking and eating in public places / with other people,
- Abstinence from sex
- Abstinence from swimming and washing hair,
- Abstinence from certain types of products,
- The belief that menstrual blood is unclean,
- Rest from work during menstruation,
- Solitude of women in separate rooms for the period of menstruation.
1) Avoiding spiritual and religious events, visiting temples and avoiding physical contact with a woman during her cycle.
Many women reported pain or discomfort when attending large religious events during menstruation. One of the explanations originating in Ayurveda is that during the cycle the energy in the woman’s body moves downward, while all spiritual and religious practices are designed to create an upward flow of energy in the human body.
For another explanation, of a more culturological nature, a group of researchers turned to the founder of the Devi Temple (the feminine aspect of the universe) in Andhra Pradesh, India. Sri Amritananda Natha Saraswati, the founder of the temple, made strong arguments opposed to the prejudice associated with the impurity of a woman during the cycle.
“We don’t touch what is incomparably pure, and what we don’t touch is called‘ taboo ’. A woman is revered as a Goddess during menstruation. It is believed that all the energy from the idols in the temple goes to it, thus leaving the statues lifeless. That is why, in some traditions, women refrain from visiting temples during menstruation. ”
2) Avoiding cooking and eating from public places / with other people.
In many traditions, eating is associated with spiritual aspects and, as an example of Indian culture, is considered from the point of view of saturation of Prana. Many Brahmins (Indian spiritual servants) chant mantras while cooking in order to charge them with certain vibrations and a high level of energy. During meals, the lower centers or “chakras” are activated. For this reason, Tibetan monks recite prayers during meals to hold their energy in higher centers. In modern society, during food, energy is released from the lower centers, which can often be negative. Usually we don’t feel it. But it is believed that during the menstrual cycle, women become more sensitive and, given their tendency to absorb energy around themselves, such an effect can adversely affect health. Therefore, they are advised to eat separately during this period.
The following is an explanation of Ayurveda teacher, Dr. Maya Tiwari, from her book, The Female Power of Healing: Internal Medicine:
“Women do not avoid working with plants or cooking because their menstrual blood is not clean, not hygienic, or toxic. The energy inherent in plants, whether it’s products or seedlings, is Prana - the one that moves from the earth to the sun. In the opposite way, the menstrual blood is filled with Apana Vayu - a stream tending from top to bottom towards the earth. Thus, these driving forces are not comparable. Plant foods also contain a large amount of Kapha Doshi, which is responsible for the youth and nutrition of the physical body. While the blood is dominated by Pitta and Vata, responsible for cleansing the spirit. Thus, the decision to bring the energy that controls menstrual blood into cooked food is not a wise decision. ”
3) Abstinence from sex during the cycle.
One of the practices related to the menstrual period is abstinence from sex. On the one hand, the opinions of Western people and specialists are shifting towards “menstrual sex” as more sensual, thanks to the additional lubrication that blood forms and the increased sensitivity of women. However, the Indian tradition considers the flow of energy and its effect on a woman during "menstrual sex."
During sex, a woman absorbs male energy, and men release energy during ejaculation. It turns out that a menstruating woman who wants to get rid of her own energy should instead absorb the energy of a man. Sex with multiple partners or with a person filled with negative energy can dramatically affect women's health. Thus, sexuality during menstruation prevents the natural flow of energy in the female body and is avoided for the sake of the woman’s own good.
4) Abstinence from swimming / bathing and washing hair.
Maya Tiwari offers a Vedic explanation for this custom in her book Women’s Power to Heal: Throug h InnerMedicine
“At the psycho-energy level, we need to protect our body from the powerful effects of the rhythms of the water element. Water is one of the strongest of all five elements and is able to heal, nourish, nurture and restore the body, mind and spirit ... Despite the common understanding of purity, in ancient times people also knew about the sacred and strong nature of water, that she has her own energy and memory. Water, subject to its own global memory, can affect the course of the menstrual cycle, which is not a beneficial effect. On the contrary, we want the element of fire, which is the dominant memory of the blood, to function in its own rhythm. ”
5) Abstinence from certain types of products.
Part of India’s many cultural traditions that focus on menstruation is the abstinence or preference for certain foods during the cycle. During the study, a group of scientists interviewed girls in Assam, who were transferred to a 3-day diet of fruits and water after the onset of the menarche (first menstruation). In Karnataka and Andra Pradesh, in such cases, ragi (Indian drink), cassia leaves, bundle (drumstick leafs), fenugreek, raw palm sugar, etc. are used.
Ayurveda lists a number of products that have a definite effect on women during the cycle. It is recommended to avoid any products that enhance internal fire and heat, such as animals, as well as dairy products. Some women suffer from stomach upsets and loose stools during menstruation, so the food should be easy to digest and rich in iron and calcium.
It was noticed that women, whose first day of the cycle is accompanied by severe pain and vomiting, were relieved when they switched to the correct diet the week before and during menstruation. Traditional communities today follow these dietary restrictions and recommendations. This is probably the reason why fewer women in the villages experience pain and discomfort during menstruation. The effect of food on the course of the cycle is something that any woman can experience for herself. However, the constitution of each person is different and, accordingly, the ratio of the three doshas in the body is also different. Because of this, the same products affect different people in different ways. Therefore, ideally, it is better to consult a Ayurvedic doctor to get diet recommendations during the menstrual cycle.
6) Belief that menstrual blood is unclean.
Probably one of the most common beliefs is that menstrual blood is dirty or unclean. Interestingly, in some Indian cultures, it is revered as a blood of special strength.
One of the doctors in Manipur spoke about the meaning of the ritual practiced on the day of the first menstruation. In this area, the fabric stained with the first bleeding is stored by the mother and given to the girl on the wedding day. It is believed that such tissue has great power, able to protect a woman and her family from diseases and various ailments.
One of the elderly respondents said that she tried (drank) a drop of her first menstrual blood in the framework of modern traditions, since the blood was considered very strong in its effect and ability to maintain health.
On the other hand, the same powerful force of menstrual blood is interpreted negatively in Jharhand, where people are afraid of tissue stained with such blood. They believe that this blood is very strong and can be used for black magic. Therefore, tissue or other hygiene products must be destroyed after use.
Regardless of whether menstrual blood is viewed from a positive or negative point of view, in ancient traditions there are no conflicting beliefs that it has great power.
7) Rest from work during menstruation.
During the study, the essence of the Keddas festival, celebrated in Karnataka in January or February for 3 days, was explained to a group of scientists. It marks the beginning of the fertile (fertile / fertile) cycle of the Earth. It is believed that this cycle is similar to a woman’s fertility cycle. During these 3 days, Mother Earth is given rest, prohibiting any land work and harvesting. On the fourth day, the Earth is irrigated with oil and turmeric, which initiates the sowing season.
Similarly, it is believed that a woman should not be disturbed during menstruation, allowing the natural cleansing downward flow of energy to flow in her rhythm before the next fertile phase begins.
8) The solitude of women in separate rooms for the period of menstruation.
Not all menstrual traditions are associated with Ayurveda, some of them have developed for practical reasons: for example, providing separate accommodation for women during cycles. In October 20214, the media made a lot of noise regarding this practice of Goll (Gollas, sheep shepherds). We interviewed 300 representatives of this community to understand the reason for this tradition.
1. Gauls live in small houses with other families and livestock. Under such conditions, women do not have sufficient personal space, and it is also believed that their immunity is reduced during this period, which may entail the transmission of diseases from other people and livestock. Separate rooms are built of neem with weaving from medicinal herbs, which, among other things, protect women from insects and animals.
2. Communicating with older members of the Gall community, a group of researchers learned interesting facts about the origin of this tradition. Since the Gauls by their nature were nomadic shepherds, sometimes men were absent for months looking for work and food for sheep. During this time, their desire for intimacy with their wives increased and, upon their return, they did not think about the state in which their wives were (menstruating or pregnant). Thus, in order to provide women with the necessary rest and to make men more sensitive to their condition, separate dwellings were built.
This practice remains relevant to this day, and despite the interest of the media and the government’s policy of destroying such dwellings, the women of the Gall settlement are doing everything possible to leave the opportunity to retire to separate rooms for the duration of menstruation.
Personal experience of the author.
“As I learned more about the principles of Ayurveda underlying the menstrual tradition, I began to experiment with my own cycle. I learned about Mudras from the book “Mudras & health perspectives” and I was interested in this non-drug method of self-healing.
Mudras are an advanced part of Yoga, performed using the special position of the fingers and hands and can be combined with Asanas and Pranayamas. Мудры подбираются в зависимости от цели или проблемы, которую вы хотите решить.
Спустя месяц практики, мой цикл сдвинулся на 13 дней (что очень не характерно для меня). В поисках консультации я написала Джаянту Калавару, автору книги «Жизненная практика Адвайты» и основателю Фонда «The Advaita lifepractice», на что он мне ответил:
“The fertile cycle on Earth begins with a new moon: each of the nine nights after the new moon, Nava Ratr as, is of particular importance as to what action should be taken. This is directly related to sowing seeds, adding fertilizers and watering the soil / seeds. Groundwater rises and feeds the seeds / plants as much as possible during the time after the end of the Nava Ratr and before the full moon (approximately 5 days / nights). This agricultural natural cycle needs to be re-substantiated through rigorous empirical research.
A woman’s fertility cycle ends within four days / nights before the full moon. Therefore, the ideal menstrual period should fall four days / nights before the new moon. Thus, following the aforementioned hypothesis, it will be built in accordance with the general lunar-earthly rhythms. ”
In traditional practices, it is believed that a woman needs to synchronize her cycles with the moon in order to maintain menstruation and overall health in balance. In my experience, I noticed that I feel much better and overall discomfort has decreased.
I also noticed how I affect people and the environment during menstruation. During the last menstruation, my team was involved in physically hard work. I noticed how the whole team slowed down with me, and they did not have enough energy to work. Looking back, I understand that I “sucked” energy from the environment into me like a vacuum cleaner. The only person this was not affected was my girlfriend, who had just completed her period.
The theory of loss of one's own and absorption of the surrounding energy is applicable to everyone and can be traced in all ancient menstrual traditions. The absorption of certain energies affects both the course of the woman’s cycle and her environment. This can explain the status of the “inviolability” of a menstruating woman, found in such traditions. However, not all women equally affect their surroundings, which is most likely due to the fact that not all rhythms synchronize with the moon, and therefore their energy is not so significant. ”
Attitude to menstrual practices and traditions.
It must be remembered that the representatives of ancient cultures who initiated such practices were in a state of greater harmony and understanding of their own body and nature. They also had knowledge of the Vedas and other ancient sciences. Most likely, the application of such practices was the most common before the advent of Western allopathic medicine. The team of researchers working to develop a positive attitude towards menstruation in India and other countries sees not only the importance of fulfilling the practices themselves, but also an understanding of the meaning and reason why they were formed.