Summer, Music & Yoga

Today has simply GOT to be one of the best days of the entire year. 

Not only is it the first day of summer, and thus the summer solstice - when the sun is the strongest and the day is the longest, which is absolutely reason enough to celebrate BUT it is also World Music Day and International Yoga Day. Three of my favourite things (and probably yours too) all celebrated on one day! How incredible is that?  

Summer is always welcomed with open arms and optimism. This season has so many gifts that I am grateful for beyond measure:  flowers, warm weather, outdoor swimming and sleeping and eating. Sun and moon bathing and star gazing. Barbecues and fruit markets,  ice cream, grape popsicles, iced tea and cold beer,  picnics in the park and long walks after dark.

It is officially time to shed the layers I protect myself in thanks to the fluctuating and extreme Canadian weather and feel the soft ground under my bare feet and the wind on my bare skin. It is seems a more natural state of being to want to be outside than trying to avoid it all costs wouldn't you agree?

Music. Life would be far less wonderful without the accompaniment of music. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I listen to music every single day of my life. There is never a day that I don't. It provides a constant soundtrack to my days and lifts me up when I'm feeling down. 

Yesterday the power of music was shown to me very profoundly. I was shopping in the grocery store and a song came on the music overhead and suddenly I stopped what I was looking for and just started crying. The Last Farewell by Roger Whitaker. I last heard that song at my dad's funeral. The ability to change my train of thought and emotions so swiftly and surely demonstrates the power music has. 

To manifest today's power, please enjoy this playlist made especially for it. 

 

Yoga is a lovely exercise regime and philosophy that's good for any age or experience. It is a called a yoga practice because the only person you should aim to be better than is yourself the last time you practiced.

Yoga is great to do any time of the month but during menstruation one should try to avoid inverted poses (poses where you are upside down as this can cause retrograde menstruation as the natural flow out of the body is reversed to go back into the body).

Below are some soothing poses during that time of the month that can help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort. 

Image from Bechance.net

Image from Bechance.net

 

One of my favourite yoga celebrities is Rachel Brathen of @yoga_girl fame. She is the author of some excellent books and I find her approach very relatable and encouraging. 

Here is a quick, 3-pose video that any one can do at the end of a long day.

 

Whatever you have on your agenda for the day, may I suggest you try to fit in a little music and yoga and enjoy a solstice celebration of your own.

Namaste.

 

MH Day 2017

Tomorrow is the 4th official Menstrual Hygiene Day. As always, it occurs on May 28th and that date is chosen very specifically to represent the 5 days an average woman bleeds out of every 28.

This years theme is education and how important proper menstruation and menstrual hygiene education is. Girls need to understand why they get periods and what they signify and how to best manage their flow based on their circumstances. The more we talk about these things openly, the less stigma surrounds them. The Menstrual Hygiene Day team has created the hashtag #menstrucation which is a play on the words menstruation and education and I think it's perfect. If you're going to share anything on social media, please try and use that hashtag. Let's see if we can get it trending so the whole world knows important it is.

I received an email yesterday from the Menstrual Hygiene Day team and they announced a new alliance between WASH United, Simavi and Global Citizen. 

 The Mission of this new alliance is:

By 2030, menstruation will be a normal fact of life. Every woman and girl will be able to manage her menstruation hygienically, with confidence, with dignity and without stigma.
Visit The Menstrual Hygiene Alliance for more information and to get involved. 

Visit The Menstrual Hygiene Alliance for more information and to get involved. 

To further accelerate progress in menstrual hygiene globally, we need to ensure that the topic is a priority not just on MH Day, but every day. That’s why we’re creating the MH Alliance: to catalyse collaboration and coordinated action for MHM all year round. We’re inviting everyone to join and work together to help empower women and girls by making menstruation a normal fact of life. It’s bloody time.”
— Thorsten Kiefer, CEO, WASH United

As Feby is a partner in Menstrual Hygiene Day, we are now also a proud and honoured member of this new alliance.

I have been a member and huge fan of Global Citizen for a few years now and totally respect and encourage all the initiatives this organization does to make the world a better place. I am looking forward to the coming weeks to learn how I can do my little part to help make their ambitious mission concerning better menstrual education and hygiene a reality.

In the meantime, check for events happening in your area and/or make it a point to do something, however small, to help girls become better educated and less embarrassed about menstruation on May 28th. 

 

 

Empowerment Starts Young

Hello beautiful people! I hope April was good to you and that like me, you're delighted to welcome the month of May and all the positive things that come along with it...flowers, warm weather, birdsong, kids returning from college for the summer, longer days and a cheerful optimism.

April was super busy and oh-so-good. My favourite day was just this past Friday where I was once again fortunate to attend the Sister2Sister conference in downtown Toronto. The event brings together grade 8 female students from 8 public schools in a low-income district of this fair city.  The morning was filled with workshops galore and I hosted the "Menstrual Management" one with Angele from DivaCup.

We had a lot to cover in just an hour including the basics of menstruation, all the different products available to manage it including disposable pads and tampons, reusable pads (I had the audacity to bring in samples that I sewed myself and believe me when I say I am nothing like Martha Stewart so they were more than slightly imperfect!!), and the DivaCup.

The girls in attendance were young, with most being just 13, and new to periods and still adjusting to their changing womanly bodies. The faces some of them made while we demonstrated (with our hands acting a fill-in vaginas) how to insert and use tampons and menstrual cups were priceless and completely understandable. Being comfortable with your body is a learning curve that some full-grown women are still scaling so it's no surprise that these newly teenage girls were a little reluctant to discuss their lady bits but by simply attending workshops like this one, the chance they will become more comfortable in their own skin in heightened. After all, being informed and comfortable in your own body is empowering.  Honestly, I wish there had been something like this when I was a young, don't you?