Menstrual Phases (Part 3): The Yin Phase

Our yin-yang representation of energies rising and falling, transforming from one to another provides a model of the yin phase of the menstrual cycle, from 3:00 to 6:00. Here, the yin energies (deep, dark, inner movement) increase. This is the phase from the end of menstruation (the blood emptying phase) to maximum growth (ovulation.) Here we can visit the dynamic intersection of rising hormones and the deep, inner menstrual response. The endocrine energetic is a forward, post-heaven (or earthly)

response to life as it is. We are building the foundation through which life can come.  The kidney energies, emptied from the previous cycle’s menstruation, are now ready to give rise to new possibility. The kidney essence will feed the liver blood, which will rise until it reaches its apogee and begin the conversion of yin into yang. The endocrine response will raise estrogen as the follicle grows. In response to the rising estrogen (a yin hormone), the inner menstrual reverse cycle is occurring.

At the gynecological level, the reverse of the endocrine response is underway as the blood, created by the spleen, rises to the heart, is cooled by the pericardium, and directed to the liver to build which recruits kidney essence in the form of the uterine lining.  One energetic system moves up and out as the other moves in and down.

This cycle can be interrupted by anything that over extends the inner reserves out in the world.  Overabundant desires can deplete the blood and stagnate the qi. Overextending your energy in worldly affairs can deplete the spleen qi and kidney yang; leaving very little to invigorate reproductive essence. Any frenetic activity in life – physical or mental, can disrupt the heart kidney axis, shortening the follicular phase. The resulting TCM diagnoses can include:

Qi or kidney yang deficiency – usually will delay ovulation. Signs of fatigue and coldness. May include blood deficiency, as spleen qi makes blood, and ascends to the heart.

Too much heat – a short follicular phase, early ovulation. Liver fire and heart fire are often exacerbated by forcing movement instead of resting. This scatters the qi, and can be associated by concurrent qi deficiency.

Inadequate yin – lack of cervical fluid, Might be associated with blood deficiency or heat. Often accompanied by a deep inability to accept what is.

Deficient liver blood – might delay ovulation; usually accompanied by scant menses. Often accompanied by lack of hope, and despondency, which stifles the liver qi.

Qi stagnation – will often delay ovulation, which will be symptomatic.

Blood stasis – lack of inner life movement.

Dampness – may have abundant cervical fluid, but cycle is still sluggish.

As you’ve been reading this, your attention may be focused on your particular TCM diagnosis, while ignoring the cause. If you go to an acupuncturist to treat the pattern of imbalance without addressing its cause, it won’t take root. It might clear up symptoms, but rarely will a doctor be able to restore your fertility without your help in curbing the energies that are causing the imbalance. Addressing the diagnosis is relatively superficial; addressing the cause requires some depth and courage. If your longing outside and the frustration over the lack of fulfillment of your desires are too strong, the spirit of the heart literally cannot reach the kidneys.

You must always care for yourself first. Then what’s showing up as imbalances. Then on the goal of a child. It simply doesn’t work the other way.