Book Review: Code Red- Know your Flow, Unlock your Monthly Super Powers and Create a Bloody Amazing Life

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Code Red is a great new book by Lisa Lister, who teaches women to be in synch with their cycles, and find a place of deep connection and creativity. I had the chance to interview Lisa, and her answers are below:

Why do you think women need to understand their menstrual cycle?

We are currently experiencing an epidemic of menstrual + reproductive health issues and dis-ease in the western world - endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, cysts, PMS pains, heavy bleeding - our lady parts are crying out for attention, yet so few of us know what day of our cycle we are on. Far too many women are totally unaware that we have a 4 part lady-code, a code that once cracked, will give us access, each menstrual month, to a series of super powers that can aid us in creating a bloody amazing life, and I want that for women, I want them to awaken to the awesomeness that is their menstrual cycle!

What are the issues with not understanding your cycle?

When we don't pay attention to, or understand the phases of our cycle shit can, and will, hit the fan. You see as women we are cyclic, each month we cycle through four different phases, which can be explained best using the seasons of the year: pre-ovulation - spring ovulation - summer pre-menstruation - autumn menstruation - winter During spring and summer, our attention is outward focused, we like to be seen, to do, to be sociable, but as the autumn approaches and winter sets in, we’re much more inclined to stay in + to rest more, the same is true of our menstrual cycle for the first half of our cycle, we’re very much outward focused, but after ovulation as we come into our own autumn and winter, we are naturally pulled to focus inwards, to pay attention to our own needs + to slow down, except modern living doesn’t allow this. Tending to your own needs is seen as selfish and slowing down is seen as a weakness and this is where the problems arise, we are surviving the second half of our cycle, we are experiencing pain and discomfort because we’re not paying attention to what our natural rhythms are trying to tell us.

Aren't symptoms meant to be ignored or medicated? (Tongue in cheek from me- as an osteopath I am totally on board with Lisa's message!)

Hell no! Symptoms are your body’s way of telling you to pay attention. Your body will provide you with all the answers you need, if you simply get still and listen to what it’s telling you. Unfortunately, we live in a dude-centric society, dudes are linear + goal orientated, they do and they get it done, but we’re cyclic, so for two weeks of our cycle, spring and summer, we can totally roll with that energy, but for the second two weeks, which are much more feminine and totally out of whack with the society we live in, it’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, we simply don’t fit, and when we don’t fit, we get frustrated, work even harder and then beat ourselves up with a big stick for not being good enough. Yet if we listened to what our body needed in each phase of our cycle, we’d have absolutely no need to medicate pain, because it would not be necessary.

How should women exercise during their cycle?

My general rule of thumb is, if it feels good, keep doing it, if it doesn’t? Stop. I’m not a subscriber to the ‘no-pain-no-gain’ school o’ thought, we are women and we should be experiencing total joy and pleasure as often as possible, so for example in the first half of your cycle, pre-ovulation and ovulation - you will have more energy, so a cardio-class, running or hiking might seem more appealing, while in the second half of your cycle - pre-mensturation and menstruation - you will feel more inclined to do yin yoga, 5 rhythms and movement that doesn’t push you, but totally nourishes you instead.

What does self-care look like to you?

Total pleasure + nourishment. When we listen to our body and her natural rhythms, everything should feel pleasurable and be nourishing - the food I eat, the movements I make, the work I do, the man I kiss - self-care is living a life that’s totally in tune with your cyclic rhythms, and damn it feels SO good!

What's you idea of utopia for women being healthy ? What does it look like?

It looks like a woman totally in love with herself, because she’s no longer trying to live a linear life and beating herself up for never quite being good enough, she’s no longer seeking the answers outside herself and feeling the need to medicate with drugs/food/alcohol/shopping - instead she knows she’s cyclic, and that she’s not consistent, in fact she knows that each month she shows up to life as four different women in each phase of her cycle and she knows that in each phase she has access to super powers that will make her life more juicy, more full, more pleasurable and most importantly experience more ease because she’s no longer going against her flow, but instead she’s going with it.

To buy the book, click on this link : Code Red and let me know your thoughts.