Ladies, It’s Time We Took a Holiday: Part One.

Via Emily Alp
on Jul 19, 2011
get elephant's newsletter

This piece is dedicated in part to Paul Dallaghan, based in Koh Samui, Thailand, who when he teaches pranayama tells students on their ladies’ holiday to avoid certain exercises, and to Jessica Blanchard, a brilliant Astanga practitioner based in New Orleans, who is also an Ayurvedic counselor and the woman who illuminated for me the point of this article, a point I feel compelled to share with every woman I meet.

Amidst the many pearls of wisdom that drop on my head through regular Yoga practice, one has proven more valuable than most. It’s related to female hormones. So gents, while I recommend you keep reading if you want to be in the know with some pretty critical biology, you’d do best to adjust expectations just a bit, and put on your imagination caps.

Photo: Beatrice Murch

I know few ladies who would say to me that they love their period. In fact, a lot of women I’ve known take pills, get shots and use hormone rings to push it out of the picture and into a place in their lives that’s far more convenient. But this — and regularly putting anything synthetic into a mind-blowingly complex, naturally-regulating human ecosystem — always freaked me out a bit. Still, for years, I was wondering how I would reach peace with the hormone rollercoaster. With the hold-on-tight emotional and physical implications it dealt a woman.

A huge door on this topic was unlocked when I read the book Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom, by Christiane Northrup. Her writings were my key to understanding the link between hormones and a changing experience of life and relationships throughout the month. She basically talks about the month as carved up in sections. Day one being the day you bust out the products and day 14, plus or minus two days, being the time when the egg of the month makes its debut.

There’s a huge world of difference between these days. The former being a time when a woman feels introverted, measured in her thinking, more inclined to rest and the later being a time when she is most physiologically like a man — with all of the potential energy of her body at her fingertips instead of drawn into her pelvis.

In the day-14 zone, energy is freed as much as her water weight and the rosiness to her cheeks and lips. She perceives her body as much improved vs. what she thought of it on day one. Her hormonally-driven confidence is supported by pheromones released in a way that attracts a mate to her and that fertile egg of hers.


This isn’t bunk — it attracts a lot of research. A recent NYT article actually highlighted research that married or committed men are turned off by women in the day-14 zone because they can threaten their stable relationships with the physiological and biological pull of hormones and peek attractiveness.

It makes sense. And there isn’t a month that goes by since I read that book (dare I date myself) 18 years ago that I don’t think about this. It helps me forgive myself and forgive my partner for not thinking of me as “hot” on day one as he does on day 14, because he won’t. He’ll love me, he’ll tell me I’m beautiful (as I run around with a clay, tomato mask on and eat more fruit salad and chocolate than usual), but he won’t be as eager to rock-and-roll. It’s just that simple. Phew, one less thing to take personally!

One of the morning shows, I remember, back in 2009 highlighted this — women on the pill may not have as much sex appeal. I was standing there eating my oatmeal and said out loud, “well, duuh.”

Sorry, to be so frank or offend anyone, but really it was no surprise and still isn’t. It’s true that the pill does change the mating game.

That information was a pretty good start, yet I finally reached a summit of sorts when I was taking an Ayurveda course last summer. I never expected to gain a bit of insight that would make being a lady so much more fun – that insight being that I have permission to be a lady! But first I had to give it to myself…

Find Part Two Here



About Emily Alp

Emily Alp spent the early part of her life sick and passionately searching for ways to improve her health. She is a certified health coach specializing in autoimmunity, and celiac and gluten intolerance. She recently co-authored a best-selling book entitled One Crazy Broccoli, as a guide to working through a range of health obstacles to reach a state of health and balance. She is a former martial artist and marathoner, and she has been practicing various forms of yoga for more than 15 years and is a 500+ RYT who is passionate about holding space for, sharing insights with, and learning from students. She spends time as often as she can with her yoga teacher to hone her asana and pranayama practices. Since the age of 15, Emily has also been studying astrology and has run and analyzed charts for friends, family, and clients with much success in assisting conscious breakthroughs and providing a sense of empowerment with this healing art form. She was born in the United States, and she has spent a quarter of her life as an expat and is now traveling the world, freelancing, coaching, teaching, loving, and going with the flow to find her next "nesting spot." To connect, visit her website.


12 Responses to “Ladies, It’s Time We Took a Holiday: Part One.”

  1. Maria says:

    Interesting srticle, thank you
    I take the pill, have no problem with taking it (it doesnt make me ill, I've had no weight gain), and I LOVE the fact that my period comes at the appointed time each month.
    It gives me a freedom I did not have before going on it., where my periods were irregular, painful, heavy and I had dreadful PMS or hormonal depression/anger whatever you want to call it for a good two weeks pre and post my period. Let me tell you that is not attractive or sexy for anyone! Some days I couldn't go to work because the cramps were so bad. I never want to experience that again.

    At the same time I have a real conflict about it – I practise yoga, pranayama, eat very carefully (vegetarian, and non-processed foods); and I am all about trying to treat as naturally as possible with drugs as a last resort. But, everytime I think about going off it, I think no way can I go back to how it used to be.

  2. Maria says:

    And I just saw this on NY times!

  3. Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Bob W. Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook

  4. […] Find Part One Here This piece is dedicated in part to Paul Dallaghan who, when he teaches pranayama tells students on their ladies’ holiday to avoid certain exercises, and to Jessica Blanchard, a brilliant Astanga practitioner who is also an Ayurvedic counselor and the woman who illuminated for me the practice I’m about to share. Photo: lululemon athletica […]

  5. Posted to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Also to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Bob W. Yoga Editor
    Follow on Twitter

  6. emilyalp says:

    Thank you so much, Bob!

  7. emilyalp says:


  8. emilyalp says:

    Thank you!!:)

  9. […] great deal of thought and reflection on my own relationship to libido and sexual desire, as well as the effects of the pill on these things. I have taken the space, lately, to be vigilant in attention and presence in my body. I’ve had […]

  10. wyatteula says:

    Learning about human pheromones may help you to better understand your behavior and how you influence the behavior of other people.

    Read more about pheromones here: