Editor's Note: We at POPSUGAR recognize that people of many genders and identities menstruate, not just those who are women. For this particular story, we interviewed experts who generally referred to people with menstrual cycles and those who menstruate as women.
The Class, a mat-based fitness method that uses music and movement together to strengthen the body and provide a soothing emotional release, is the latest fitness company to create a program inspired by the menstrual cycle.
The Menstrual Series at The Class consists of four online classes, each named after one of the four different phase of the menstrual cycle. Each class is curated based on what the body is experiencing and may need during that time.
"The method at The Class works on several levels in the body — the physical, emotional and energetic — and so I was literally practicing my own healing journey while teaching," Spowart explained.
At the very same time, Spowart said she began studying the menstrual cycle, exploring how to create her own cycle with the lunar moon phases and learning how to align the menstrual cycle with life by working with a cycle awareness coach and her naturopath.
"While doing so, I would modify certain classes so as to stay attuned to the rhythm I was trying to create for my body. I found the experience to be deeply cathartic and healing, just how The Class is intended to be, and wanted to offer this series to other women in the hopes of bringing the same comfort, compassion, and strength into their own journey and cycle," Spowart said.
After learning about the series, I decided to road-test the Luteal Phase class, or Pre-Menstruation Class. This particular class is designed to help release the frustrated energy that Spowart said is frequently synonymous with this phase, but also allows for periods of rest and compassionate reflection.
I was expecting my period in about five days, and I was just starting to experience some general crankiness and fatigue — two PMS symptoms that hit me hard every month.
As the class opened on my computer screen, Spowart spoke about how each phase of the cycle is totally unique and different. "Each one has gifts," she said. "And we get to learn how to use those gifts. We get to be dynamic instead of stagnant."
Her words were so moving and made me want to start thinking more positively about my own menstrual cycle and its power.
The hour-long class cycled between higher-impact moves, like jumps, and periods of time where we were able to recollect, breathe, and slow down our movements. I didn't feel physically exhausted, but I also knew I wasn't at my peak performance level, so this was the perfect combo.
Each movement was repeated for a long period of time. According to the company, this is to "create sensation in the body and observe our thoughts." In my opinion, this repetition is what really made the class particularly challenging, as I really started to feel my muscles fatiguing. It was in these moments that I really felt that negative, frustrated energy kind of draining out of my body.
My favorite part overall was definitely the extended period of stretching and relaxing at the end of class. I don't always give myself the time to unwind after working out, so this almost functioned as a little meditation session before I went about my day.
Frankly, I'm tired of pushing myself through HIIT classes and five-mile runs when my body is asking for something else completely. So, as soon as my period presents itself, you can bet I will be pressing play on The Class's Menstruation Phase Class — one that's inspired by physical and mental relaxation.
The Menstrual Series is available now online as a part of The Class's Digital Studio membership. The membership can be purchased for $40 per month or $400 per year.