How To Make Estrogen Your Ally

Do you remember that tampon commercial where a girl (apparently) inserts tampon, puts on her white bathing suit, and runs out to play a vigorous game of volleyball? Two words: false advertising.

Recent scientific research in the field of Ayurveda clearly reveals that how a woman works, relates, loves, shops, plans, eats, and exercises is dramatically impacted by three hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Ayurveda is translated from Sanskrit as “the science of life,” and is the lifestyle of wellness that surrounds yoga.

During the first week of our menstrual cycle, starting the first day of our period, estrogen begins to build. During this time, particularly after the first two days of our period, a sense of confidence and mental clarity grows. This is the best time in a woman’s cycle to make balanced financial decisions, go shopping, start a new work project or implement needed changes to an existing one, cook, eat iron rich foods including bone broth soups along with leafy greens, and begin exercising.


The style of yoga (or any other form of exercise) we need depends on where we are in our cycle. Sometimes we need Hot Power Flow Yoga…


The second week in a woman’s cycle builds towards ovulation, when estrogen levels peak and there is a short spike in testosterone. During this time it is our impulse to socialize, put more into dressing for looks than for comfort. This is the week women relate best to men. Our libido heightens. It’s a fantastic time to go on a honeymoon or a romantic vacation. We read people well during this time, so it would be a great time to conduct an interview and make a hire. It’s also an optimal time to make a speech or give a presentation, but not to plan a speech or presentation; hold a party, but not plan a party. Energy is best spent connecting to others and being active. Take a spin class. Run a marathon. During ovulation we may also feel more inclined to take risks and feel the impulse to spend money, not on what we need, but for immediate gratification.

In the third week of a woman’s cycle progesterone kicks in and calms us down, but also makes us more tired and prone to food cravings and water retention. Our libido drops and we want affection in the form of massage or cuddling. We may not want to move around from social event to social event, but would be more suited to work from home on event planning, budget assessment, organizing a future vacation, and curling up in the evening to watch a favorite series. We may feel introverted during this time and tend to prefer working solo. This is the time to nest and get details in order.


…sometimes we need a gentler practice like Yin Yoga.


During the fourth week, which lasts until a woman’s period starts, all three hormones, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, plummet. Our tank is empty. Our capacity for mental clarity and communication reduces, but our intuition about what we need increases. If you find yourself feeling irritated about not getting what you need during this time, you are right on! This is a time to say what you need and set boundaries with other people. It’s a time for complete self-care. If we run a marathon, teach a hardcore fitness class, spend a day at a convention, give a presentation, or go on a vacation during this time, we overstimulate our system and go into energy deficit. This is a time for resting, particularly into the first two days of our period. We lose iron and need to rest to restore our reserves by eating iron rich foods. Even the most ancient texts of Ayurveda say this!

Befriending our hormones and knowing them well is key for women to understand ourselves. Who else could benefit from this information? Anyone partnered with women in any capacity, including boyfriends, husbands, fathers, young women (particularly athletes who may be pushing themselves all month long), mothers of young women, junior high and high school teachers, sports coaches, and employers.

If there are any underlying health imbalances these monthly hormone fluctuations can trigger fatigue, anxiety, depression, muscular pain, skin outbreaks, as well as other symptoms. Bringing your body back into balance so you can more easily ride the waves of fluctuating hormones, requires excellent sleep habits, good nutrition, as well as exercise and mindfulness. We have in-depth specialty workshops for that!



Sample schedule for a balanced month


First Week:

  • • Run a meeting at work
  • • Start a new project with your work team
  • • Shop for staples for your pantry
  • • Shop for basics for your wardrobe
  • • Cook healthy food
  • • Go to Slow Flow Yoga or Flow & Stretch


Second Week:

  • • Dress to look good
  • • Give a presentation at work
  • • Go out for dinner and wine with a friend
  • • Get a babysitter and spend a night alone in a hotel with your partner
  • • Dance at a weekend party
  • • Take Pilates Boot Camp, Hawt Pilates or Hot Power Flow Yoga


Third Week:

  • • Dress for comfort
  • • Research your next vacation
  • • Make a budget plan
  • • Organize an upcoming work event
  • • Take a nap
  • • Take Flow Yoga, or Pilates Mat


Fourth Week:

  • • Sleep in
  • • Come home early from work
  • • Get a massage
  • • Eat iron rich foods like leafy greens and bone broth soups
  • • Tell your kids and partner that you are low energy and need space
  • • Go to Restorative Yoga, Gentle Yoga, or Hot Deep Stretch



Upcoming Workshops


Leading up to Thanksgiving Day:

Candlelight Yin  on Sunday, 11/24, 4:00 – 5:30pm, with Maria Miglioretti (in Del Ray)


On Thanksgiving Day 11/28:

The Amplitude of Your Thanks: Hot Power Flow Yoga 7:00 – 8:30am, with Julie Wieland (in Del Ray)

Take A Deep Breath: Thanksgiving Power Vinyasa Flow 9:00 – 10:30am, with David Nguyen (in Clarendon)

Gratitude Flow & Restore 9:30 – 11:00am, with Allie Menchel (in Del Ray)


Day after Thanksgiving:

Butts & Guts on Friday, 11/29, 4 – 5:15pm, with Megan Brown, PT, DPT (in Del Ray)


For Stylebook readers: receive 15 percent off all workshops above by using the code THANKS when you enroll online at

Stay tuned for Mind the Mat’s Member Appreciation Month that starts on Black Friday! Open house, giveaways, surprises and more to come!

We are grateful for you!


  • The latest from Sara
co-owner, CMT, e-RYT 200, RYT 500 | Mind the Mat
Sara VanderGoot, CMT, e-RYT 200, RYT 500, is Co-founder of Mind the Mat Pilates and Yoga and Director of Mind the Mat Yoga Alliance certified teacher training program. Sara is an experienced Registered Yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance. She studied Interdisciplinary Yoga with Don and Amba Stapleton in Nosara, Costa Rica and at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Sara is Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, licensed by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Sara has been practicing massage therapy, including specialties Prenatal Massage, Postpartum Massage, Deep Tissue Massage and Thai Yoga Massage, in Del Ray, Alexandria for over 15 years and a yoga instructor for 7 years. At Mind the Mat she specializes in Prenatal Yoga, Postpartum Core Yoga, Mommy and Me Core Yoga, Partners Yoga, and Hot Flow Yoga. Sara frequently acts as a birth companion for many of her clients, doing massage and yoga during labor and delivery to facilitate comfort during both medicated and unmedicated births. Before becoming a massage therapist and yoga instructor, she was a lawyer in the Washington D.C. area and found that the healing practices of massage and yoga brought a balance to her life that she had been searching for.

Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.

Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.     

3300 Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22201


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