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Do We Do the Diva Cup?!?

Do We Do the Diva Cup?!?

The famed Diva Cup is the best known in a variety of menstrual cups on the market designed and marketed as a financially and environmentally friendly alternative to disposable feminine hygiene products.  It touts an impressive 4.5 stars as reviewed on Amazon–averaging the opinion of over 2000 users; and the math has come in very clearly and repeatably that even at it’s $40 price tag it beats tampons and pads in our check books every time.

However, CUC, one of the almost 100 negative reviewers on Amazon warns, “doesn’t work for everyone, apparently,” and Alex Logan wrote an entertaining and informative piece called, “An Ode Of Hatred To My Diva Cup,” where she describes in graphic and animated detail her every qualm with the product, which involves seven points from the high price tag, to the gory consequences of dropping the menstrual product on the floor, to finally the cup being lost to the auto-flush gods of public bathrooms.

These unfortunate women have a point–don’t we as consumers deserve to be educated on all of our options before committing to one because it’s most accessible?  That is really the only asset the Diva Cup has over it’s competition.  It’s sold in health food stores, it’s just as easy to buy on an impulse as a chocolate bar or magazine on our monthly or weekly trip to Whole-foods.  A quick search on Amazon or Google of the term, “menstrual cup” will show the variety of other options, all touting an impressive user rating–even our normal everyday tampons rock 4+ starts!

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Some points to consider as you evaluate your options:

1. Are you ready for a thorough knowledge of your lady flower?

Getting intimate with one’s body isn’t for everyone.  Some people are really comfortable with tampons because they come with applicators and then offer a dangly string for extraction.  No such luck with the Diva Cup.  Part of the instructions involve holding the cup that is inside of you with your fingers and rotating it to ensure proper placement.  For those of us who aren’t comfortable with digging around our lady parts but are still committed to the environment, there are also reusable sanitary pads on the market, such as GladRags or New Moon Pads (there are way more than that, these were just a few of the first that popped up upon searching).

2. Location, location, location.

Cleaning a reusable device designed to collect blood can be a scary scene, literally.  Since switching to menstrual cups, I am constantly surprised at the view in the toilet bowl as I dump my monthly’s contents for cleaning.  Another legitimate concern is the use of public bathrooms, if the instructions say to rinse the cup every time you take it out, how comfortable will you be taking it to that public sink at work?

3. What happens beyond the bathroom?

With the adventurous new trend of spending our days off and away from the convenience of flushing toilets and sinks, for example, going camping or for the extremely extreme, backpacking.  The Diva Cup seems unable to stand the test of the our outdoorsy women who do not have access to more than a bottle of hand sanitizer and a facial tissue.

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4. User friendliness.

Ease of use is the concern that comes up most often while doing research.  To insert a menstrual cup, you have to fold it into a little origami pellet and let it open inside the vaginal canal where it can sit under the cervix.  Depending on your anatomy, some cups may be easier to use than others.  The Diva Cup has complicated instructions (as noted above, a woman would be expected to fold it up, place it, then go in and rotate it for proper placement, every time).

5. What is our period protection made of?

One of the concerns women have with tampons is the drying effect, and this is the reason they switch to a cup.  However, flexibility of the silicone used to make the alternative plays a big role in how easy that product will be to use.  The Diva Cup is notoriously pretty firm and inflexible, other products on the market such as the Lunette are said to be much more flexible which eases insertion and tends to be more comfortable.

6. What about when the cup is full?

Then there is the ease of taking the cup out.  The Diva Cup has a tiny hollow stem to assist with pulling it out of the vagina–again, a very intimate process, it may be easier to bear down and engage my abdominal muscles and then grab the cup itself instead of pulling by the stem.  Most, if not all of the other cup products on the market have a longer and differently designed stem to assist with taking them out.

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7. Did they say 12 hours between empties?

A majority of menstrual cups, including the Diva Cup, state that they can be left in place for up to 12 hours without changing, this is because they hold up to or around 30 ml or an oz of fluid where tampons, depending on the size, even Supers can only handle up to about half of that!  So if you tend to have pretty heavy periods and are changing your tampons every 2-3 hrs, you can expect that you’ll need to clean out the cup every 4 to 6 on those heavy days.  That’s right, that 12 hour promise is pretty well known to be inaccurate for many users, anyone who is new to the Diva Cup will want to empty it more frequently on their heavy days (especially at special occasions)!

8. How discreet can a menstrual cup be?

The Diva Cup comes with a purple Diva pouch to carry it around in when you are expecting to start your flow.  That’s right, a bright purple pouch which has the words Diva Cup all over it, imagine taking that out of your purse at the gym, or the bar, or the dinner date when that monthly visitor comes a’knockin’.  Quick mention of the genius design of the Lily cup compact, which collapses into a small disc and comes with a carrying case but still offers the environmental and financial benefits of using a menstrual cup!

9. Comfort.

Despite the company’s claim that the silicone softens in the warmth of the female body, it has been found that due to its inelastic nature, the Diva Cup has inspired more than a few complaints about feeling it on the inside or like something is not in place, or irritation from the stem, the list goes on.  Women all have their individual anatomy and each vagina may prefer a softer material or a larger or smaller diameter of cup.

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All of that said, the Diva Cup does work well for a lot of women.  The take away point being that just because it is the only alternative to disposable products that we have heard of, and the most popular, does not make it the best of these products.  If you are in the market for a replacement to those pesky pads or tampons, do some research and find a product that will work for you and your lovely lady flower!

Featured photo credit: Menstruationstasse (DivaCup) mit Stoffbeutel via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 13, 2020

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

2. What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

Less Physical, More Psychological

Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

The First Benefit of Meditation

The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
  2. Relaxation of the body

Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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This benefit takes you to the second one.

The Second Benefit of Meditation

While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
  2. Observance
  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
  4. Patience

Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

1. Energy

Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

2. Observance

The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

3. Peacefulness

Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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4. Patience

The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

Final Thoughts

Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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