When Penny was fourteen, she vividly remembers standing in her kitchen looking in desperation for a therapist because she knew her menstrual cycle was making her depressed. No one would listen and no one would help.
She experienced decades of endometriosis before discovering Red School in 2010 and embarking on an extraordinary journey of healing, self discovery and transformation.
Now, although her physical symptoms have shifted and she has understood how much of her pain came from denying her true nature and overriding her body’s needs, she still doesn’t have a ‘perfect cycle’, but this helps her to hold a grounded place of acceptance and permission for others who haven’t been able to fully resolve their menstrual pain or complexities.
A born introvert, Penny’s inner summer is understated, but her autumn and winter are where she thrives. The second half of her cycle feels like home, the place where magic and creativity flow. In a world that doesn’t honour the potent nuanced qualities of the via negativa, she especially enjoys guiding women with more liminal gifts, those who seemingly live their cycles ‘back to front’ or ‘upside down’.
As a highly sensitive empath, she strongly appreciates the importance of safety, and models herself on facilitators she feels safe with. Her personal experience of depression, alongside years of spiritual practice and sacred space holding for individuals, groups and women in circle helps her meet emotionally difficult experiences in others with sensitivity and care. Her capacity to leave preconceptions at the door and welcome people exactly as they are allows her to support those living with trauma, pain and other complex challenges.
As a Yoga Instructor and Somatic Movement Therapist, her teaching has been deeply informed by the cycle. As intimacy with her cycle grew, she began to slow her own practice down, and teach from where her cyclical body was at on any given day. The popularity of her classes grew and she is now developing her passion for softer forms of movement practice that follow the inner prompts of the body - the perfect companion for menstrual cycle awareness.
As a child, Penny loved the idea of magic and was always out in nature in pursuit of mystery and awe. Now, as an adult she lives embedded in nature’s rhythms and enjoys conjuring up gentle natural magic of her own through ritual and setting up altars. As she begins to court menopause, she uses the sanctuary of ancient sacred sites to make peace with her younger self and relies on earth wisdom and the natural world to guide her through the difficulties.
After a life-changing menstrual epiphany half-way up a ladder inspecting an old railway bridge (a long story), Jane decided to follow her heart and womb into the world of menstruality.
Since then she has started a Red Tent in North Wales, become an Eco-Femme ambassador promoting feminine eco-products, taken a ‘Magical Menstrual Tour’ around the USA, guiding people to understand their natural cycles and the rhythms of life, and teaching teenage girls about Menstrual Cycle Awareness.
When she gratefully stumbled across Red School a decade ago, she began a profound four-year transformation, healing crippling menstrual pain and devastating PMT to become a menstrual pilgrim, speaking about menstrual awareness and period-eco-activism whatever the cycle season she finds herself in.
Jane manages her cycle around her job as an engineer in a male-dominated, linear and unforgiving environment (in an industry where only 12% of the workforce is female). Regularly working physically demanding night shifts in confined spaces on railway bridges, she has learned how to harvest the mother hug of menstruation, and combine mindfulness and menstrual cycle awareness to receive revelations from her own body.
As an ambassador for Eco-Femme, Jane has studied the environmental impact of our periods (pads can take 500 years to decompose!) and is a passionate advocate for reusable menstrual products. She loves everything about reusable pads, cups and pants; from the financial savings, to the sisterhood connection, to using her blood to water her plants.
Jane dreamed up her ‘Magical Menstrual Tour’ when she was sunbathing during her bleed lying on the grass outside her cottage in Wales. She felt utter love for menstrual cycle work and decided to take a three-month road trip around the USA visiting some of the world’s leading menstrual authors and activists, teaching about menstrual cycle awareness, working with couples, and holding informal talks for groups of all genders.
Jane has been learning how to cope with loss in the wake of two miscarriages. She is currently at a fork in the road of her life, unsure whether she will be a mother to a living baby.
Jane is most at home in inner spring and loves supporting women to experience the precious, tender, beautiful transition from inner winter, harnessing its capacity to connect us back to our essence.
For Jady, cycle awareness is a profoundly insightful, dignifying and anchoring practice. It has brought her into a deeper intimacy with and respect for her own nature and innate value and challenges her to claim and embody her own Power.
Growing up by the sea and in love with the natural world she has always trusted and been guided by cycles. Sensing the interconnection and interdependence of all things and leaning into a wider holding and context has defined how she lives her life.
Following a diagnosis of early menopause in her 30s, she was amazed to find herself pregnant with her son. The initiation into motherhood that ensued utterly undid her whilst also shaping and delivering her into a significant layer of her life's work.
She trained as a birth doula. Fourteen years, and many births and early parenthood support journeys later she now trains birth workers in the menstruality teachings and weaves an understanding of cycle awareness, initiation and rites of passage into her support of families.
Jady is also a bodyworker and rebirth practitioner. In all her work she responds to the individual's unique journey, respecting that everyone is challenged, gifted and shaped by life in different ways. She has also begun midwiving people through their final life transition and is currently training as a death doula.
Jady is now entering the liminal space of menopause, whilst mothering a teenage son and five year old daughter. It's edgy, untidy and challenging, yet her life and these teachings have prepared the ground and she is finding herself practising - again - trusting something that’s not yet really clear.
Abi Denyer-Bewick is a sea creature. She starts each day at sunrise with with a swim in the wild ocean, before starting work on her laptop from her office-van, watching the waves through the open door. She is a passionate advocate for cyclical living, and a lover of the seasonal changes in nature and in ourselves.
Abi loves inspiring people who menstruate to reclaim their power around their own health and the choices. She holds a kind, welcoming space for people to experience a deep, nourishing intimacy with themselves through their cycle. In her desire to make this work available to all people who menstruate her work is gender diverse, including the LGBTQ+ community and men.
After qualifying with a degree in Psychology and Counselling, she worked as a behavioural therapist, which sparked a passion for the connection between diet and mental health. For a decade she has been running a successful nutritional therapy - and more recently a functional medicine - practice to support holistic health and wellbeing.
After trying to conveive for many years, Abi experienced miscarriage, and has since had a special interest in working with people with fertility challenges. Her experiences of longing for a family have informed the community grief rituals she holds in her yurt in the Sussex countryside, as well as cultivating a sensitivity and appreciation for those who are childless, whether this is by choice or not.
Knowing that "it takes a village” to pretty much do anything important in life, she facilitates circles and community ceremonies to inspire people to connect with themselves, with each other and with nature, as a way to manifest health within their greater community.
Abi’s work is rich and delicious, exploring all facets of what it means to be relational humans. As a Yoga teacher and Body Poet she is passionate about body autonomy, consent and pleasure – which she fondly calls Vitamin P. She has developed her own original series of intimacy practices called Sensual Kink. Abi remains convinced that everything we do in life can be improved by slowing down, breathing and listening to the wisdom held in the body.