We all have varying memories of sex-ed classes. Perhaps you had the infamous condom-banana
lesson, or you might remember male teachers painfully explaining how tampons work. Our educators
would tiptoe around subjects like masturbation and periods, but they were loud and clear when it
came to avoiding pregnancy. Beautystack’s very own womb-guru, Sinnead Ali being
taught to fear pregnancy during her time at school, ‘in sex-ed we were told “DO NOT get pregnant!”,
and so it’s programmed into our psyche that childbirth is this taboo topic’, she told me.
Sinnead has spent years undoing the effects of her education and working towards breaking down the
taboos of sexual wellness and childbirth. Originally from Cardiff, Sinnead grew up in her mum’s hair
salons and going to after-school dance practices every night of the week. ‘I’ve always been dancing’
she says, ‘it’s what I studied, and my mum had hair salons so I was constantly around women’. On
top of this, Sinnead is the eldest of five sisters, the youngest being just three-years-old.
The mental, physical, sexual and spiritual wellbeing of womxn has always been Sinnead’s number one priority. Since a very young age she has had a keen interest in human rights, but growing up around so many womxn meant that Sinnead, first and foremost, wanted to help those closest to her, in whatever capacity she could. Since 2014, she has taught female-focussed yoga classes, hosted sexual wellness festivals around the world, and most recently, trained as a doula.
For those of you who may not be acquainted with the term, a ‘doula’ is someone who you can trust to support you throughout your pregnancy, prenatal and postpartum care. ‘The definition of a doula changes for me personally all the time as I learn more. It’s about having a coach before and after birth. You are a supportive member of their team, you have to be good at listening and at emotional support, spiritual and physical support too’, Sinnead explained.
Sinnead has dedicated her career to restoring the relationship between womxn and their bodies—a relationship that has often been neglected due to centuries of patriarchy. It was only 40 years ago, in 1980, when ‘Hysteria’ was at last removed from medical texts. During the 19th century Hysteria was a diagnosable, physical illness that only affected womxn, relating to emotionally charged behaviour. It was a way for men to control womxn and deem them to be ill when expressing themselves. There were many ‘symptoms’ of Hysteria: from period pain, to elation or depression, being aroused, or simply having an opinion; once diagnosed with Hysteria you were considered mad and an outcast from society.
Thankfully, in 2020 we have experts like Sinnead Ali to teach us how to listen to our bodies, and most importantly, to our wombs. With every new day brings another turn of our body’s cycle, so why then do we do we not change our daily habits to sync with what our body needs on those specific days? Sinnead has studied her own internal clock for years and has learnt several tips and tricks that help to support her hormones. Seed Cycling for instance, is a huge part of her daily life: ‘you eat different types of seeds at different stages of your menstrual cycle to support your hormones—like pumpkin and flax seed during your period’, she explains.
Sinnead’s most recent plan of action, in partnership with Beautystack, is to teach ‘womb healing classes’ in the form of yoga, every Thursday morning at 8am. Intended for womxn who are on their periods, or who would like to learn movements and breathing techniques for when they are, Sinnead’s womb healing yoga will teach you how to connect with your womb and move in a way that will soothe and relax your body, during a time when it is particularly sensitive.
Many of us have turned to yoga to get us through this turbulent year, but what you may not have considered is the masculinity, or femininity of certain sequences. We all love a good Sun Salutation, but as a sequence it is incredibly rigid and masculine—no one wants to be planking at 7am when they’re on their period. Instead, Sinnead Ali’s classes will teach you movements such as the Moon Salutation, a far more feminine sequence that will leave you feeling connected and at one with your body.
It’s high time that womxn stop feeling shy about their sexual wellbeing. With her series of weekly events here at Beautystack, Sinnead Ali will teach you what’s best for your body, no matter what time of the month it is. Trust in Sinnead and your body will trust in you.
Written by Isobel Van Dyke