‘Therefore, I Bleed’: The Viral Yogi Tackling Period Shame One Asana At A Time

steph Gongara

Even without the Insta-vism (Instagram activism), Steph Gongora is one impressive yogi.

The athlete and influencer regularly posts videos of her flow routines in beautiful surroundings, which have become increasingly popular on social media.

But it is the captions that she writes alongside the posts that have garnered so much attention, particularly for her celebration of womanhood, women’s autonomy over their own bodies, and not being afraid to talk about what is natural and normal, despite the hundreds of years society has made us feel disgusted and ashamed by periods.

I am a woman, therefore, I bleed. . It’s messy, it’s painful, it’s terrible, & it’s beautiful. . And yet, you wouldn’t know. Because I hide it. . I bury things at the bottom of the trash. I breathe, ragged and awkward through the cramps, all the while holding onto this tight lipped, painted on smile. . Tampons? Shhh. We don’t say those words out loud. Hide them. In the back pocket of your purse, in the corner of the bathroom drawer, at the very bottom of your shopping cart (please let me get a female cashier). . Events or engagements get missed. I’ll tell myself it’s the PMS, sure, but it has more to with the risk of being “caught,” at what…I’m not quite sure. . And I’m lucky. . Over 100 million young women around the globe miss school or work for lack of adequate menstrual supplies, & fear of what might happen if the world witnesses A NATURAL BODILY FUNCTION. . WHY? . Because hundreds of years of culture have made us embarrassed to bleed. Have left us feeling dirty and ashamed. . STOP PRETENDING. Stop using silly pet names like Aunt Flo because you’re too afraid to say “I’m bleeding” or “vagina.” Stop wasting so much effort hiding the very thing that gives this species continuity. . START talking about it. Educate your daughters. Make them understand that it can be both an inconvenience and a gift, but NEVER something to be ashamed about. Educate your sons so they don’t recoil from the word tampon. So when a girl bleeds through her khaki shorts in third period (pun intended), they don’t perpetuate the cycle of shame and intolerance. . This #StartSomethingSunday , I want to highlight @corawomen . . Cora Women is a 100% Organic tampon company. . But that’s not all. They are also breaking barriers. Making it ok to talk about periods, even on social media. Providing personalized, delivered tampon/pad orders right to your door. AND for every box purchased, donating a box of sustainable pads to girls who can’t afford menstruation products. . Fuck yeah. That’s the kind of stuff I can galvanize behind, NO money OR product needed. Just a mission I support on a topic we should ALL be talking about. . THIS IS JUST A LEAK, NOT FREE BLEEDING ✌🏽

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“I am a woman, therefore, I bleed,” she captioned one particularly poignant post, in which she wore an all white yoga ensemble, visibly showing the blood that had soaked through her leggings.

“START talking about it. Educate your daughters. Make them understand that it can be both an inconvenience and a gift, but NEVER something to be ashamed about.

“Educate your sons so they don’t recoil from the word tampon. So … they don’t perpetuate the cycle of shame and intolerance.”

I had an ABORTION. . . That’s a fairly old truth about myself & my life decisions that I have to face each and every day. . . Let me be clear. . . Facing a truth is not always the same as regretting it. Not even remotely. It is also not the same thing as being ashamed of it. . . I do not regret it. I will not be ashamed of it. In MY mind, it was not & will never be a tragedy. . . We make a choice with the information we have, with the particular situation in front of us, with who we are as a person at a singular moment in time. . I won’t go into the details about my abortion NOW because they are fairly irrelevant to this specific post. . . But…I am not alone here. By the age of 45, one in three women will have had an abortion. . . Please Note: There is no right or wrong way to feel post procedure. . . Feeling shaken is valid. Feeling guilty is valid. Feeling FREE is just as valid. . . It’s personal, & while I doubt it is ever an easy decision for anyone (nor should it be), that doesn’t mean that all women regret it. . . So WHY can’t we TALK about our experiences, especially if they had a significant impact on us? . . Why do we have a hard time even admitting that we had one to some of our closest loved ones? . Many are afraid of being judged. Others are ashamed because amidst the complicated array of their emotions, perhaps there is a whisper (or scream) of Relief. . . What would happen if you went around saying you’re relieved to have had an abortion? Even the pro-choicers might turn away and flinch, despite “RELIEF” being the most commonly recorded response post procedure. . . . Who are we really lying to & why? . I HAD AN ABORTION. I do not regret it. . . But that’s just my truth. What about YOURS? . This #StartSomethingSunday, I want to talk about ABORTION. . . We should have the opportunity & “safe space” to speak about our experience IF that is something we want/need. . . This post is mainly aimed toward getting a conversation started, but if if you know of any forums, pre/post procedure support networks, please feel free to put them below. . . Discussion welcome. Hate speech/profanity will be deleted. #ProVoice #MyBodyMyChoice

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This week, she tackled the issue of social shaming that surrounds abortion with a revelation of her own.

“I had an ABORTION,” she wrote alongside the flow video. “I do not regret it. I will not be ashamed of it. In MY mind, it was not & will never be a tragedy.”

Namaste, Trump administration.

See more of Steph’s incredible work here.

READ MORE: Meghan Markle’s Powerful Letter About Period Shame Goes Viral