Leilani Wong Navar
Leilani (she / her / hers) has been using Fertility Awareness for more than 10 years, through many reproductive phases: as a single woman, in a committed partnership, while breastfeeding, and as the married mother of young children. She’s certified as a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner by Justisse Healthworks for Women. She’s been teaching the Justisse Method of Fertility Awareness and counseling women on its use since 2006. Leilani is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist with a Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine. When she educates women on optimizing their reproductive health, she incorporates Chinese Medicine knowledge as well as other traditions of dietary and herbal therapies.
What was your intro into the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)?
A naturopath taught me Fertility Awareness for birth control when I was 18. I had asked several doctors and holistic medicine practitioners about natural birth control and had heard only, “abstinence,” “condoms,” and “the pill’s not that bad,” so when I learned about Fertility Awareness I was surprised, and thrilled! I knew right away I wanted to teach it one day.
What program did you train with to become a Fertility Awareness Educator (FAE)? What were three highlights of that experience?
The Justisse College. Three highlights were:
- Learning about holistic reproductive health approaches and how they connect to all other aspects of health.
- Learning about the history and current social context of birth control (fascinating!).
- Practicing the Justisse Method approach to see clients through their whole learning process.
What is one feature of the female body that amazes you, and why?
The connection between the Heart and the Uterus; so many of us have felt the intimate connection between our hormonal cycles, our menstrual periods, our fertility, pregnancy, and childbirth — and our minds, emotions, and interpersonal connections.
In Chinese Medicine, there’s a direct “Heart-Uterus” connection that I think can shed some light on this. We treat menstrual cycle issues by addressing the “channels” through which Qi and Blood flow. Any of the channels can be involved in a menstrual cycle issue, but often it has to do with a channel that directly connects the Uterus and the Heart.
In Chinese Medicine, the Heart not only pumps the Blood, but also houses the Shen (spirit or consciousness), and is associated with Joy / Overexcitement / Anxiety / Lack of Joy, and is also related to Connection with others.
At its best, the Heart is free of excessive distractions and desires so that it can hear the “music of the Heavens” and drum out the beat for the whole body to follow.
All of this is important for female reproductive health — have you felt it?
What do you wish all females knew before their menarche?
Your cycle is terrific! And so are you. Getting to know yourself and what happens throughout your cycle can help you be happier and healthier.
What is your favorite health-related book/podcast/resource and why?
I truly cannot pick just one. In the realm of female sexuality, I just read and loved, Come as You Are, by Emily Nagoski. If I had to sum it up for you, I’d say:
“There’s nothing wrong with you. Everything about your magnificent sexuality is normal, and a lot of it is pretty well-understood. You can indeed love, heal, and explore your own sexuality as it is, and have really satisfying sex.”
But it’s an easy book to find, and it’s worth reading the whole thing. Emily Nagoski is a fun writer to read, and her insights are golden.
Do you have a focus in your practice?
Using the Justisse Method for natural birth control.
This interview is part of a FAE spotlight series. Stay tuned for the next one next month!