Yoga for… Hormonal Balance
#LiftTheSpirits…. Lockdown Campaign, Week 6
Hormones play an important role in your growth, metabolism, mood, immune system, reproductive health, sleep, among other things. When you are struggling with a hormonal imbalance, you could suffer from a wide variety of symptoms- including headaches, skin problems, insomnia, fatigue, weight gain and mood problems.
What are Hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers that help the body’s cells and organs communicate with each other. The endocrine system, which is made up of a collection of hormone-producing glands, is essential to practically every function in the body.
Different glands around the body have the job of maintaining the body in a state of homeostasis through the use of hormones which the glands secrete in response to changes in the environment or within the body. There are seven major endocrine glands in the body, working together to maintain this state of balance: pineal, pituitary, thyroid and parathyroid (separate but located together), thymus, pancreas, adrenals and sexual organs. Each of these glands produce particular hormones, which affect the body differently. The pituitary gland is the master of all the glands, it releases hormones that regulate and influence all their functions.
The yogis did not have the knowledge that we have today about the location of the glands but there is a theory that they align with the seven main energy centres, more widely known as the chakras. “Studies have shown that they correspond to areas where there is a high concentration of nerve endings and they are also aligned to our organs and different systems in the body.”
The chakras and endocrine glands are suggested to align as follows:
• Sahasrara (crown) and pineal
• Ajna (third eye)and pituitary
• Vishuddha (throat) and thyroid
• Anahata (heart) and thymus
• Manipura (navel) and pancreas
• Swadisthana (pelvis)and reproductive glands
• Muladhara (base of the spine and legs)and adrenals
How can yoga help to balance the hormones?
Your adrenal glands are the primary gland responsible for secreting stress hormones, like cortisol, and impacting the part of your nervous system that handles your stress response. Chronic stress can cause an over active adrenal gland, too much cortisol and ultimately adversely affect your mental and physical health — insomnia, adrenal fatigue, heart problems, depression are just some of the ailments associated with chronic stress.
“Relaxation techniques like yoga reduce the secretion of certain stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and increase secretions of melatonin, a hormone synthesized by your pineal gland responsible for feelings of well-being.” In particular, restorative yoga postures using props help the body to relax more deeply, supporting positive bio feedback that triggers the parasympathetic, rest and digest function of the nervous system, thus calming the mind and supporting recovery from stress.
All bending poses work on the endocrine glands of the body. The bending constricts the flow of blood and bathes the endocrine glands with blood.
Yoga Sequence (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rBU_xEtFXw):
Childs Pose + Rabbit + Camel
Rabbit Pose and Child’s Pose are particularly good at stimulating the kidneys, pancreas, thyroid and parathyroid glands, and thymus.
Supported fish pose
Targets the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
Cobra Pose serves to massage the adrenal gland. When the adrenal gland is affected in this way it is better able to function, which can enable your body to better combat stress and release tension.
Compresses the abdominal organs, stimulating the pancreas and thymus. Caterpillar is also deeply restorative, enabling a relaxation response and healing from stress.
Legs up wall
This pose stimulates baroreceptors (blood pressure sensors) in the neck and upper chest, triggering reflexes that reduce nerve input into the adrenal glands, slow the heart rate, slow the brain waves, relax blood vessels, and reduce the amount of norepinephrine circulating in the bloodstream. Helps redirect blood flow to internal organs (especially the adrenal glands). Allows the body to fully relax
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