Yoga has many benefits. Most people know the wealth of physical benefits- improves flexibility, improves strength and stamina – but what about what it does to your insides?
There’s a whole new area to explore when looking at the effect of yoga on your hormones.
Each of the glands in the endocrine system has specific functions, and can cause specific symptoms if out of balance. As it’s a system, if one gland is out of balance, then it is likely to affect other glands in the system so it’s important to do a yoga practice that helps to keep the entire system balanced.
For those who believe in the energy of the chakras, the endocrine system is also very closely aligned with the chakra system with the positioning of each chakra containing one or two glands.
A regular practice has been shown to decrease cortisol and adrenaline hormone levels- the hormones that rise during periods of stress and can possibly cause tumours if the levels remain high for a long period of time. While they’re our in-built fight or flight mechanism, they’re also the hormones that can make you cranky and generally not happy.
For women during their menstruation or menopause, hormones can wreck havoc on happiness and outlook on life. Yoga can contribute a balancing effect.
Yoga can also help you sleep more soundly and peacefully as certain positions can raise levels of melatonin.
Yoga can also increase thyroid hormone which increases your metabolism rate and helps you lose weight and feel more alive.
While it’s not an exact science, many studies state that it takes around 3 to 6 months of regular practice for yoga to have these effects on your hormones.
I’ve been doing yoga one and off for a few years now and I personally have definitely noticed its effect on my mood during the periods when I’ve committed to regular practice.
Here are some good yoga poses to try to stimulate certain glands:
Pireal gland– halasana, matsyasana
Thyroid– halasana, viparita karani
Pancreas– any twisted pose like parvitta trikonasana or pincha mayurasana
Adrenal – any backbends such as chakrasana, ustrasana
Reproductive glands – sirsasana
Here are some power poses when it comes to stimulating the glands:
This pose stimulates the thyroid and the parathyroid glands. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and secretes hormones that regulate growth and metabolic function. The parathyroid glands are also found in the neck and control how much calcium is released into the body.
Cobra Pose massages the adrenal gland which allows your body to better combat stress and release tension.
This pose stimulates your internal organs, especially in the neck region where the thyroid and parathyroid glands are located.