We all know that yoga is good for our mind and our muscles, but did you know that it can also improve your hormone health?
When you think about balancing your hormones, you might instantly think of medications, herbal supplements, and other medical treatments. But did you know that moving your body can actually have a positive impact on your hormone levels and bring them naturally back into harmony?
While all forms of exercise are good for hormonal health, a regular yoga practice is particularly suited to support your endocrine system.
How do you know when your hormones are imbalanced?
There are plenty of different illnesses and ailments that can cause your hormones to get out of whack, including diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and issues with your pituitary gland. Environmental and lifestyle factors can also negatively impact your endocrine system, including medication, alcohol and drug use, diet and nutrition, household cleaning products, and pollution.
Some of the symptoms of hormone imbalance include:
- Low libido
- Mood swings
- Hot flushes
- Weight loss or gain
- Lower backaches
- Fertility problems
- Facial hair growth
- Thinning hair
- A buffalo hump (a deposit of fat between your shoulders)
Does yoga benefit the hormonal system?
Simply put, a regular yoga practice can improve the function of your hormonal (endocrine) system and help you get back into balance. Yoga has been shown to support fertility, decrease mood swings, and assist the thyroid.
Yoga is known for its well-documented ability to reduce stress. By lowering your stress levels, you can improve your adrenal glands’ function and work towards hormonal balance. A calming daily yoga routine is a good idea for anyone, especially those worried about their hormonal health. That said, it’s important to keep things nice and easy. If you work up too much of a sweat and engage in vigorous ‘power yoga’ you could end up releasing loads of endorphins. Even though endorphins are the so-called ‘feel-good’ hormones, they stress your body and release cortisol (the stress hormone) into your bloodstream.
Yoga poses that can help balance your hormones
To gain the biggest benefits from yoga, you need to learn how different poses can target and benefit specific glands in your body. Your yoga practice should include poses that target and calm each of the body’s main endocrine centres.
- Fish Pose (Matsyasana) – To benefit your thyroid function, focus on poses that compress and then open the throat. Try fish pose, in which you lay your legs flat, lift your upper body with your elbows, and tilt your head backwards for a full throat stretch.
- Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana) – Rabbit pose can help combat depression and stimulate your thyroid and parathyroid glands. Start by sitting on your heels, and then extend your arms back to grab the soles of your feet. You then tuck your chin tightly to your chest and round forward, touching your forehead to your knees.
- Ujjayi Breathing – Ujjayi breathing constricts and compresses your throat, relaxing your autonomous nervous system.
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) – Cobra pose massages your internal organs and adrenal gland, allowing you to release tension and enter a deep state of relaxation. Start by lying on your stomach with your legs tightly together into a ‘cobra tail.’ Place your palms on the floor beside your shoulders and lift your head and chest to look up at the sky.
Many womxn have success with a style of yoga called Raja Yoga, also known as Ashtanga Yoga. Through a strict set of eight practices, including physical asanas, meditation, and breathing, practitioners improve their overall health and mental wellbeing.
With a regular yoga practice, you can take control of your hormonal health and improve your stress levels, reduce anxiety, and promote a greater sense of peace.