Through your yoga practice you can restore balance to your hormones by regulating different body systems such as the nervous system and the endocrine system. When your body systems are even just slightly out of balance your health can be greatly impacted. Yoga is a combination of Asana, pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, shatkarma, and meditation. With knowledge and awareness you can use specific poses to influence and curate healthy vital organs and glands, encouraging hormonal balance. Postures such as Matsyasana, Bhujangasana and Dhanurasana each have a profound benefit to these bodily systems. Ujjayi Pranayama is a breathing technique that can positively impact your nervous system.
Yoga is the science of right living and the process of implementing right living into your daily life. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj; which means to join. This is referencing the joining of individual consciousness with the universal consciousness. Yoga can also be considered as balancing the mind, body and emotions. Many people in the western world consider yoga to be a purely physical exercise, primarily focusing on obvious strengthening and stretching the physical body. However, even still just considering the physical level of yoga there are so many subtle effects created in the body through yoga.
I came to yoga about three years ago. Initially, I began with a beginner Hatha Yoga course with the desire to manage the daily anxiety I was experiencing in my life. I found that a 60 minute Asana practice ending in savasana helped tremendously to calm the chitta- my “monkey mind” and allowed me to relax. When I first began practicing yoga I was not aware of how the asana and pranayama practice was effecting my nervous system and endocrine system. Just here in this course I have begun to learn about how an asana creates pressure on specific interNal organs and glands, stimulating them and encouraging them to secrete the hormones unique to them. I have found this fascinating so I wanted to learn more. Your yoga practice can help you manage conditions such as diabetes, infertility, hyper/hypo thyroidism along with many other diseases that are caused by hormonal imbalances. Specific postures, when preformed intentionally and with correct alignment, will create pressure on specific nadis/glands/organs. This gentle massage and pressure can inspire these glands/organs to activate and release hormones into the body. Therefore having this knowledge and awareness can be life changing if you are suffering from unbalance in your body systems.
Matsyasana, or fish pose, is one asana that has a profound effect on your body. It benefits the digestive system and the respiratory system. It regulates the function of the thyroid glands and stimulates the thymus glad- boosting the immune system. To preform this pose, first you will sit in padmasana/lotus pose and relax your entire body. From here you slowly bend back towards your mat and take support with your arms and elbows. From here you slightly lift through your chest, bring your head back and place the crown of your head on the mat. Again, relax your entire body. Your head, legs and buttocks will support the weight of your body. You can close your eyes, breathing slow and deep. You may hold this pose between 1-5 minutes to gain its benefits. To come out of this pose you will return to padmasana by reversing the steps. Then repeat this asana with your legs crossed the opposite way. This pose stretches your abdomen, chest and neck. On a spiritual level this asana is working your manipura or anahata chakra. You should not preform this pose if you are pregnant, have heart disease, peptic ulcers, hernia, back conditions or any serious illness. This asana is beneficial to all abdominal ailments as it stretches the abdominal organs and intestines. It regulates the function of the thyroid gland with the pressure from the stretch of the neck. It also stimulates the thymus gland which boosts the immune system.
Bhujangasana or cobra pose is a second pose which has a profound effect on the systems of the body and production of hormones. To begin this pose you will lie flat on your stomach with straight legs, feet together and soles of the feet facing upward. Place your palms slightly out from your shoulders, fingers pointing forward. Your elbows will point back towards your feet and tuck them tight into the side of your ribs. Rest your forehead on the floor and relax your entire body. On an inhale slowly lift your head and gently tilt it back, bringing your chin parallel to the ground. Raise your neck and shoulders up and back, opening your chest. Your pubic bone will remain on the mat along with your thighs. Hold in this position using the strength of your arm muscles, and continue to breathe normally. Exhale and slowly release the upper back and lower your chest back to your mat. This pose will stretch your abdomine and open the chest. On a spiritual level this asana works on your swadhisthana chakra. You should not practice this posture with out a competent instructor if you have a peptic ulcer, hernia, intestinal tuberculosis or hyperthyroidism. This pose tones the ovaries and uterus and helps menstrual and other gynaecological disorders. It stimulates appetite and alleviates constipation. It is beneficial for all of your abdominal organs especially for your kidneys and liver.
Dhanurasana or bow pose is a third pose which is having and effect on your body systems. For this pose you will begin by lying flat on your stomach, legs and feet together, arms and hands beside your body. Bend your knees and bring the heels close to the buttocks. From here you will grab your ankles and place your chin on the mat. Inhale deeply in the starting position. Next you tense the legs and push your feet into your hands. You arch your back, lift your thighs and chest off the ground. Keep your arms straight. Legs are the only muscle group actively engaged. You can hold this position as long as it is comfortable, breathing deeply. Exhale to come back out of this position. On a spiritual level this position works the manipura or anja chakra. You should not practice this asana if you suffer from heart conditions, hernia, colitis, or ulcers. You should also not practice this asana before bed because it stimulates the adrenal glands and the sympathetic nervous system. This posture massages the abdominal organs, liver and kidney. The pancreas and adrenal glands are toned which balances their secretions. This posture helps manage diabetes as well as menstrual disorders.
Ujjayi pranayama or the psychic breath is a breathing technique that also has benefits to the body systems. To practice this technique you will sit in any comfortable meditation asana, close your eyes and relax your entire body. Bring your awareness to your throat and feel/imagine the breath moving in and out through the throat instead of the nostrils. Begin to produce a soft sound as if a snoring baby or ocean waves. An automatic contraction of the abdominal muscles should occur. Take long, deep, controlled breaths. You can begin with taking 10 breaths and increase the tome to up to 5 minutes for general benefits. You should not use this technique if you are very introverted. This pranayama will crest heat in your body and also has a calming effect. Therefore it calms the nervous system, calms the heart rate and reduces high blood pressure.
In conclusion there are many benefits and positive effects on the organs, glands and whole body systems from correct use of specific asanas. Through a conscience and intentional practice you will be able to manage certain diseases that are caused by hormonal imbalances. Three postures that have a great effect are Matsyasana, Bhujangasana, and Dhanurasana, along with ujjayi pranayama.
About the author:
Jillian completed her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in December 2018.
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