Whilst hormonal imbalances are typically associated with puberty, pregnancy and menopause, they can affect us at any stage of life. Chronic stress also causes the hormones adrenaline and cortisol to go haywire, meaning that hormonal imbalances are more prevalent than ever.
Hormones are produced by the endocrine system, and a well-functioning system is essential to a happy, healthy body. When this system is out of whack, a variety of symptoms can emerge, including mood swings, headaches, skin problems, fatigue and weight gain. Yoga is well known for its stress-relieving benefits, helping to reduce cortisol and adrenaline levels in the blood, while certain asanas (poses) in particular can help stimulate the endocrine system to encourage optimal hormone function.
Try incorporating these simple poses into your home workout routine to help restore your body’s natural balance!
1)Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
This simple backbend massages the adrenal gland, helping it to function better including improving your body’s ability to combat stress and release tension.
Start by laying on your front, legs together and palms face down next to your shoulders. Inhale as you press into your hands and start to lift your head and chest up, opening up across the chest and pressing down the tops of the feet. Continue to inhale and exhale deeply, drawing your shoulders down, for 6-8 breaths, before lowering down. Repeat a few times, perhaps straightening the arms a little more each time to get more lift.
2)Wide Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)
This forward bend helps regulate the thyroxine hormone, which plays a vital role in digestion, heart and muscle function, brain development and bone health. It also flushes the pituitary, hypothalamus and thymus glands, ensuring optimal function.
Start standing with your legs wide, feet parallel, and hands on your hips. Take a deep inhale, as you exhale, fold forward hinging from your hips, keeping your spine straight. Gradually you can lower the hands to the floor, trying to walk them further back in line with your feet. Hold for 6-8 breaths, recover back up to standing on an inhale.
Tip: If the hamstrings are tight you can soften the knees – keeping a straight spine is more important!
3)Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Camel pose helps to stimulate the internal organs, especially in the neck region where the thyroid and parathyroid glands are located. Thyroid glands are responsible for producing the hormones that regulate growth and metabolic function, while parathyroid glands are fundamental in distributing calcium around your body, ensuring healthy teeth, bones and skin!
Start in a high kneeling position, knees hip-width apart. Inhale as you place your hands on the back of your pelvis and start to lean back slightly, opening up your chest, while lightly pressing forward with your hips. Either keep the hands on the back of the pelvis or bring your hands down to meet your heels. Hold for 5 breaths, then recover back to a kneeling position. Repeat, perhaps reaching a little further, or if you’re more advanced, you can try reaching one or both arms overhead.
Tip: If you’re a beginner, try keeping the toes tucked under initially.
4) Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)
Another wonderful pose for stimulating the thyroid and parathyroid glands, and for regulating hormones. It is also thought to have mood-boosting effects.
Start in a kneeling position, sitting on your heels. Hold onto the soles of your feet with your hands and start to round your body forward until the crown of your head is on the floor, forehead touching your knees. Lift your hips up, away from your heels. Hold for 5 deep breaths, and repeat 2-3 times.