10 Apr Yoga and Healthy Hormones
Hormones – love them or hate them but estrogen, testosterone, adrenaline, insulin are vital for the functioning of our body. In fact, they affect every aspect of our health from keeping energy levels up and the mind strong. Thus, balancing our hormones is as important for staying healthy as maintaining personal hygiene. Yoga techniques can help and work better, especially in the long run, because unlike conventional treatments for hormonal imbalances (like hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, insulin injections, thyroid medication, etc.), they have no side effect, are not addictive and promote self-reliance rather than dependency.
But how to know if we have a hormonal imbalance? There are some signs and symptoms to look out for like unexplained weight loss or weight gain, depression and anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, infertility or irregular periods, low libido, changes in appetite and digestive issues. However, symptoms can vary due to what kind of hormonal imbalance one experiences.
Diet is also a major factor when it comes to maintaining a healthy hormonal balance. For example, a carb-rich diet can disturb hormones levels, as can crash diets that cut down on calories and fats when in fact, the latter are important for hormonal health. A sattvik diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables), ginger, turmeric, cumin and coconut oil is especially beneficial as the aforementioned foods are anti-inflammatory, meaning that they keep inflammation in check, which affects hormonal health adversely. Tamasik items like sugar, refined wheat flour, pasteurized dairy, vegetable oils and soya should be avoided as they can cause inflammation. Processed and packaged food is never a good idea.
Lastly, reducing stress, getting adequate sleep and exercising regularly is key for healthy hormone levels. Techniques like Nispanda Bhavana, Anitya Bhavana and simple conditioning will work wonders for keeping the mind calm, balanced and thus, stress levels down, as will pranayama like Anulom Velom. Asanas like bhujangasana, ustrasana and shavasana are beneficial because they massage the adrenal gland, stimulate internal organs and balance stress hormones, respectively. Thus, regular yoga practice helps us keep our hormones healthy and catch any imbalances before they become major health problems. All addictions are harmful including caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and should be avoided at all costs. Constant thoughts that are sexual in nature can cause imbalance. One must divert thoughts to more meaningful activities. One must stop viewing body as a vehicle of sexual pleasure rather think of it as a center and source of acquiring knowledge and happiness.