Yoga is good for toning, strengthening and relaxation. We all know this. But did you know that the benefits of this ancient practice go much deeper and can even help with hormonal imbalance and severe PMS?
We attended a hormonal yoga class and spoke to yogi Deepa Moodgal to find out how exactly yoga can help with hormonal problems and which yoga poses are the most effective.
So how does yoga help to re-balance hormones?
Yoga can help re-balance the hormones by working deeply on the nervous system. The nervous system and your hormones are intrinsically linked - high levels of stress and anxiety release cortisol in the body and create a state of imbalance. By practicing yoga and slowing down the breathing, this can re-direct and re-balance areas of the body, so a state of balance can be achieved.
How would we know if we have a hormonal imbalance?
Hormonal imbalance can be displayed in various ways, such as anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats and more. It’s important to point out that although these symptoms may be a sign of hormonal imbalance it might not be directed related to your hormones, so it is always good to get yourself checked by a medical professional.
So could it actually help with PMS?
Hormonal yoga is excellent for people who suffer with bad PMS, because it helps stimulate the main glands associated with hormone production and helps calm the mind and body, through the breath within the asana. In other words, by focusing on asanas that open hips, elongate the spine and support key areas of hormone production throughout the body, this creates an overall sense of well-being and inner radiance.
READ MORE: Why not try anti-gravity yoga?
When's the best time to do hormonal yoga?
Regular hormonal yoga practice is beneficial at all times, as it has such a positive ripple effect on both mind and body. However for women trying to conceive it would be advisable to practice yoga around ovulation.
When we came to your class we tried alternate nostril breathing, why is that so important?
Alternate nostril breathing re-balances both sides of the brain and re-directs oxygen around the whole of your body. It is one of the most effective Pranayama (breathing exercises) that corrects any disease or imbalance in your body. Alternate nostril breathing has a direct effect on our hormones by releasing accumulated stress and purifying the Nadis (energy channels in the body).
If we can't make it to a class, are there any quick tricks we can try at home?
Try slow, deep belly breathing which can help re-balance your hormone levels and try to relax your mind. Inversion postures are great for stimulating the pituitary gland, the hormone secretor in the body. So, postures like downward-facing dog, and legs up the wall are excellent. You may also like reclined postures such as lying on your back with the soles of your feet together (Supta Badakonasana), and doing the butterfly position sitting which releases any negative energy in your ovaries. Twisting postures are excellent for stimulating the organs and working on the central nervous system by aligning the spine.
READ MORE: Find more yoga poses for PMS
Are there any lifestyle tips that will help to balance our hormones?
Try to eat a well-balanced and healthy diet and engage in a regular yoga and exercise routine, which can bring about the right levels of oestrogen in the body. I’d also recommend regular massage, including stomach massage to stimulate the internal organs.
What should we do after a session of hormonal yoga?
Enjoy the benefits by drinking plenty of water, and keeping your mind calm after practice. Before bed, exfoliate with a scrub to increase circulation, relax with hibiscus tea (rich in vitamin c – known to counter adrenal fatigue) and run a bath filled with Nutmeg Flower Bath Oil to relax the senses. You could also try inducing a deep sleep with the Ushvani Balm, based on a traditional Asian ‘cure-all’ - to help soothe aching muscles, ease tension, stress and generally help with the feeling of wellbeing.
Ushvani (ushvani.com, 02077302888) offers monthly Hormonal Yoga classes in its exclusive Sentosa Studio. This unique 105 minute workshop runs from 18:45 to 20:30 and is priced at £40.00 per person, advance bookings only.