Most people focus on maintaining a healthy diet, exercise and sleep routine for optimal health. But even the healthiest eaters, athletes and deep sleepers may experience fluctuations in weight, energy and mood if their hormones are out of balance.
Even the slightest hormonal adjustment can harm our bodies in a multitude of ways. Hormone imbalances may cause weight gain or loss, muscle mass loss, irregular hunger, dry skin, low energy, anxiety or depression.
How do you prevent this? One option is yoga. There are many yoga poses that are known to help balance your hormones, but below are just a few.
1. Inverted Poses
One way to prevent hormones from turning our world upside down, is physically turning ourselves that way. Headstand, Handstand, Shoulderstand or any pose with a direct reversal of the toes to the head is particularly beneficial for your thyroid, heart and lungs. One of the most highly regarded poses for balancing your hormones is the headstand.
HOW TO DO IT: Place your arms in a triangle pattern on the mat, with your fists together as the top point of the triangle and each elbow out as the triangle's side points. Place the top of your head in the center of the triangle on the mat, keep your neck and upper back muscles released, and gently kick up into a headstand, evenly distributing your weight between the top of your head and your forearms on the mat. Use a wall for support, if needed.
2. Seated Cross-Legged Poses
Easy pose, Lotus or any posture that requires you to sit comfortably in a cross-legged position specifically targets the adrenal gland, calming, soothing and even lessening depression.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit with your legs crossed at the shins and place your hands on your knees or your lap with your palms facing up. Relax any tension in your feet, shins, thighs and pelvis so their outer edges rest comfortably on the ground. Keep your back straight but pelvis relaxed as you inhale, moving your spine and chin forward, and then exhale, letting the exhalation round out your back.
3. Forward Bending Poses
Downward Facing Dog, Extended Puppy pose, Standing and Seated Forward Fold and Child’s pose are forward bending poses that not only alleviate stress, anxiety and fatigue, but they can restore hormone levels. Forward bending poses are known to maintain your blood sugar level and perk up your pancreas, kidneys, thyroid and thymus.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit with your legs extended straight in front of you. Inhale as you lengthen your spine toward the ceiling then exhale, bending forward at the waist, getting your head as close to your legs as is comfortable.
4. Salutation Seal
Also known as prayer position or anjali mudra, the salutation seal initiates the state of a calm and tranquil mind. It gives a boost to your pineal gland — which secretes the hormone melatonin — and pituitary gland — which is responsible for many of our hormones.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit in an easy cross-legged pose while you inhale, bringing your palms together in front of your chest and your thumbs resting on your sternum. Slightly bow your head forward, then push your sternum into your thumbs as you lengthen your back and elongate the back of your arms.