Endocrine system plays an important role in our body as it acts a principal of homeostasis which is standing still for proper balance of chemicals and other substances in our body and harmonious functioning and coordination of all various bodily processes and oxygen systems. Endocrine system consists primarily of adrenal cortex, the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, the pancreas, the thyroid gland, the parathyroid glands and testes or ovaries. Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through our circulatory system to other part of the body in order to control or regulate our body process such as growth, temperature control, water retention. Some of the hormonal problems faced by both men and women are hormonal imbalance, underactive or overactive thyroid, increase cortisol level, insulin deficiency or insulin resistance and early menopause.
Although yoga probably will not significantly alter functions of the endocrine system like growth and metabolism, it may have a beneficial effect on our stress response. Moreover, yoga poses pressurize and depressurize specific glands and these subtle compression and decompression can regulate secretions.
Poses like Sirsasana, standing forward bend increases blood flow to brain which improves the functioning of brain and hypothalamus along with improving the functioning of pituitary and pineal gland. Poses like Halasana and shoulder stand improve the functioning of thyroid and parathyroid gland. Poses like Setu Bandhasana and Bhujangasana will stimulate testes and ovaries.
In addition to yoga poses, yoga nidra is also great way to control stress and emotion. It is not about just sleeping but stays awake and controls your thoughts and your senses, replace negative thoughts with positive ones and relax, and energize your mind and body. It will also improve the functioning of brain. Pranayama “breathing exercise” initiates a relaxation response in the endocrine system and reduces muscle tension, lowers the heart rate and slows brain wave patterns.
Thanks to yoga, you can enjoy the fruit of having your hormonal health improved alongside with your physical benefit such as sleep better, improve mood and relieve anxiety, cut cravings, fight fatigue, reduce and manage pain.
Thida (IHA Student)