Yoga not only plays an important role in maintaining our health but also has a very good effect on our endocrine system. Due to a hectic lifestyle and the ongoing stress regarding the pandemic, people are experiencing a lot of hormonal problems. Some of the health issues faced by both men and women are hormonal changes, underactive or overactive thyroid and hormonal imbalance. Increase in cortisol levels, insulin deficiency or insulin resistance, early puberty and early menopause are few hormonal disorders that women face. It’s therefore good to know more about the endocrine system. The Endocrine system is a collection of glands that release hormones directly into the bloodstream to the targeted cells.
Why Is The Endocrine System Important For Us?
Endocrine system helps maintain the body’s homeostasis (balance). Metabolism, growth, sexual development, mental growth, mineral balance, heart rate regulation, setting our sleep cycle, muscular and skeletal growth are the functions of endocrine gland.
Role of the Hypothalamus: Hypothalamus is a part of the brain that is responsible for the direct control of the endocrine system through the pituitary gland. Hypothalamus is also the center of emotions and is affected by strong emotions, odor, powerful thoughts, taste, stress, laughter, etc.
Pituitary gland is the master gland controlling the whole endocrine system including the pineal gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, thymus gland, adrenal glands, pancreas, ovaries and testes. The hypothalamus sends signals to pituitary gland, which then releases chemicals to stimulate the hormones from other endocrine glands. So this will work like Hypothalamus–pituitary-organ pathway.
The Role of Yoga in Controlling the Hormonal System
- Pranayama: has a good effect on the endocrine system. Pranayama means stretching , modifying and lengthening the breath. Pranayama has dual benefits. In Pranayama, when you control your breath, it controls both your mind and your body. We supply more oxygen to the lungs which is transported to each and every cell of the body. The blood supply and the oxygen supply to the brain and hypothalamus increases, thereby, improving their functioning. One can control stress and emotions in a better way because stress can disturb the functioning of the hypothalamus. Pranayama improves the relationship between hypothalamus –pituitary and the other glands and thus, the entire endocrine system is balanced.
- Yog Nidra or Yogic Sleep: is a great way to control stress and emotion. It is not about going to Shavasana and just sleeping but staying awake and controlling your thoughts and senses, replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, relaxing and energizing your mind and body. Yog Nidra will improve the functioning of the brain, hypothalamus and the relationship between hypothalamus and pituitary and the other endocrine glands.
- Yogic Poses: like Sirsasana, standing forward bend increases blood flow to brain and improves the functioning of the brain and hypothalamus along with improving the functioning of pituitary and pineal gland. Halasana and shoulder stand improve the functioning of thyroid and parathyroid gland. Ardh Matsyendrasana and Balasana will stimulate pancreas for the release of insulin and glucagon from pancreas. Setubandhasana and Bhujangasana will stimulate testes and ovaries.
We hope this article helps you improve the functioning of your endocrine system and bring balance to your mind and body! Do leave your thoughts in the comments below. For more on how yoga can help you, check out Healthy Reads or tune in to LIVE sessions with our yoga specialists on GOQii Play.