Ayurveda Disclaimer: The whole concept behind Ayurveda is that one size does not fit all. There is no one right answer that fits everyone because we are all special and unique. These tips are general management tips, all designed to manage, while also not imbalancing any of the doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), tissues, or bodily function. While these are great beginning tips for management, a consultation will tweak diet and lifestyle tips to be refined to your unique dosha, weaknesses, and tendencies.
Please consider taking an Ayurveda Class if this is intriguing and you would like to dive in further for your own health, wellness, and studies! Ayurvedic Routines (October 15th 10-12; via Zoom) and Ayurveda and Digestion (November 12th 10-12; via Zoom) are the foundational classes to get started. Intro to Ayurveda took place on September 24th and may be watch via recording; please reach out for the link. Ayurveda & Hormones will be offered in early 2023 (you must understand the Foundations before taking specific management classes).
These classes can be found under Workshops: Yoga Studies in Ayurveda
Hormonal health is intricately connected to the Chakra System, which makes yoga a really nice, supportive practice for all sorts of hormonal imbalance. Each of the main chakras (wheels of energy) is located in an area of hormonal glands in the body. Beginning at the root with the adrenals (some traditions root with the reproductive glands) and moving through to the crown chakra and the pituitary or “master gland”. The other glands are going to be: reproductive, pancreas, thymus (yes, endocrine health is connected to immunity) and heart (yes, the heart is classified as an endocrine gland), thyroid, and pineal to make up the full complement of seven chakras and seven glands.
Each gland and its hormone(s) are going to be connected to all the other glands. It is impossible to separate the body into pieces and systems. It is a functioning whole and the endocrine system is a functioning whole. The important thing to remember is that when one hormone is “off”, usually it is not alone. For example: thyroid imbalances are almost always connected to reproductive imbalances and adrenal imbalance is going to impact the entire body and mind. On the “good” side of this, when we support one gland, we support them all.
In any endocrine imbalance, we are going to want to look at a few basic things in our life: stress (in all its forms: even “good” stress is stress), toxins (they are everywhere), sleep habits, and diet. If any of these things are out of whack, they are go-to first steps to finding balance.
As usual, we’re going to come back to three things in management: Movement, Nourishment, and Stillness.
The root cause of hormonal imbalance is often diet and the gut. The things we are not able to digest may be spilling over and clogging the system. In Ayurveda, the “master fire” is in the stomach and helps to regulate all the other bodily fires, including the “little fires” of each hormone. By regulating the digestive fire, these little fires everywhere begin to regulate in turn. It’s like a clock, the rhythm and rate of the body likes to be in sync.
In addition to healthy food choices, appropriate to the season and your constitution/dosha, we want to be sure we are incorporating good eating habits. Eating on a consistent rhythm (same time/same place for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and slowing down to eat goes a long way for regulating the rate and rhythm of the body, including the hormones.
With hormones, we want to be careful that we are choosing clean, fresh foods. There are loads of toxins that can wreak havoc on our system in our foods. Chemicals. Pesticides. Hormones. Dyes. Even “natural” flavorings. Become good at reading ingredients. If it’s a long list and full of things you can’t pronounce, it’s likely something that’s hard to digest…or worse.
Eat well, digest well, and (ahem) poop well. There aren’t specific dietary suggestions for this blog post because it will depend a lot on where the imbalance is showing up and each individual’s unique make up and tendencies. Basic Ayurvedic suggestions for diet and regulating those little fires will be talked about more in Ayurveda & Digestion. There will also be an Ayurveda & Hormones class coming up where we will talk about hormones in more detail.
Everything is interconnected, eating well will begin to regulate the heart and mind and trickle from there.
Yoga asana (postures), a practice that is well balanced in the poles of movement and stillness is great for balancing the system. Chakra balancing classes are excellent as well as Restorative, Yin, and sometimes even fire boosting classes or more intense classes. More often than not though, in hormonal imbalances, we want to be gentle and restoring to the body and channels and not add stress, even the “good” stress in the form of overly-heating and overly-challenging movements and classes.
We are unique and special, our needs are also unique and special, so which class is “good for you”…depends. Again, usually in hormone imbalances we want to support and restore and rest. A good yoga teacher can help guide you to the best class for your needs (or wants). A yoga teacher/Ayurveda practitioner can be really helpful in finding the best classes to support you! “Yoga” isn’t always yoga or the “right yoga” for you.
One of the best and easiest overall regulator of Hormones is a daily walk to connect with the Sun’s rhythms. Perhaps also the Moon’s rhythms, particularly for female hormone imbalances. Connecting with the Sun, unites us with the rhythms of Nature of which we are beings of. The Sun awakens and supports the Pineal gland and helps to reset the whole system in a gentle and loving way. When in doubt walk in Sunshine and bask in Moonbeams.
Sleep well. Like most things in our body, hormones are regulated and reset during good nighttime sleep (ideally between 10pm-2am; we go into this in detail in Ayurvedic Routines). Go to bed at a reasonable and consistent time. Wake each day at a reasonable and consistent time. This all comes back to regulating the body’s rhythms so the body can relax into knowing what to expect when and all those little fires learn to “fire” on an appropriate schedule, without spikes of too much or drops into too little. It also honors the gift of Rest that the body survives and thrives on. Good sleep is a natural de-stressor.
Nadi Shodana, the Alternate Nostril Breath, is one of the BEST practices for balancing hormones and it only takes five-ten minutes a day to bring results. This practice balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain for cognitive wellness. Each breath up and down each side of the body weaves through each of the seven chakras and endocrine glands to regulate and balance. It cleanses the subtle channels that may be clogged or stuck. It reduces stress, regulates sleep, and is the all around best healing practice of Pranayama.
The best way to learn pranayama is from a qualified teacher. Pranayama (breathing practices) Practices for Fall and Winter begins this October (via Zoom this year). There are two parts. Part One is to cultivate a personal practice and Part Two is designed develop and practice teaching Pranayama (Neither restricted to yoga teachers; reach out for more information). Fall and Winter practices are the most healing and nourishing of the pranayama practices, and often the practices that our hormones need the most. The class will include alternate nostril breathing/Nadi Shodhana. (Spring practices will return in 2023).
Final Tips: Find your perfect balance of Movement, Nourishment, and Stillness and the rest will begin to fall into that place of your perfect rhythm and balance. Use patience, gentle nudges, and trust. Please reach out if you need support along your personal Journey.
Medical Disclaimer: These are useful tips for managing imbalances that lead to disEase, but are not to be used in place of medical advice from your Primary Care Physician. Please seek medical advice for diagnosis and treatment. Trillium Ayurveda (and Charlotte) considers medications, medical procedures, and medical advice part of your wellness toolbox. We advise our clients to have regular check ups and seek medical care when appropriate. We strongly remind everyone that there is NO SHAME in needing medical intervention for physical and mental health.