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Hormone Yoga Therapy: Balance your Hormones for Optimal Health

Hormone Yoga Therapy: Balance your Hormones for Optimal Health

History of Hormone Yoga Therapy

Hormone Yoga Therapy is a form of yoga developed by Dinah Rodriguez, a Brazilian author and yoga teacher. Her aim first was to help women who are suffering from unwanted side effects of menopause. But soon she discovered, that the benefits serve all women suffering from any of the multitude of problems caused by hormonal imbalances.

In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about Hormone Yoga Therapy and how it can benefit you.

What is Hormone Yoga Therapy?

It is a holistic practice used to reactivate hormone production. As a result, it is said to improve and even eliminate hormonal imbalances.

HYT includes a fixed set of yoga postures, breathing techniques and visualisations. It draws primarily on hatha and kundalini yoga poses and practices.

Breath techniques (pranayama) alongside yoga poses activate the following glands: the hypophysis, thyroid, adrenal, and ovarian glands. The stimulation of these glands is increased by the application of mudras and bandhas alongside a Tibetan energy technique.

A bandha is also known as a body lock, whereas mudras are gestures with the fingers and hands. Both are used to help energy flow into certain parts of the body. 

Who is it for?

The therapy can reactivate glands and treat low or imbalanced hormones. It is therefore useful for women of any age, and specifically helpful for women who are:

  • experiencing a hormonal imbalance, for example: difficulty conceiving, menstrual disorders, ovarian cysts, vaginal dryness, and low sex drive.
  • looking for a preventative measure for the symptoms of peri- and menopause. Hormone levels start to drop at around 35 years old. 

Techniques used in Hormone Yoga Therapy

The techniques used in the therapy include: asanas (yoga poses), pranayama, mudras, bandhas, visualisation. We also work with the chakras. In order to stimulate the glands, we will practice dynamic asanas, along with powerful breathing.

Various types of breathing techniques are practiced during the class. To stimulate the glands, we use pranayama techniques involving strong abdominal breathing. For instance, breath of fire and full yogic breathing. Strong abdominal breathing moves the qi, prana, in the body and therefore improves circulation to the glands. 

These breathing techniques can also be used daily when you’re looking to find a little more calm or focus.

The practice consists of basic yoga poses and therefore you don’t need to have any experience in yoga to start the therapy! You will be taken step by step through each pose, as well as the breathing techniques.

Relaxation is also an important part. Students are led through the practice of yoga nidra, a relaxing, meditative style of yoga that takes you into a dream-like state. This, consequently, has huge benefits on your mental wellbeing and sleep.

What are the benefits?

This holistic therapy offers a host of mental and physical benefits for women of all ages, who experience hormonal imbalances. 

Managing the symptoms of the menopause

No woman should have to deal with the symptoms of menopause. HYT offers a natural and drug-free alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

In short, it can help alleviate the following symptoms of menopause:

  • Hot flushes
  • Urogenital dryness
  • Night sweats
  • Insomnia and sleeping disorders
  • Anxiety and sadness
  • Changes in periods
  • Osteoporosis prevention

Infertility

Infertility is often linked to low hormone levels and other hormonal imbalances. The therapy will therefore stimulate hormone-producing glands and consequently help with infertility problems.

Yoga is also a wonderful support to the stresses surrounding difficulties with conception. A regular hormone yoga practice, will promote a positive relationship with your body. As a result, you will learn to love and nurture your body rather than feeling frustrated with or negative about it.

Stress and anxiety

In addition, whether you are experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety, HYT can alleviate the symptoms and leave you feeling much calmer and grounded. Meditative relaxation and visualisation techniques teach you to focus less on your thoughts and more on the present moment. So, these techniques are incredibly valuable and you can practice them on your own whenever needed.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Moreover, hormone yoga therapy, can lessen and even heal hormonal imbalances around the period, such as: tender breasts, cramps, mood swings, food cravings, digestion problems and others. It is the regular practice that increases blood circulation in the reproductive organs and balances hormones. As a result, it can help significantly with PMS problems.

More benefits of HYT

Other imbalances where HYT can help:

  • Insomnia
  • Painful periods
  • Incontinence
  • Hypertension
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Low libido
  • Depression and emotional instability
  • Absence/loss of menstruation (amenorrhea)

In addition, here are a few other ways that HYT can help with:

  • Balance the immune system
  • Balance the autonomic nervous system
  • Improve circulation and healing
  • Weight loss
  • Increase flexibility
  • Balance emotions
  • Develop an awareness of a healthy diet and lifestyle

When you should avoid HYT

Certainly, there are some conditions for which HYT is not suitable. Therefore, contact a doctor if you have, or have ever had:

  • During pregnancy
  • Cancer that is hormone related
  • Psychiatric problems
  • Severe hyperthyroidism
  • Severe hypertension
  • Large myomas/fibroids
  • Women who have had appendicitis but still have the appendix
  • Advanced endometriosis
  • Undiagnosed abdominal pain
  • Recent surgery
  • Severe cardiovascular diseases
  • Advanced osteoporosis

In conclusion, Hormone Yoga Therapy offers a natural alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy. Most importantly, when practised regularly, it can alleviate symptoms of hormonal imbalances. As a result, Hormone Yoga Therapy will help you feel your best again!

Hormone Yoga Therapy Online Workshop

Join me for the next online workshop to learn and discover the hormone yoga exercise series by Dinah Rodrigues. A flow connecting you deeper to your feminine power. Tune in with your natural rhythms and make your hormones work for you.

A Cold Uterus: How it influences menstruation, fertility and pregnancy

A Cold Uterus: How it influences menstruation, fertility and pregnancy

The Uterus from a Chinese medicine perspective

In TCM the uterus, Bao Gong, is not seen as an isolated organ, but includes the ovaries, the fallopian tubes and the cervix. It´s also called the “palace of the child”. The extraordinary vessels Ren Mai and Chong Mai go through the uterus. They help regulate menstruation, conception and pregnancy. As a result, the uterus has several functions such as: stores and excretes the menstrual blood; stores the kidney-essence “jing”; triggers ovulation; thickens the endometrium; receives the sperm and carries and supplies the embryo until birth.

The heart is closely connected to the uterus via the uterus vessel, Bao Mai. That´s why, mental-emotional problems have such a profound impact on the uterus. The kidneys connect to the uterus via the uterus channel Bao Luo. Above all, a proper functioning liver, heart and spleen supply the uterus with blood.

Cold invading the uterus

Cold in the uterus is a very common gynaecological pathology. In other words, kidney yang is lacking, and qi (yang = heat) is no longer able to move liquids (yin = blood). As a result, the blood cannot flow and circulate optimally.

Cold in the uterus often penetrates into the body from the outside. This can happen by:

  • excessive consumption of cold foods (ice cream, raw food, ice-cold drinks, etc.)
  • excessive sports in winter
  • swimming, sitting on cold surfaces especially during menstruation
  • feeling cold due to sparse clothing on the feet and lower legs
  • having sex while menstruating
  • live or work in a damp and cold environment

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How Chinese medicine diagnoses a cold uterus

A cold uterus in Chinese medicine is diagnosed when three different patterns and signs simultaneously appear:

  • the area below belly button feels cooler to the touch than the rest of the abdomen
  • kidney-yang deficiency
  • blood-stasis

The kidney-yang regulates, among other things: our inner fire, ensures that we are warm, gives us enough drive, preserves vitality and willpower.

Possible signs of kidney-yang deficiency are

  • exhaustion
  • difficulty concentrating
  • loss of joie de vivre and vitality up to depression
  • lower back pain esp. before period
  • pain relieved by application of heat
  • chronic cold to ice-cold feet, esp. at night
  • low libido
  • feeling cold and aversion to cold
  • regular urinating at night or in the early morning hours
  • loose, urgent stools or diarrhea, esp. when period starts
  • cramps during period that improve to a heating pad
  • profuse vaginal discharge
  • frequent urination
  • low BBT readings

Blood stasis never arises independently (like e.g. liver-qi stagnation) but is always the consequence of other conditions and patterns, usually after a long period of time. Thus, there are no aetiological factors like diet, emotions, etc. that give rise to blood-stasis by themselves.

Possible signs of blood-stasis are

  • painful periods with dark blood and large-dark clots
  • dark circles under the eyes
  • mid-cycle pain around your ovaries
  • painful, unmovable lumps in breast or thyroid
  • haemorrhoids
  • blood clots in menstruation blood
  • veins under tongue are distended and / or dark
  • irregular periods
  • fibroids
  • spider veins
  • endometriosis
  • myoma
  • amenorrhoea
  • menstrual cramps with a pain that is fixed, boring, or stabbing in quality
  • cherry-red spots on your skin (often on the upper body)
  • hesitant start of the periods
  • periods starts and stops
  • period starting and ending with a brownish discharge
  • tongue may have purple sides

Myomas / fibroids, endometriosis and PCOS all present with signs of blood stasis.

How blood stasis affects your period

In women, the lower abdomen contains the uterus which stores blood. As a result, women are much more prone to blood stasis than men. If blood stasis occurs the menstrual blood can contain blood clots, usually dark and large ones. Blood stasis often causes pain but not always. If there is pain, then it´s an intense, stabbing and fixed one.

What happens during menstruation? The uterus contracts to help expel its lining. In conclusion, if there is blood stagnation in the uterus, the blood is not flowing freely and this often leads to painful cramping. Furthermore, the congealed blood accumulates and forms blood clots.

How does the endometrium support nidation?

The anterior and posterior walls of the uterus contract like a closed fist that holds the embryo in one place until it is safely in its endometrial bed. This gentle pressure can be created by the uterus, if it is warm and not too dry or too moist.

If there are imbalances, as may be the case with women with kidney-yang deficiency the fluid is not properly absorbed. The surface of the endometrium is sometimes too slippery or, according to TCM, too “moist/damp” to provide support for the foetus.

General tips for warming your uterus

  • Eat warm, easy-digestible and nourishing foods
  • Avoid tropical fruits and too much raw food
  • Cut out cold drinks and foods, esp. from the refrigerator
  • Avoid alcohol and coffee
  • Eat an antioxidants rich diet
  • Exercise moderately
  • Take hot baths
  • Keep your feet, lower back and legs and abdomen always warm
  • Don´t sit on cold surfaces or go for a swim while menstruating

How does Chinese medicine treat a cold uterus?

Chinese medicine gives diet recommendations for easy-to-digest, warming and blood invigorating foods. In addition, herbs for strengthening kidney-yang, expelling cold in the uterus and invigorating blood are given. Furthermore, acupuncture is used to strengthen the Qi to support the movement of blood, treating the underlying imbalance and nourishing the kidneys.

References

Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chinese Medicine. 2nd Edition. by Giovanni Maciocia

Also see my other articles

 

What are low AMH levels or Anti-Mullerian hormone and how does it affect fertility?

How to Improve your Fertility Naturally

Female Sexuality & Chinese Medicine: Solving Sexual Problems Naturally

Chinese medicine: How the kidneys influence your fertility

Coffee – Is it Good or Bad for your Health?

Have you been trying to get pregnant for a long time and would you like to benefit from the knowledge of Chinese medicine, which has been tried and tested for thousands of years? I would be happy to talk to you about the options in my TCM practice. Get in touch with me. I am looking forward to meeting you.

Fibroid Diet – Best and Worst Foods and Drinks for Shrinking Fibroids

Fibroid Diet – Best and Worst Foods and Drinks for Shrinking Fibroids

Fibroids: What are they and how are they detected?

Uterine fibroids, also called myomas, are benign tumours which mostly appear on the inner and outer wall of the uterus in the pelvic cavity. These tumours can be as small as a sunflower seed and can grow bigger than a sweet melon. Some women have just one fibroid, whereas others have multiple at a time. These bulky masses can even enlarge the size of the uterus if left untreated.

Risk factors for uterine fibroids

Black women are two to three times more at risk to develop fibroids. Early menarche, overweight or obesity and fewer or no pregnancies can increase the risk for fibroids due to the longer or higher exposure to oestrogen.

Other risk factors for developing uterine fibroids are: Poor estrogen metabolism; exposure to xenoestrogens like plastics and pesticides; vitamin D deficiency; high blood pressure; a diet high in red meat; drinking alcohol regularly; a diet low in green vegetables. 

Symptoms of fibroids

Some women don’t show symptoms at all, only to discover the fibroids during a pelvic exam or prenatal ultrasound at the doctor. Depending on the size and location of the fibroids, they can cause symptoms such as:

  • pain in the pelvis or lower back
  • pressure or fullness in lower abdomen
  • bleeding between periods
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • heavy menstrual bleeding with clots
  • spotting or bleeding between periods
  • prolonged menstruation
  • miscarriages
  • difficulty getting pregnant
  • cramping
  • urge to urinate
  • frequent urination

Foods and drinks to avoid when you have uterine fibroids

Avoid oestrogen rich foods when suffering from fibroids

Fibroids are hormone dependent and as oestrogen stimulates development of the uterine lining, too much of it can promote the growth of fibroids. Therefore avoid foods that have high levels of oestrogen, such as:

  • soy milk
  • soy beans
  • tofu and tempeh
  • high-fat cheese, cream and butter
  • ice-cream
  • chocolate
  • red meat
  • red wine
  • animal fats
  • all hormonally treated meats from factoring farming

These foods should be eliminated from your diet

  • refined carbohydrates e.g white bread, pasta, white rice, bread, etc.
  • hydrogenated and refined oils like margarine, fried foods. etc.
  • foods containing gluten like wheat, spelt, etc.
  • refined sugar
  • alcohol
  • dairy products
  • foods high in salt
  • fruit juices
  • caffeine
  • high-fat, processed meats
  • artificial sweeteners like aspartame and acesulfame potassium

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Foods and drinks that shrink fibroids

The best organic foods to eat when suffering from fibroids are:

  • fish, oysters, mussels and clams
  • modest consumption of eggs
  • consume several times a week lemons and limes
  • vegetarian foods rich in iron like spinach, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, broccoli, apricots, amaranth
  • cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
  • beetroots, radish, parsnip
  • cooked glutenfree whole grains like brown rice, millet, amaranth, etc.
  • green leafy vegetables to help the liver to detox  and to eliminate excess oestrogen
  • legumes such as black beans and lentils
  • beta-carotene rich foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, leafy greens and butternut squash
  • fresh culinary herbs like basil, chives, parsley, etc.
  • herbal teas with liver relieving properties like milk thistle, artichoke and dandelion
  • herbs like bladder wrack and Irish moss
  • essential fatty acids like olive oil, pumpkin seed oil, etc.

Another very efficient way to support the treatment of fibroids, and improve common symptoms which go with it like weight-gain, digestion problems, cysts and menstruation problems , is to regularly consume congee, a rice porridge. But instead of white rice you take a mix of brown rice and millet (50/50). You can find more information and the recipe in my article: “Congee – The Healthy Rice Porridge to Boost your Health”

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Embody to Thrive

Do you want a better and more aligned life to achieve deeply desired results? A life with more energy, a peaceful mind, and habits that go toward lifelong health and wellness? Discover my health and lifestyle program Embody to Thrive.