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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.

Chinese medicine: Understanding menopause and 9 TCM tips for natural relief

Chinese medicine: Understanding menopause and 9 TCM tips for natural relief

Menopause: the second spring

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, menopause is referred to as the “second spring”. That sounds great, doesn’t it? It also tells us how much strength and renewal awaits us in the second half of life.

Peri- and menopause are experienced very differently from woman to woman. Peri-menopause is the period of time in which the body makes the natural transition to menopause. During this time we can have stronger, milder or irregular periods. When we haven’t menstruated for 12 consecutive months we have officially reached menopause.

In the transition period and as well in menopause, some suffer from sweats, sleeping disorders and dizziness. Others complain about migraines, eczema, palpitations and depression. While others can go through this life phase without marked symptoms.

In many countries and cultures, older women are considered wise and very respected, and experience more recognition than in our Western culture. The absence of menstruation is seen as a natural part of life, it’s welcomed and celebrated. Menopause is not a disease, but a completely natural process. It’s another special phase in the life of a woman to be consciously experienced, and lived through.

In Western society, where menopause is seen as a weakness and a decrease in life energy, women often experience very severe symptoms.

What happens energetically during menopause?

In order to maintain health for as long as possible, it is important to ensure a balance of the energies yin and yang. Yin is water and therefore cooling and absorbing. It reflects in blood, juices and substance. Yin nourishes and moisturises the tissues and organs, calms our nerves thus ensuring a restful sleep. Yang is fire, it is dynamic and gives us drive. It has a warming effect, gives us energy, joie de vivre and promotes and warms the functions of the tissues and organs. Both are equal parts of a whole and interdependent.

A woman’s menstrual cycle reflects her state of hormonal balance. When her yin and yang are balanced she has a regular cycle with moderate blood flow. The monthly bleeding cools and detoxifies the body, cleaning her uterus, cervix and vagina. It’s therefore unhealthy to suppress menstruation.

Many women suffering from: sleep problems, hot flashes, mood swings and acne, experience an improvement when the period arrives and the days after. The reason is that the body gets rid of excess heat and toxins. If you suffer from hot flashes and night sweats during the menopause, you will notice exactly this phenomenon: too much heat remains in the body due to less frequent or no bleeding.

As we get older, we automatically produce less and less blood and qi, less yin and yang. In order to protect the precious yin energies, so they are still available to us in the second half of life, the monthly bleeding stops gradually. The “heavenly water” becomes less and less and eventually stops flowing. Due to the lack of blood loss, the body regains energy. Some women experience this as a real high.

This period of change takes place mostly between the ages of 40 and 50 and lasts for different lengths of time. Depending on the constitution and lifestyle of a woman it can manifest itself in different symptoms.

Typical complaints in menopause can be

  • vaginal dryness
  • hot flashes, chills
  • night sweats
  • palpations
  • sleep problems and insomnia
  • mood changes, irritability, restlessness
  • anxiety, panic, nervousness
  • inability to concentrate
  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • eczema
  • tinnitus
  • dry eyes
  • dry skin and mucous membranes
  • hair loss
  • itchy skin
  • exhaustion, lack of drive
  • lack of libido
  • bladder weakness, urine leakage
  • weight gain, slowed metabolism
  • headaches
  • breast soreness
  • osteoporosis
  • joint pain
  • digestive problems

Stay connected and drop by on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM.

menopause and traditional chinese medicine

Menopause and our kidneys

In TCM, the kidneys are responsible for the process of ageing. They are the root of our body’s yin and yang. As we get older, the kidneys’ yin and yang decrease. The kidney is the big central store of all our powers and vital life substance (essence). In the course of our lives, essence and yin and yang decrease more and more. It’s desirable, and very helpful, when this happens at a steady pace so the body slowly gets used to the changes.

However, our current way of life often leads to a faster decrease in yin energy. Women also consume yin through their menstrual period and pregnancies. Too much stress, pressure to perform and excessive physical exertion. Computers and cell phones, lack of sleep, poor diets and fast food affect us in the course of our lives.

Kidney-yin corresponds to the parasympathetic nervous system and is responsible for restoration and regeneration. When deficient it can show symptoms of

  • night sweats and hot flashes
  • afternoon heat
  • restlessness and anxiety
  • ringing in the ears and hearing problems
  • palpitation
  • insomnia and sleeping disorders
  • dry skin, eyes and mucous membranes
  • vaginal dryness
  • a pale face with flushed red cheeks
  • a red peeled tongue
  • dark scanty urine

Kidney-yang is the foundation of the yang qi in the whole body. Its mission is to warm the whole body to promote the proper functioning of all organs and tissues. When deficient we can experience symptoms of

  • exhaustion
  • difficulty concentrating
  • loss of joie de vivre and vitality up to depression
  • feeling cold and aversion to cold
  • declining or loss of libido
  • difficulty in urination and incontinence
  • water retention and edema

There is often a mixture of the two: heat alternates with cold.

How we experience menopause therefore depends on how well we have taken care of our kidneys and taken care of our female health in the course of living. Our eating and living habits, but also our emotional life have a big impact on the health and energy of the kidneys.

A kidney yin or yang deficiency often shows up with a liver-qi stagnation. Women who have experienced long-term stress in their relationships, have a general frustration in life and overworked for many years often have a stagnant liver-qi. They have the impression that their life isn’t flowing and have feelings of frustration, resistance and feel pressure in their chest.

Common symptoms of liver-qi stagnation are

  • alternating digestive complaints that get worse especially when stressed (esp. change of diarrhoea and constipation)
  • irregular menstruation and PMS complaints
  • mood swings
  • prone to frustration and irritability
  • headaches and migraines
  • weather sensitivity
  • lump in throat
  • frequent sighing

Regular and moderate exercise helps to move our liver-qi, especially when done in nature. A deep and conscious breathing stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system and helps to relax and to stay calm.

Causes of menopausal problems

As stated above there are many women who transit through menopause without any marked symptoms. In Chinese medicine we already see in the years before menopause if a woman will pass this period smoothly or not.

Some factors that certainly negatively influence the state of the menopausal years are:

Overwork

Working long hours with insufficient periods of rest which often result in lack of movement. It also promotes eating under stress which weakens kidney-yin.

Emotional stress

Emotional stress is one of the most common causes for menopausal problems. When experienced over many years, kidney-yin is weakened by fear, anxiety and guilt. Whereas liver-qi becomes stagnant by recurrent feelings of anger, frustration and suppressed emotions.

Smoking

Smoking tobacco injures lung-yin and dries blood and fluids in the body. Over time it weakens kidney-yin. It also can aggravate feelings of grief, sadness and worry.

Eating irregular meals and dairy

Irregular meals, consuming poor diet and dairy foods and / or overeating weakens spleen-qi. It can also cause the formation of phlegm. As a result, slower metabolism, tiredness, oedemas and other symptoms can occur.

Coffee and alcohol

They are both yang in nature and consumed on a regular basis can worsen menopausal problems.
See also my article “Coffee – Is it good or bad for your health?

 

best foods to eat to help relieve menopause

TCM nutrition for menopause

“Let food be your medicine”

In TCM, foods are classified according to their thermal properties and their effect on the individual.

In general, you could say that foods that grow in summer, and in the South tend to have a cooling effect. Whereas foods that grow in winter, and in the North tend to have a warming effect.

The yin and fluids of the body can be supported via the diet, so that the body does not run so hot. Remember that yin has cooling properties and during menopause many women experience an excess of yang. That’s why we want to make sure to especially nourish our yin during these years.

Foods from the neutral to slightly cooling category and juice-building foods should be on the menu more often. As a result, foods with warming and heating properties should be avoided.

9 diet tips for progressing smoothly through menopause

1. Consume mineral-rich foods and water

They are especially good to nourish your kidney-yin. Dark leafy veggies, lentils, seaweed, wild-caught fish, fermented foods, bone or vegetable broth, black sesame, millet, amaranth and quinoa.

I highly recommend Quinton plasma seawater for boosting the kidney-yin.

2. Eat foods with slightly cooling and refreshing properties

Preference is for cooking methods like soups, stews and compotes as they help to fight symptoms of dryness and heat. All vegetables and esp. soybean, dandelion, radicchio, chicory, tomato, aubergine, avocado, asparagus, beetroot, carrot, pumpkin, red berries, goji berry, pear and apple are preferable.

3. Reduce coffee and alcohol

It’s even better if you avoid both of them when suffering from any symptoms of heat and dryness. Both have heating and drying properties, weaken the kidney-yang and if consumed regularly promote liver-qi stagnation.

4. Eat regular and at similar times

Eating regularly, and ideally at similar times, is important to calm the nervous system and to keep blood sugar levels balanced. During menopause the body is going through a lot of changes and eating at regular times helps the body in finding balance again.

5.Drink mainly hot water and herbal teas

Hot water strengthens the digestion and helps to rinse away any toxins.

Herbal teas which are especially recommended during menopause are: Monk’s pepper, sage, blackcurreat leaf tea, black cohosh, shepherd’s purse, passionflower herb and dandelion.

6. Avoid spicy herbs

They have a heating and drying effect and esp. chilli, pepper, pimento, dried ginger, curry, horseradish and garlic should be avoided. Fresh ginger, cinnamon, anise and nutmeg can be eaten in moderation but should be avoided when hot flashes or night sweats are present.

7. Avoid drying and / or heating drinks

Keep your hands off these drinks when suffering symptoms of heat or dryness: green and black tea, chai tea, ginger tea, red wine, high percentage alcohol and cacao milk.

8. Avoid grilled, fried and deep-fried foods

These preparation methods have a heating effect and should therefore be avoided. They can heat up the body even more and worsen symptoms like insomnia, irritability, hot flashes and night sweats. It is better to boil, steam and bake food.

9. Avoid foods that have a hot and drying effect 

Besides the above-mentioned spices and drinks, the following foods should be avoided as well: Lamb, game, loaf, mould cheese, sugar and candy.

Stay connected and drop by on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM

Also see my other articles concerning menopause 

Wheat Berry Tea for Better Sleep and Fewer Sweats

Menopause Hot Flashes & Sweating: 6 Natural Ways to Control it

Sleep Problems & Heart Palpitations – How a Change in Diet and Chinese Medicine Can Help

 

How would it feel to free yourself from your symptoms?  Ready to change and invest time and energy to get to the root of your problem? Then book your session now. I am looking forward to meeting you.
Menopause Hot Flashes & Sweating: 6 Natural Ways To Control It

Menopause Hot Flashes & Sweating: 6 Natural Ways To Control It

What is menopause?

In the years before and after the last menstruation, women are in their menopausal years. It indicates the transition from the life phase, in which women can have children, to the phase of life in which no pregnancy is possible.

Menopause usually begins in the mid-40s. The ovaries gradually produce fewer hormones, ovulation is less frequent and consequently, fertility decreases. An indication: the menstrual bleeding is more irregular. The cycles are often shorter at first, later often longer. Finally, the menstrual bleeding ends completely.

The very last menstrual period is called menopause and the timing varies greatly for all women. In some women, the period stops at the age of 45 or earlier. Others do not experience menopause until the mid-50s. Years can go by until the hormonal change is complete.

Menopausal symptoms

There are many women who come through menopause relatively easily and have little or no problems. Menopause is not a disease but a normal life phase. However, because the level of the female sex hormones, progesterone and oestrogen, changes during this time, symptoms can appear such as: sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep disorders, mood swings, restlessness, period cycle changes, and a change in weight may occur. How likely and how strongly women suffer from menopausal symptoms is very different in each case.

What causes hot flashes and sweats during menopause?

The reason for hot flashes and sweating in menopausal women is probably the fall in oestrogen levels. This oestrogen deficiency causes an increase in stress hormones such as adrenaline. It is believed that a sudden increase in such stress hormones can lead to heat attacks and sweats.

Menopause relief for hot flashes and excessive sweating

Many women struggle with recurring hot flashes with strong sweats during menopause. Most of the time, a heat wave suddenly spreads over the face, neck and upper body. The face reddens and it follows a sweat that lasts a few minutes, then it often sets in a chill. Even at night, some women sweat increasingly during menopause. This can disturb the sleep as well. As a result, some women experience psychological and physical discomfort.

Is there a way out? Read on for some natural remedies and lifestyle tips that can help you to get it under control.

Hot flashes and excessive sweating: What you can do

Nutrition

Avoid spicy and deep-fried foods and don’t consume:

  • anise
  • fennel
  • cardamon
  • oatmeal
  • ginger
  • turmeric
  • nutmeg
  • thyme

as they are considered to have warming and heating properties according to Chinese medicine.

Eat more cooling foods like:

  • zucchini
  • spinach
  • eggplant
  • tomat0
  • watermelon
  • radish
  • cabbage
  • cucumber
  • sprouts
  • soy products

Your preferred cooking method should be steamed and boiled in water.

A very efficient way to reduce heat and sweating in the body is eating regularly “Congee”:

Congee – Health benefits and how to make this rice porridge

Coffee and alcohol only in moderation

Caffeine and alcohol can lower the oestrogen level and thus irritate the temperature controller. Anyone who has hot flashes and sweats should, therefore, reduce their coffee and alcohol consumption.

Check my article: Coffee – Is it good or bad for your health?

Herbs and medical plants

There are some herbs which can help to relieve hot flashes and sweating. These include, for example, lycopodium which is rhythm-strengthening, cooling and reduces anxiety and restlessness. Ribes nigrum (black currant) has hormone regulating effects and also helps with other menopausal symptoms. Sage is antiperspirant, cooling and balancing while strengthening the feminine aspect (Yin).

Please note that herbal medications can have interactions with other medications. Therefore, please consult an herbalist.

Breathing exercises

Breathing is vital. The body is nourished with fresh oxygen and carbon dioxide is exhaled from the body. But not only that, your breath also changes depending on your mood: If you are stressed, you breathe rather quickly and flat. If you come to rest, the breath slows down again. Deep and proper breathing is therefore important to reduce stress hormones and promotes good health and well-being.

6 Breathing Exercises to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less

Hot/cold showers

Many menopausal women find relief with alternating shower temperatures between hot and cold. At first, you need to start with a warm shower. Then put cold water on the bottom of the foot and bring the shower up the outer leg and back on the inside. Then repeat on the other side as well as the arms with the same procedure. After warming up with a hot shower, repeat the cold showers twice more. The treatment should end with a cold shower.

The right clothes

When suffering from hot flashes and sweating, the right clothes are important and a sweat proof undershirt can do miracles. Wear two to three thin garments over each other. You can then quickly take off a jacket or sweater during a hot flash and have a pretty women’s undershirts on. If you get cooler, put the other things back on.

How would it feel to free yourself from your symptoms?  Ready to change and invest time and energy to get to the root of your problem? Then book your session now. I am looking forward to meeting you.