Yoga For Women’s Health
Yoga has the potential to support and nourish the body’s natural rhythms and can positively enhance the innate cycles of a woman’s life. When a woman can maintain a balanced and healthy reproductive system, it leads to greater vitality and sense of wellbeing.
Given the pace and intensity we live our life today, we are often disrupting our natural biorhythms. By reconnecting with our body, mind and spirit, we can learn to nourish ourselves and manage the challenges of modern-life stressors.
So in what ways can yoga improve the quality of a woman’s life?
1. Yoga reduces stress.
Stress is one of the major hormone disruptors, so keeping your stress levels in check is the foundation for optimal functioning of your body systems. We experience stress both from external and internal factors. Stress affects our endocrine system in a negative way because many of the glands are using the same building blocks to produce hormones. When one gland is overstimulated, it negatively affects other glands in doing their job.
Cortisol, the main stress hormone in the body, has a very important purpose in our survival. When faced with a threat, our adrenals send out cortisol to give us extra strength to either fight or flee. Once the threat has passed, our body will shift into a restorative mode in which the parasympathetic nervous system takes over again if our stress response system is functioning well. However, this doesn’t happen when we’re under chronic stress. Rather, it becomes a loop of continual release of all of the stress hormones which inhibits the production of our sex hormones.
Yoga pranayama and meditation are beneficial in a way that they can shift the nervous system from a sympathetic fight-or-flight mode into a restorative parasympathetic response which nourishes the adrenal glands and allows us to enter a state of relaxation.
2. Yoga strengthens the nervous system.
“A strong central nervous system is a balanced one.”
Yoga helps us to strengthen the nervous system by improving our stress resilience. Our central nervous system is divided into two parts: the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS).
The SNS activates what we call our fight or flight response and is what drives us through our day-to-day tasks. The PSNS, on the other hand, is the part of the central nervous system that controls and regulates our autonomic functions such as breathing, heart rate, metabolism and homeostasis. When our PSNS is activated, blood is directed to our digestive organs, endocrine glands, and lymphatic system.
What’s interesting is that our breath is the only part of the autonomic nervous system that we CAN control and this is the reason why pranayama breathing exercises are so effective in strengthening our nervous system!
Research has shown that regular practice of pranayama elevates levels of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) and regulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis due to its amazing ability to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. This, in turn, contributes to better hormonal balance and sense of well-being.
3. Yoga improves circulation and regulation of the endocrine glands.
Circulation is super important for our reproductive organs to function properly, particularly in supplying the glands and organs with nutrients and oxygen-rich blood. If we look at the way the chakra system and the endocrine system are built, we see they’re very much alike.
So as we work through the chakras in yoga, we’re also stimulating, freeing and regulating the function of the endocrine glands responsible for our hormone production.
Reproductive conditions like PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, heavy bleeding, mid-cycle cramps, pelvic congestion, PMDD, and even PMS are caused by an imbalance of hormone production, low hormone metabolism, and stagnation of hormones and waste products.
By improving blood flow and circulation to the pelvic area, we stimulate the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes for optimum health and function. Yoga encourages a better flow of hormones, promotes drainage of fluids and toxins, and creates a better environment for healing.
4. Yoga enhances detoxification.
The human body has its own detoxification systems and is designed to work without any external support. Due to us being overexposed to toxins from our environment, however, our detoxification systems sometimes get compromised and need support to run more efficiently.
Our lymphatic system is a part of this system which allows toxins, hormones and waste products to be transported and metabolised. If the lymph becomes stagnant, toxins accumulate and the flow of hormones is affected. As the pelvic region is highly concentrated in lymph tissue, making sure that we have a good flow circulating to and from the pelvis is imperative.
A well-balanced yoga practice that allows us to stretch, twist, expand and contract can help in the detoxifying process. Practices such as sun salutations and hip openers are great for women as it stimulates circulation, improves lymphatic flow and boosts respiratory function.
5. Yoga improves the heart-womb connection.
Many practitioners believe that any kind of illness or disease arises from imbalances and lack of energy. If we can increase the awareness and energy and also find balance within our energetic body, we will enhance the healing and balancing process.
The womb and heart are the two key feminine energy centres within our psychic anatomy. When energy is blocked in one or both of these chakras, it can affect our ability to restore balance. Creating a better flow of energy between our womb and heart can be a helpful healing tool for a wide range of reproductive issues.
By bringing more awareness, breath, and energy to these centres, we can release these blockages, open up and feel more in tune with our emotions and intuition.
6. Yoga improves self-awareness.
Finally, yoga allows us to look within and become more comfortable with our internal state. As a result, we understand ourselves better without judgment.
Self-awareness is not only about understanding ourselves; it also entails how we monitor our internal world, our behaviour and values, and that we are meeting ourselves with an open heart.
Unfortunately, most of the time we are simply “not there” to observe ourselves or pay attention to what goes on inside us and the surrounding world. This why cultivating practices like yoga, pranayama and meditation or any kind of mindfulness exercises is so important for us to become more self-aware and compassionate towards ourselves. Only then will we be able to lead our life with an open mind and heart.
Yoga can be a wonderful complement for a woman to restore balance in her life while improving strength and vitality.
The Women’s Health sequence brings awareness to all parts of our body to help restore equilibrium as it works on the endocrine glands to enhance hormonal balance. Attention is brought to the area around the pelvis to improve the flow of hormones, blood circulation, and detoxification. It’s not only a balanced sequence to improve strength and flexibility; it also helps to calm the mind and relax the nervous system.
I also strongly suggest taking our online women's health assessment. The comprehensive assessment will allow you to start to better understand your body and how hormones may be influencing your symptoms. We will send you a personalised report to allow you to start to take back control of your hormonal health.