Although hormone yoga therapy is a new term, these exercises have long benefited women before and after menopause.
Hormone yoga is the ideal complement to short, intense menopausal fitness exercises.
In this article, find out why, how it balances your hormones, and how to practice a customized hormone yoga flow.
What Is Hormone Yoga Therapy?
Hormone yoga is a therapeutic form of yoga. It focuses on glands and organs influencing hormone production.
Combined with breathing exercises, Tibetan energy guidance, and meditation, these yoga exercises aim to balance hormones.
The term hormone yoga therapy was invented in 1992 by Brazilian philosopher and psychologist Dinah Rodrigues.
However, the exercises used for hormone yoga are not a novelty. They are traditional poses, breathing, and relaxation exercises.
I’ll best explain why hormone yoga is a holistic approach using the hormonal system as an example.
How Does Yoga Affect Hormone Balance?
With the help of the hypothalamus, a control center in the brain, the hormone balance is significantly involved in keeping body functions in a healthy balance.
Hormone yoga focuses on the following glands or organs that secrete hormones:
- Pituitary gland
- Thyroid gland
- Adrenal glands
The pituitary gland in the hypothalamus is essential, especially for menstrual cramps, but it also plays a critical role in menopause symptoms and stress. In particular, it communicates with the ovaries.
Thyroid hormones, on the other hand, regulate blood circulation, metabolism, muscle growth, and bone density (Shahid et al. 20223).
The adrenal glands produce the primary stress hormone, cortisol, which is instrumental in a healthy stress response (Owen et. al 19734).
The bottom line is that we get an effect that helps us cope with the significant challenges of menopause:
- Slow metabolism
- Muscle and bone loss
- Hot flashes
In addition, hormone yoga improves cardiovascular function, reduces stress, and can even help improve sleep quality. This holistic approach is ideal for balancing the effects of modern Western lifestyles.
Is Hormone Yoga Only Good for Menopause?
There are four main reasons for women to practice hormone yoga:
Hormone yoga targets women and their fertility hormones. Although this type of yoga was not made for men, it can still serve them as a mindfulness-based stress reduction method. I even practice some of these hormone yoga exercises daily.
Nevertheless, hormone yoga was invented for menopause. Therefore, hormone yoga is recommended from the age of 35.
Few women know that the initial hormonal changes of menopause begin in their 30s. Thirty-five years is the average age when estrogen and progesterone production starts to drop.
Hormone Yoga Health Benefits
While there are no dedicated studies on hormone yoga, there are countless on yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques.
Although the term hormone yoga is new, the techniques used to achieve it are not. Accordingly, hormone yoga is a sequence of exercises whose health benefits are provable.
The target groups mentioned above best explain the health benefits of hormone yoga.
For menopausal women, yoga has long ceased to be an insider tip. Extensive meta-analyses support this positive effect in post- and perimenopause.
According to these studies, yoga is a safe way to relieve vasomotor, urogenital, and psychological symptoms of menopause, such as depression and sleep disturbances. Participants reported an overall increase in their well-being (Cramer et al. 20185).
Yoga also significantly improves vascular, psychosocial, and physical symptoms of menopause in a brand-new double-blind controlled trial.
According to the researchers, one-year yoga practice is one of the preferred non-hormonal, lifestyle-modifying interventions for improving the quality of life of menopausal women (Swain et al. 20216).
Another study agrees with this conclusion, which states that yoga therapy can reduce hot flashes and night sweats. These researchers go even further, claiming that even short-term yoga practice can reduce psychological and physical risk factors for cardiovascular disease (Vaze et al. 20107).
Accordingly, yoga reduces the age-related risk of muscle and bone loss.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Yoga is more effective than endurance exercise for relieving PMS symptoms (Vaghela et al. 20199).
A yoga program designed explicitly for PMS symptoms significantly improved menstrual pain, physical fitness, and quality of life in non-athletic women (Yonglitthipagon et al. 201711).
Yoga also substantially affects depression symptoms and blood pressure, which is why it is used as a complementary or alternative remedy for PMS patients (Ghaffarilaleh et al. 201912).
The same researchers demonstrated that yoga significantly improved sleep efficiency in 62 women aged 20-45 years with PMS (Ghaffarilaleh et al. 201913).
Yoga interventions were likewise able to reduce menstrual cramps and menstrual distress in female college students with primary dysmenorrhea (Yang et al. 201614).
Yoga and meditation are the main pillars of mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques (MBSR).
And it is the stress hormone cortisol that limits metabolic functions and promotes the accumulation of abdominal fat (Rosmond et al. 199815).
The main idea behind mindfulness-based stress reduction is to live fully in the present moment through conscious, repetitive awareness exercises.
It is a lifestyle change aimed at escaping the millwheels of clock time.
According to studies, Shavasana, the meditative exercise we use in our hormone yoga flow for relaxation, can reverse the effects of stress (Bera et al. 199816).
A recent meta-analysis of 42 studies captured the effects of yoga exercise on physiological measures.
They significantly reduced cortisol levels, blood pressure, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, blood glucose, lipids, and LDL cholesterol (Pascoe et al. 201717).
In addition to releasing stress hormones, regular yoga may improve the body’s immune function, oxidative stress, and antioxidant levels (Lim et al. 201518).
Thus, yoga could also contribute to cancer prevention.
Researchers at the Alberta Cancer Board showed that meditation, yoga, and relaxation exercises benefit breast cancer patients. The poses reduced stress symptoms while improving sleep and quality of life (Carlson et al. 200419).
Yoga is explicitly used for infertile women. Often, yoga practices are done supportively alongside other treatments. They can reduce patient stress and increase the success of treatments (Kirca et al. 201920).
For example, in one study, yoga was able to help overcome infertility by increasing the success rate of assisted reproductive technology (Darbandi et al. 201821).
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is often associated with infertility as well.
A holistic yoga program over 12 weeks was able to help PCOS patients regulate sex and fertility hormones, thereby improving menstrual frequency (Nidhi et al. 201322).
Best Hormone Yoga Poses for Menopause
I’ve been tinkering for days with my friend Julia, a trained yoga teacher, to integrate the best hormone yoga exercises into a coherent sequence for you.
The result is a sequence of yoga poses you can effortlessly perform since they are tailored to each other.
The ideal hormone yoga flow consists of three types of exercises:
We start the hormone yoga flow with deep abdominal breathing, which is essential for the optimal execution of the following yoga exercises.
In turn, the poses are designed to increase in intensity and stretch step by step. In this way, one exercise ideally prepares you for the next.
The hormone yoga poses last about 12 minutes.
For the final relaxation, it is then up to you how much time you want to spend and how deeply you want to relax. It can last 3, 5, or even 10 minutes.
1. Full Yogic Breath (Dirgha Pranayama)
Hormone yoga aims to channel (ayama) energy (prana) to specific glands and organs.
For this reason, Dirgha Pranayama, or three-part breath, forms the basis of our hormone yoga exercises.
- Starting position: Sit cross-legged on the mat and stretch your spine. Begin with long, slow, deep breaths through the nose.
- Lower lungs: Draw air deep into the lower lung, filling the abdomen. Release your belly like a balloon. Keep your breath calm and relaxed without straining it, and repeat the exercise ten times.
- Middle lungs: Repeat the previous step, but stretch the middle chest area by opening the chest out to the sides. Exhale and repeat the step ten times.
- Upper lungs: Now breathe by opening the upper chest as well. Exhale and repeat the step ten times.
- Entire lungs: Combine all three steps and use all three lung chambers (lower, middle, and upper) in a continuous or complete flow. Repeat the breathing ten times.
Since hormone yoga is a holistic practice, your immune system benefits from breathing and poses.
2. Simple Seated Twist (Parivrtta Sukhasana)
If you’re not used to twists, a simple seated twist is a perfect start:
Starting Position: Remain seated cross-legged (spine erect).
- Twist: Twist as you inhale, touching the mat with the fingers of your right hand behind your buttocks and placing your left hand on your right knee.
- Continue: Go deeper into the twist as you exhale, looking over your right shoulder.
- Hold: Hold the position for five breaths.
- Switch: Exhale as you return to the center and repeat for the other side.
The simple twist stretches the neck, chest, shoulders, upper back, and lower back.
This position relieves pain in the neck and upper back and menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, by stimulating estrogen production in the ovaries.
3. Cow / Cat (Bitilasana / Marjaryasana)
The following hormone yoga pose ties in with the simple twist by counteracting poor posture:
- Starting position: Get on all fours (knees hip-width, hands under shoulders).
- Cow: Inhale, lower the belly, and lift the head and tailbone.
- Cat: Exhale, lift mid-back while drawing chin to chest and lowering tailbone.
- Repeat: Do the exercises four more times, then return to a neutral spine.
Cat-Cow stretches the back, shoulders, abdominal muscles, and hip flexors while improving spinal mobility.
This position relieves menstrual cramps, stimulates the thyroid gland, and thus can improve metabolism and prevent osteoporosis.
4. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward-facing dog is one of the best yoga poses for transition, not only in our hormone yoga flow:
- Starting position: stay on all fours (knees hip-width, hands under shoulders).
- Lift: Tighten your abs and toes as you lift your core off the mat. Only hands and feet remain on the yoga mat.
- Stretch: Extend your arms, gently moving your chest to your thighs and your heels to the floor. It’s okay if you bend your knees or your heels don’t come down.
- Hold: Remain in the position for ten breaths.
Downward-facing dog stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and arches of the feet and hands while strengthening the arms and legs.
This position relieves stress, headaches, insomnia, back pain, fatigue, osteoporosis and other menopausal symptoms, and flat feet and sciatica.
5. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Low lunge enhances the sense of balance and can be done directly from the downward-facing dog:
- Starting position: Downward-facing dog.
- Lunge: Place the right foot forward between your hands as you exhale.
- Stretch: Lower your left knee to the floor and push your foot back to feel a comfortable stretch in your hip and thigh.
- Raise arms: As you inhale, tighten the abdomen, lift the chest away from the thigh, and bring the arms up next to the ears. Gently bend the upper body backward.
- Lower arms: As you exhale, lower the arms and return to downward dog.
- Switch: Repeat the exercise with the left foot.
The low lunge stretches the thighs, hamstrings, groin, and hips and increases abdominal flexibility.
The position relieves low sexual desire by improving blood flow to the abdomen. It also stimulates the thyroid gland, preventing osteoporosis and boosting metabolism.
6. Yogi Squat (Malasana)
In our hormonal yoga sequence for menopause, the pose of youth or garland should not be missing at all:
- Starting position: Get into a squat by positioning your pelvis between your feet, which you leave on the mat.
- Press: Push your hands firmly together, as if in prayer, and your elbows against the inside of your thighs.
- Hold: Remain in the position for ten breaths.
The yogi squat stretches the torso’s ankles, groin, and back while toning the abdomen.
The deep squat relieves menstrual, menopause symptoms, and infertility by promoting blood flow to the abdomen, especially the uterus.
7. Head to Knee (Janu Sirsasana)
This popular yoga pose stimulates digestion and improves sleep quality:
- Starting position: begin seated in pole pose (legs straight out, spine long).
- Bend knee: Bend your left knee and bring the sole of your left foot to the inside of your left thigh (edge of foot on floor, heel in front of groin). The right leg remains extended.
- Bend over: Stretch the arms upward next to the ears with the inhale (fingertips toward the ceiling). Maintain length along the spine and bend forward over the extended leg as you exhale. Touch your hands to your right calf or foot.
- Approach: With each exhale, bring your head closer to your knee, step by step, until it touches it. Avoid rounding your spine as you do this. If you don’t get your head to your knee first, that’s okay.
- Hold: Remain in the position for ten breaths.
- Switch: Repeat the exercise with the other foot.
The head-to-the-knee posture stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings, and groin.
This position relieves fatigue, headaches, anxiety, depression, and other menopausal symptoms.
8. Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
This bridge pose has the function of bringing body and mind together. It stimulates the thyroid gland and lymph nodes, which, among other things, promotes detoxification:
- Starting position: Lie comfortably on your back with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your thighs parallel to each other to protect your knee joints.
- Lift: Raise your buttocks and clasp your palms behind your back, shifting your weight to your feet and shoulders. Imagine your heels on the mat pulling toward your shoulders.
- Hold: Remain in the position for ten breaths. Then, as you exhale, slowly roll your spine back onto the mat.
The shoulder bridge stretches the chest, neck, and spine.
This position relieves stress, anxiety, fatigue, back pain, headaches, menstrual cramps, insomnia, osteoporosis, and other menopausal symptoms.
9. Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
Due to its many benefits for organs and glands, the shoulder stand is considered the queen of yoga postures:
- Starting position: Remain with your back on the mat (arms at your sides).
- Lift: As you exhale, press your upper arms into the floor and pull your legs toward your chest. Support your lower back with your hands. Keep the upper arms on the floor. Continue lifting the pelvis and back until they are directly above the shoulders and the spine is perpendicular to the floor. Ensure the weight is on the shoulders and upper arms, not the neck.
- Stretch: While inhaling, stretch the knees through. Keep your legs together and actively raise them, extending the balls of your feet and tailbone toward the ceiling.
- Hold: Remain in this position for ten breaths.
- Roll: Bend your knees as you exhale and remove your supporting arms as you roll onto the mat, vertebra by vertebra.
The shoulder stand stretches the shoulders and neck while toning the legs and buttocks.
This position relieves stress, fatigue, insomnia, depression, osteoporosis, and other menopausal symptoms.
10. Corpse (Shavasana)
No hormonal yoga flow is complete without a final meditative relaxation:
- Starting position: Remain lying your back (arms slightly away from your torso, palms facing up).
- Breath: Let your breathing flow naturally. If your mind wanders, you can bring attention to the breath.
- Hold: Remain in this meditative final pose for five minutes.
The corpse pose relieves stress and high blood pressure.
It is one of the few hormonal yoga exercises to which studies have been devoted. They support that Shavasana helps to successfully reduce the physiological effects of stress (Sharma et al. 200723).
A clinical study found that Shavasana is a natural alternative to antihypertensive drugs without sharing their side effects (Datey et al. 196924).
Although hormone yoga has an intimidating name, it has nothing to do with potentially dangerous hormone therapy.
Researchers suggest healthcare providers prescribe such lifestyle interventions first because they are safer than hormonal treatments (Lugo et al. 202225).
Moreover, hormone yoga uses exercises women have successfully practiced for hundreds of years. Only the term hormone yoga is new.
Hormone yoga combines poses, breathing, meditation, and energy direction to stimulate glands and organs that regulate hormone balance. Women suffering from psychological stress, infertility, PMS, or menopause symptoms can benefit.
To learn how to regulate your hormonal system naturally without effort with my Menopause Diet Plan.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the best yoga for menopause?
Hormone yoga therapy is best for menopause.
Which yoga is best for hormonal imbalance?
Hormone yoga is best for hormonal imbalances.
How can I fix my menopause hormones naturally?
You can regulate menopausal hormonal imbalance naturally with intermittent fasting, a ketogenic diet, and yoga.
Which Pranayama is good for menopause?
We use Dirgha Pranayama (Full Yogic Breath) in our hormone yoga flow tailored for menopause.
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Stephan is a writer and a true man of science, holding multiple diplomas and master's degrees in different research areas. His greatest passion is closing the gap between the conventional perception of health and the latest scientific evidence – always following the data.