Yoga for Hormonal Balance: Supporting women through life’s seasons
As women, our bodies go through so many seasons in life. From puberty to menopause, our
hormones are constantly fluctuating, which impacts on, well - pretty much everything. Yoga
can be such a powerful tool to support hormonal balance and overall wellbeing, helping us
to navigate these transitions with greater ease and grace.
Yoga for puberty
We sometimes forget what a roller-coaster puberty is – perhaps only reminded when our
own teenage girls arrive at this milestone. It’s a big time (to put it mildly) full of great
physical and emotional shifts that often come with challenges like anxiety, acne, irregular
periods, and mood swings (oh boy, the mood swings!). Yoga is a beautiful practice for
managing these changes, as it helps to support the hormones through balancing the
endocrine system, which can reduce the severity of symptoms. Yoga can also help to build
confidence and develop healthy coping mechanisms. There’s nothing quite like the elation
of exploring your body’s limits in a safe and supportive environment.
Poses for puberty
- Downward-Facing Dog – Helps to stimulate the pituitary gland, which plays a critical
role in hormonal regulation during puberty.
- Bridge Pose – Helps to stimulate the thyroid gland, which is important for hormonal
- L Shaped Handstand against the wall – Builds strength and confidence, which are
important during the transition to adulthood.
Yoga for fertility
Fertility and the journey to conception is still a little taboo in our culture. As a result, women
trying to conceive may experience feelings of isolation and anxiety. So, while this particular
period of life may not involve huge hormonal shifts (aside from the overwhelming biological
urge to procreate!), it can still be an emotional rollercoaster. Yoga can help you navigate the
journey, as well as relieve stress and improve the health of the reproductive organs.
Poses for fertility
- Bound Angle Pose – Can help to stimulate the reproductive organs and improve
blood flow to the pelvic are.
- Cobra Pose – Helps to stimulate the ovaries and regulate menstrual cycles. It also
helps to strengthen the pelvic muscles, which can be helpful during pregnancy and
- Legs up the Wall Pose – Can improve blood flow to the pelvic region, which can be
beneficial for fertility. It also helps to relieve stress and fatigue, which can be helpful
when you’re trying to conceive.
Yoga for prenatal
Pregnancy is an exciting, transformative time in a woman’s life. However, it also often
comes with challenges – like hormonal fluctuations and physical discomfort. Prenatal yoga
can be a beautifully supportive practice during this time of life as it helps to reduce stress
and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and prepare your body for childbirth (not to mention
everything that comes after that).
- Mountain Pose – Can help to improve posture and strengthen the back muscles,
which is very useful when carrying a baby bump.
- Cat-Cow Pose – Great for stretching and releasing tension in the back, which can be
a common area of discomfort during pregnancy.
- Sleeping Swan/Modified Pigeon – Stretches the hips and relieves tension in the
lower back. This pose can also help to prepare the body for childbirth by stretching
the muscles that will be used during delivery.
Yoga for postnatal
After giving birth, women experience huge hormonal changes – and postnatal yoga can help
support the body’s recovery and promote hormonal balance. Hormones such as oxytocin,
prolactin, and estrogen play a crucial role in breastfeeding and bonding with your baby, so
balancing out your hormones will make a huge difference in how you experience this season
of life. In addition to strengthening the pelvic floor and core muscles, yoga can help manage
stress and depression, and help new mothers connect with their bodies and babies,
promoting emotional wellbeing and bonding.
- Seated Forward Bend – Great for stretching the back, hips, and hamstrings. It can
also help to relieve tension in the neck and shoulders, which can be helpful for new
mamas who are constantly carrying their babies around.
- Sphinx Pose – Helps to strengthen the back muscles, which may become weakened
during pregnancy and childbirth.
- Happy Baby Pose – Can help stretch the hips and lower back. It also relieves tension
in the legs and is a great pose for relaxation and stress relief.
Yoga for Perimenopause
Perimenopause, the transitional phase that leads up to menopause, is often overlooked –
but it can be a challenging time for many women. As hormones begin to shift, you may
experience irregular periods, hot flashes, mood swings, and more. Yoga can be particularly
helpful for hormonal balance during this time, helping to alleviate symptoms.
Poses for Perimenopause
- Goddess Pose – Great for balancing hormones. It works to strengthen the pelvic
flood muscles, improving circulation to the pelvic region and stimulating the ovaries
– which can regulate hormones and soften perimenopausal symptoms.
- Camel Pose – Can balance the hormones and improve energy levels. In this pose, the
thyroid gland is stimulated, helping to regulate metabolism. It can also open up the
chest and lungs, improving breathing and reducing anxiety.
- Supported Headstand – The King of asana! A beautiful pose for improving circulation
and stimulating the endocrine system. It also helps increase blood flow to the head,
which can stimulate the pituitary gland and regulate hormones. It’s also a great pose
for improving mood.
Yoga for Menopause
Menopause is a significant phase of life that brings with it a new set of challenges. As
estrogen levels decline, women can experience a range of symptoms – from hot flashes to
night sweats and everything in between. Yoga can significantly help reduce symptoms and
the associated stress. This tends to also be a time in life where you may find yourself with a
little more time on your hands. Attending classes at a yoga studio and immersing yourself in
a yoga community is a beautiful gift to yourself at this time of life, as it allows you to
connect with like-minded friends who may be experiencing similar challenges.
Practices for menopause
- Sphinx Pose – Great for improving mood and reducing feelings of depression during
menopause. This pose also helps to stimulate the sacral chakra – which is associated
with emotions and creativity. It can also improve circulation of the reproductive
organs, which can regulate hormones.
- Bound Angle Pose – Helps to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and reduce cortisol
levels. It also helps to stimulate and improve circulation in the pelvic region.
- Warrior II Pose – Works to strengthen the legs and hips, improving circulation,
stimulating the ovaries, and reducing symptoms of menopause.
Of course, many of these poses are helpful for a number of different life seasons (you will
likely find that poses for puberty are also helpful for menopause, and poses for prenatal are
helpful during any physically or emotionally challenging period of life!). And remember – the
poses are only one element of yoga – meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises can
also be hugely beneficial in relieving stress and balancing hormones. No matter which
season of life you’re in, yoga can help support you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. By
enjoying a regular yoga practice, you can navigate the many seasons and transitions of life
with greater ease. You never know – you might even enjoy them!