- Do you jump when the phone ring?
- Do you feel anxiety, stress or worry for no particular reason?
- Do you have depression?
- Constant weight gain and finding difficulty in weight loss?
- Do you experience any of the following symptoms associated with your menstrual cycle; headaches, mood swing, acne,bloating, constipation,heavy or scanty bleeding, painful cramping,irregular periods,pain at ovulation,or bleeding between the cycles?
- Coldness in the body, especially feet and hands.
- Demotivated and a sense of hopelessness.
- Lethargy and excessive tiredness.
- Night sweats and difficulty sleeping.
- Do you have hot flashes,insomnia,heart palpitations,accelerated heartbeat,thyroid trouble of any kind, low immunity,infertility,heart disease,osteoporosis,cancer, diabetes,adrenal burnout,or endocrine disorders?
- Do you use synthetic hormone therapy of any kind?
If your answer is yes,it is likely your hormonal balance is affected.
YIN ,YANG AND HORMONE
Basically, hormones can be separated into two easy to understand categories which in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is called Yin(sex hormone) and Yang(Stress hormone) and Santarpana or Brmhana and Apatarpana or Langhana in Aryuveda.
Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine both hold that the two fundamental(and opposing)principles that invigorate and nourish life is: Yin and Yang. Yang is the energizing,activating,and motivating principle of life. Yin is the nourishing and building principle.
Having the right balance of these hormones gives us plenty of energy,deeper sleep,healthier menstrual cycle,easier menopause,healthier heart,stronger bones and much much more.
Balancing our hormones is crucial to regaining full health. Hormones are pervasive,they enter the cells of every tissue in our bodies and brains,and affect both physical and mental well being. Whereas some hormones( like stress hormones ) kick our bodies and mind into high gear,others (such as dominant sex hormones ,estrogen and progesterone) lead us to calm our minds ,and slow down so our bodies can replace depleted energy.
Stress and sex hormones exert opposing influences ,yet their ever changing relationship serves to maintain equilibrium in the body and balance the mind.
Duality is found everywhere in nature. For example, although sunlight and water have opposing properties (one heats and the other cools),together they provide the essential elements for plant growth.They are a relationship of duality. The sun provides the plant with warmth and the energy needed for photosynthesis ,the process by which the plant receives nourishment. Water cools the plant and is one of the essential building blocks for photosynthesis.The plant needs both these opposing elements to thrive.
Need to understand duality so we can grasp how stress hormones(yang) and sex hormones(yin),despite representing opposing energies,support and interact with each other to keep us healthy and whole. They continuously interact in a dance that creates and sustain life. When we have a good balance of yin and yang ,we feel healthy.
Consider the temperature of the human body.Ideally ,it is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The opposite forces of cooling(yin) and warming (yang) work together to maintain this temperature,
The easiest way to learn yin and yang is to consider some example. In daily life, driving the car,making deals,playing sports,multitasking, drinking coffee and eating spicy food are all predominantly yang activities. Sleeping ,meditating,getting massage ,and eating oatmeal all support yin.
Yang is considered male energy,yin is considered female. Yang is hot ,bright fast ,mobile ,dry ,energetic and aggressive, Yin is cool,dark,slow,soft,substantial,stable,moist and tranquil.Yang is daytime,Yin is night.
Yang is energetic. It’s responsible for motivation,metabolism,transformation,and other active functions in the body and mind. It is considered a “reducing “ principle in Ayurveda because being active reduces,or uses up,bodily reserves. Yang motivates and stimulates our minds. Yin is the nourishing principle that manifests as the substance of the body and calms the mind.
Every human being has a life force or vital energy. It remains in the body as long as there is life and leaves at the time of death. This life force is called qi in TCM(traditional Chinese medicine) and Prana in Ayurveda and is a manifestation of yang.
When your qi energy is appropriately balanced between yin and yang and is flowing smoothly this leads to good physical and emotional health. However, if your qi moves out of balance to either the yin or yang extremes this leads to ill-health…”David James
Yang transforms and organizes yin into biologically useful substances such as blood or bones. It also moves whatever we don’t need out of our bodies in the form of waste. Yang qualities not only provide energy for metabolic processes,but for clarity of mind and happiness, too. Yang energy can even transform information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. It can determine whether we “digest” the experience into something useful or whether we become resentful ,bitter or depressed,unable to mentally digest what we experienced.
Without enough yang,our body’s garbage disposal system may go askew. We can also have too much yang,which leads to excessively fast,hard,hot or aggressive energy . When that happens ,we might get migraines or ulcers,or feel manic,restless ,or angry.
We can also experience yin in healthy or unhealthy ways. If we have the optimal amount of yin,for example,we feel fulfilled,nourished,and content physically,emotionally,and spiritually. Menstrual flow is appropriate and sleep is sound and replenishing. If we have an excess of yin,we feel bloated,heavy,overweight,lethargic,stuffed up.
This is nature’s way of ensuring that there are always opposing forces present and available to maintain or regain equilibrium. Engaging in motivating and activating activities will generally increase yang,whereas engaging in nourishing and nurturing activities will generally increase yin.
Living a life that has a good balance between yin and yang- that is between nourishment and activity-leads to balanced hormone levels. We can support good quality yang by doing appropriate exercise,taking time to inspire ourselves daily,and engaging in mentally stimulating activities. Indulging in a stressful,overly ambitious frantically busy life fosters poor quality yang.
We can nourish good quality yin by ensuring that our diets consists of healthy food, taking time every day to enjoy solitude and quiet contemplative time, and engaging in loving relationships. We promote poor quality yin if we indulge in lethargy or inactivity and eat poor quality food such as junk food,fast food ,fast food or highly processed or refined food.
In Ayurveda ,a healthy ,low stress lifestyle means having a daily routine that includes such elements as getting appropriate regular exercise and sufficient sleep,meditating or having some other nourishing spiritual practice ,and during self- massage and special breathing exercises.
HOW TO RESTORE HORMONAL BALANCE:
Follow the three pillars of health for the hormonal balance – Appropriate diet, Lifestyle(including exercises) and Stress management.
He that takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skill of the physicianChinese proverb
- Pay attention to how different foods make you feel. After you eat do you feel tired? Energized? Heavy? Inspired? Depressed? Cold? Hot? This is the first step in learning how various foods affect your hormone.
- Be aware of quality and quantity of food. “One man’s meat is another’s man poison”.Eating too much or too little can cause imbalance and have a negative impact on digestion just as too much fuel can smother a campfire and too little will not allow the fire to thrive . General idea is we should eat only when we are hungry and eat in calm mood and environment. If we can’t digest what we are eating ,even if it is the organically sprouted and juiced nectar of the god,then it is considered poison for us.
- Eat predominantly plant based diet.
- Don’t drink too much of water during a meal. Moderate sipping of room temperature water during a meal is okay. Water,especially cold water, has yin properties and will smother the digestive fire if you drink too much when your digestive fire needs to be active.
- Don’t get indulge in emotional eating.If we eat without being hungry or overeat when we are ,it is likely that food will be poorly digested and Ama (toxin) will result. Too much of eating is taxing on the digestive fire. Just as fire requires oxygen to burn ,so our digestive fires require a little space.
- Ayurveda says that it is desirable to have a good appetite because that means our digestive fire is strong enough to transform what we eat into the energy and refined biological substances that our body needs to maintain health. Poor appetite indicates low digestive fire,which means that when we do eat, our food will not be well digested and will become Ama and excess ,poor quality fat. If you feel that you never have a good appetite,increasing exercise may help . Exercising first thing in the morning until you warm up ,then bath and resting a bit helps build a true appetite.
- Avoid stimulating food and drinks that contain sugar, alcohol, or caffeine.
- Avoid excessive amounts of cold or raw food (e.g raw salads or vegetables) and cold drinks. Switch to lightly cooked/steamed foods and warming drinks. Eat whole foods.
- Consume healthy fats,probiotic and prebiotic foods,fermented foods and adaptogenic herbs.
- Eat smaller meals more often than a large meal.
Life style changes:
- Moving and harmonizing Qi is powerful medicine. To balance hormone ,it is beneficial to get out of a rut and calm down our nervous system.Calm your spirit. If the spirit is disturbed,Qi(Prana) will become disturbed. If the spirit stagnates,so will Qi. If the spirit is scattered ,Qi will scatter and become weak.
- Wake as early as you can(predawn ideal) and meditate ,engage in quiet contemplation,or read inspirational material. Do prayer,or gentle breathing exercises.In any case whatever you do should quiet the mind.
- Exercise for 20-30 mins.This can be a combination of brisk walking, gentle stretching or yoga,tai chi,hiking or biking,depending on your energy and stamina. Do pranayama for 15-20 mins. It encourages the free flow of Prana(Qi) in the body.Excessive or strenuous exercise is not recommended for either a yin or yang .
- One good way of building more of yin is to nap. Occasionally, napping carried a 12 percent lower mortality rate. Eastern medicine would suggest that napping may not be appropriate for a heavy ,sedentary individual but may do wonders for thin ,driven type.
- If you won’t have time to cook later in the day,cook in the morning for the rest of the day. Try to avoid keeping hot food or liquids in plastic containers. If you keep food in plastic containers ,just make sure it is cool before you put it in them.
- Have a breakfast ,lunch ,and dinner at the same times every day.
- Do Intermittent fasting(calorie restriction).According to an article published by Harvard Medical School, intermittent fasting is a solution to hormonal imbalances: “Between meals, as long as we don’t snack, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy.
- Remember to breathe deeply throughout the day.
- Slow down in general. Stop multitasking.It dissipates energy.
- Keep good company. Good company makes a man great. Spending time with loving people who have healthy habits supports our own healthy habits.
- Watch less than ten hours of TV a week.
- Get high quality sleep. Spend the evening quieting the mind and body, in preparation for bed.Avoid too much of light at night.
- Retire at the same time each evening.Create a calming, well-ventilated bedroom environment.
- Avoid heavy foods or drinks or any heavy activities before bedtime.
- Do ABHYANGA( a form of self massage) .Apply warm oil to your body. This can take as little as 2-3 mins. This has an incredibly calming effect on the nervous system. Having a less trigger happy nervous system means less stress and more balanced hormones.
- Vagal toning by deep breathing and meditation. By stimulating the vagus nerve you can activate parasympathetic nervous system and send a message to your body to relax and de-stress.
- Yoga and mantra chanting has deep impact on hormone balance.
- Cold bath and splashing cold water on face is quite helpful in stress. Our ancient yogis bathed in cold water to increase prana(vital force energy)in body.
- Go for a meditative walk/ forest bathing,do gardening,listen music, pursue your hobbies….
- Get involve in creativity,socialize with family and friends,keep sense of humor, say NO more often,unplug from the technology.
- Go for PANCHAKARMA once in a year
- Get in touch with your feelings and take time to listen to your body and emotions.
If a woman is well nourished,well rested,engages in appropriate exercise,and has balanced emotions,chances are that her hormones are balanced.
The body heals itself,if we create the right conditions for it.