Hi, I am Stef, founder of Tribe45 and I would like to start a conversation about hormonal changes through perimenopause/menopause and andropause and how HYT can help you through this process.
Prior to talking about HYT we should have a look at our endocrine system and our hormonal changes during perimenopause/menopause and andropause.
If you want to know why I am writing about this topic, please about me and my path to HYT on the webpage.
As I’m not planning on writing a dissertation about this topic, I will only scratch on the surface and not go too much into detail, leaving out content that is not relevant to my article today! Please forgive me. If you are interested in reading and learning yourself, I am sharing my references on the bottom of the post. Thanks!
Let’s dive right into it.
Up to now about 150 different hormones have been discovered in our bodies but it is estimated that there are more than a thousand! The first hormone ever isolated was adrenaline in 1895.
Our hormones are primarily produced in six large hormonal glands:
- Pituitary Gland
- Adrenal Gland
- Gonads (male and female sex glands)
Smaller quantities are produced in the body tissues, like fatty tissue, blood and intestine!
The Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland release hormones to regulate other glands. Those hormones stimulate the hormone production in the Thyroid, Adrenal and Gonads.
The Thyroid produces T3 and T3, hormones that convert food into energy and thereby boost our metabolism.
The Pancreas is responsible for the production of Insulin and Glucagon.
The Adrenal Glands produce cortisol, the two-neurotransmitter adrenaline and noradrenaline as well as the androgens – including testosterone (in both men and women).
The ovaries produce estrogens and progesterone and are THE female hormones as they let our breasts grow and hips round during puberty, control menstruation and enable us to get pregnant. They also look after our skin and hair and our emotional balance. The testes produce androgens (testosterone) and estradiol (one of the estrogens).
Hormones conduct our life, they dictate our daily rhythm, support muscle and bone growth, stabilise our immune system and menstrual cycle, keep the brain working, trigger our digestion and blood circulation, manage our appetite and core body temperature and look after our mood and feelings. A pretty long list and heaps of responsibilities.
Therefore, it is important to keep our hormones happy and in balance to be and feel well and to avoid hormonal imbalances and changes to our mental and bodily function.
But here’s the catch – those changes come naturally in form of perimenopause, menopause and andropause.
We talk about perimenopause when women experience first hormonal changes (from the age of 35 – in some cases even earlier –) when progesterone levels start declining and the periods starts not being as regular as they used to. In the next phase estrogen levels start dropping and the gaps between periods get longer and longer to the point of stopping completely. When we go about one year without period we talk about menopause.
Be aware that a premature menopause can caused by severe overweight, competitive sports, emotional shock and alcohol abuse & smoking!
During this period of about 1/3 of women experience strong changes to their body and mind. We talk about hot flushes, sleep difficulties, brain fog, a very short fuse and being impatient, low sex drive and energy levels and mood swings and depression to mention only some of the many symptoms.
When we talk andropause we talk about the decrease of testosterone in the male body which generally start around the age of 50. About 1/3 of all men experience similar symptoms like women do, including low energy levels, mood swings & depression and low sex drive including erectile dysfunction.
How can we help our body and mind to support us during this period?
There are various ways regulate hormonal imbalances – which I will investigate in another blog post
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Natural herbs and vitamins
- Nutrition and gut health
- Weight regulation
Exercising is one of the best cures during this turbulent period of our lives. A moderate mix of exercise, endurance and strength will have a tremendous impact on our bodily and mental wellbeing.
I know most of you know the many benefits of sports and movement, but I will list some anyway as a reminder and motivator for you.
- Exercise releases happiness hormones and support our mood and makes us feel more balanced.
- Exercise can regulate our appetite
- Exercise delays aging processes
- Exercise improves concentration, memory and thinking
- Exercise lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, regulates blood sugar levels, helps preventing arteriosclerosis and strokes and protects against diabetes
- Exercise burns calories and has a slimming effect.
- Exercise helps maintaining bone density and prevent osteoporosis
We could go on and on, but I hope this list motivates you to put on your trainers after reading this post and have a walk or unroll your mat and do some strength exercises or yoga, maybe even taking up hormone yoga.
Hormone yoga therapy (HYT) was developed by the Brazilian Dr of Psychology and yoga teacher Dinah Rodrigues nearly 30 years ago. HYT is a mix of traditional Hatha and Kundalini yoga, Tibetan energising techniques and powerful breathing exercises.
She developed this sequence specifically to activate the pituitary gland, thyroids and gonads. In HYT practice the strong breath is used to massage and increase the blood flow to the pelvic area which makes it quite different to other styles of yoga. But like all other classical yoga styles HYT is targeting stress reduction and relaxation, as increased stress levels influence the hormone production. Relaxation also helps prevent hormonal fluctuations during perimenopause. The practise consists of
- Yoga postures combined with the strong breath and concentration exercise
- Relaxation with visualisation
- Additional calming breath and anti-stress work.
HYT can be practises at any length – Dr Dinah Rodrigues recommends 3-4 times per week for min 30 minutes in order to achieve results. Which is quite achievable.
As it is a very strong practise there are some contraindications for participating in HYT
- During menstruation you shouldn’t practise the strong breath and avoid some of the dynamic movements
- In cases where estrogen levels should not be increased further
- Severe endometrioses
- Estrogen induced breast cancer
- Any other form of cancer
- After surgery – only after an all clear from your surgeon
- During pregnancy
- In case of acute psychosis
- In case of any other hormone related disease – please consult with your GP prior
Don’t forget, even if you find yourself in this list, you can still practise a regular yoga class like Hatha or Yin Yoga for your wellbeing!!!
In case I have woken your interest in HYT, please feel free to contact me at any time and we can have a chat about the practise or upcoming events if you would like to have a go at it (and residing in Perth’s Northern suburbs). I hope you enjoyed my blog and I am looking forward to feedback and comments so we can start talking openly about perimenopause/menopause and andropause.
Until next time – stay balanced
Here the links to my sources
Our hormones our health, how to understand your hormones and transform your life, by Dr Susanne Esche-Belke & Dr Suzann Kirschner/Brouns, published 2021 by Scribe Pubications, London/UK
Hormon Yoga, by Dinah Rodrigues, first published in 2003, 22. German edition, published 2020 by Schirner Verlag, Darmstadt/Germany