by Annette Young
You may not hear them, but your adrenal glands could be shouting out a serious health warning to you. They have an important function after all, responsible for controlling and regulating the stress hormone cortisol. But that’s not all; they also produce oestrogen, progesterone and produce neurotransmitters that include adrenaline. These hormones regulate your metabolism and also communicate with key organs in your body including your brain, reproductive system and your kidneys too. Stress left unchecked, can and will impact the effectiveness of your adrenal glands; call them a first line defence for your health and well-being. Stress impacts your immune system too and this all equates to the effectiveness of your adrenal glands being substantially reduced and that’s bad news for you.
You may think you have stress under control but do you really? Are you guilty of living life on the edge or just burying your head in the sand when it comes to the problems that occur? Stress and poor lifestyle choices include:
Demanding work schedule
Lack of sleep
Too much caffeine
Increased and unmanaged levels of stress can create all sorts of health problems including intense fatigue and an inability to fight off bugs with a weakened immune system. But the symptoms of adrenal fatigue in themselves can be intense:
- Dry skin
- Thyroid problems
- Low blood pressure
- Poor circulation
- Reduced sex drive
- Weight gain
First Steps to Recovery
If this sounds all too similar, it’s time to make changes and address the problems. Your health is too important to ignore the warning signs of adrenal fatigue. But don’t forget, your adrenal glands are not the cause of the symptoms; they are just shouting loudly to make you realise you need to address the underlying problems. This means discovering the stress triggers and trying to reduce them. All too often we try to side-step these issues instead of facing them head-on. There may be some stressors which are impossible to alleviate but it is possible to lesson stress by making positive changes, even small alterations that help your body to fight back. Of course, stress affects everyone differently so do take an intuitive approach to stress management.
Yoga and Adrenal Health
Because your adrenal glands release cortisol as a direct response to any impending crisis, this, in the short term, boosts your immune system but continuous stress and cortisol secretion then plays a negative role, impacting immunity. This grows worse over time. Yoga is a wonderful resource in the fight against stress and it helps to lower these cortisol levels. Regular yoga sessions aid your ability to cope with stress too, it quietens the mind, important for increasing relaxation, healing and, improving sleep. Start slowly and learn the postures below thoroughly, they help with stress relief and to improve the endocrine system in which your adrenal glands are a part. Always make sure your alignment is correct and focus on each movement. The idea is that you work with your body and not against it.
Supported Sukhasana (Simple Cross Legs Pose)
By supporting your body in this pose, it aids correct posture and alignment and reduces any areas of discomfort that might occur due to inflexibility. In its extended pose, leaning forward, your arms and forehead can rest on a chair; you can adjust the level of your support depending on your flexibility. This posture is calming and it will release tense muscles in the neck and shoulder.
This posture aids the endocrine system, stimulates your abdominal organs and it helps to combat feelings of stress while strengthening the spine and buttocks. It also stretches the front of the body, streamlining the torso.
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
This pose stimulates the endocrine system and boosts immunity. It will also lengthen and stretch the spine, arms and shoulders. Care should be taken with this posture if there is injury to the knees, spine, neck or shoulders.
Supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bound Bridge Pose)
This is an excellent posture suitable for all levels of flexibility especially when the body is supported by bolsters. The benefits are many including relieving symptoms of menopause, boosting thyroid function, easing anxieties, fatigue and insomnia. It also helps alleviate stress, calms the mind and reduces symptoms of depression.
Regular yoga sessions will help to heal the adrenal glands but remember, the damage to the adrenals occurs through too much stress and poor lifestyle choices so you need to look at all areas of your life if you wish to promote good adrenal health.
Annette Young is a freelance writer, author and editor and has many years of experience training, presenting and speaking publicly to large groups of people. As a qualified trainer, she has helped many people learn the skills to present in the workplace or at large seminars. She is the author of 18-books in her own name and has ghost-written numerous books for clients worldwide. She is also a huge yoga fan and specialises in writing health-related content for clients.
This article is published here: http://yoga.org.nz/blog/author/annetteyoung/