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Hormones.

What comes up for you when you think about this word?

PMS craziness, mood swings, breast cancer, infertility, birth control, weird chemicals in our food and water?

No doubt that hormones are a complex thing. They are the chemical messengers inside our bodies that govern not only our reproductive systems, but also our metabolism, sleep, mood and tissue growth and development. In short: They affect everything that happens inside our bodies. It’s a highly sophisticated, complex and sensitive system that does a miraculous job of keeping our whole physical vessel in balance. But what if there’s a hormone imbalance?

Well, for me it meant losing my period (that had been working fine before) when I was 16, going on birth control and developing chronic migraines, mood swings and fatigue. I went from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what was going on. I tried sinus medication, went to a chiropractor, a hypnotherapist and a homeopath. I tried different diets. Again and again I got the advice to “just relax more” – but, as a deeply emotional being, the advice to “just relax more” felt more like an insult than constructive criticism.

At some point, I decided to see what would happen if I went off birth control for 3 months. Well, nothing happened. Still no period…so my gynaecologist put me right back on it. It wasn’t until two years later at age 22 (which makes it 6 years on birth control non-stop) that I decided to get off birth control and regain my natural cycle with the help of my awesome Ayurvedic Practitioner. After one whole year of taking Ayurvedic herbs my period came back!

But that’s not the end of the story. It was a huge breakthrough for me, but I still had frequent, even though not daily headaches. My mood and energy levels were still all over the place and my period was nowhere near regular. When it came I would get more migraines and a lot of cramps. So there was still some work to do…

I’m not going to discuss all my self-experiments in nutrition here, which is a super important part of the puzzle. I want to talk about another huge factor: Emotional balance. And that’s where the chakras come in.

As a Yoga student I had already heard about the chakras before, but once I started learning more and more about them, I discovered how helpful they were for my overall well-being and development. Balancing your hormones is such a daunting and complex task, it requires a multi-angled approach – and lots of patience. It takes at least 3 months, often a lot longer, to get your hormone system back on track, so it can be hard at times to tell what’s working and what isn’t. But one thing is for sure: Emotions ALWAYS play a role when it comes to health and healing. No exceptions!

I stumbled upon the Hormone Chakra Connection when I did a Yoga class about the endocrine system. As the teacher went through the different glands, I realized that they match the location of certain chakras in the body! So I went on to learn more and more about the chakras, how they worked and how they interacted – and how to balance these powerful energy centers. I could certainly use some more emotional balance, and I thought that focusing on the general area of my endocrine glands might have some kind of effect on my hormone balance as well…

So here is a super quick summary of each chakra and its corresponding endocrine glands the way I see it. This is my personal view and might not make any sense to anybody else, but I’m willing to take that risk, if there is even the slightest chance that just one other person on earth might find this as helpful and groundbreaking as I do. 🙂 Let’s start at the bottom of the spine and work our way up:

First come the male testes. They secrete androgyns and testosterone and are responsible for kickstarting a boy’s puberty and producing sperm cells. They lie in the are of the Root Chakra, which governs our sense of safety, security and belonging, as well as our tribal and family ties. It is associated with the basic human needs, such as shelter, food and money. Even though as a woman I don’t have testes, a heightened sense of safety and belonging is definitely important to me, a natural born worrywart who often stresses out more about stuff than necessary. I work with the Root Chakra all the time, releasing excess energies, emotions and thoughts into the earth. Plus, my gynaecologists always told me I had to many androgyns! So there might be some kind of connection in that sense, too…remember that we all have male and female energies in us.

Second are the female reproductive organs, the ovaries and the uterus. They produce estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that govern the female cycle and pregnancy. In this area the Sacral Chakra is located: the seat of creativity, sexuality, sensuality and a healthy flow of emotions. Big one for women’s health and overall well-being in general! It’s SO important to let our feelings flow instead of stuffing them down and letting them eat us up from the inside. A great way to do so is through creative expression: painting, playing music, singing, cooking, writing, making art. Regularly talking to loved ones about our inner state is crucial, too. The ultimate form of creation in the most natural sense is having a baby; it’s such a miraculous process to “create” a new and unique human being from the loving unity of a man and a woman!

Third comes the solar plexus area where we can find the pancreas and the adrenals. The pancreas is part of the digestive system and produces digestive enzymes as well as insulin and glucagon. The adrenals play an important role in the metabolism, immune system and sexual function. But they are mostly known in terms of stress response: They release adrenaline, a hormone that increases heart rate and blood pressure in times of acute stress.

The Solar Plexus Chakra lies in this general area and is responsible for our sense of personal power, courage and determination. The direct connection between my emotions and the corresponding physical response is very clear to me: Whenever I give my power away to someone else (for example by saying yes to something I don’t really want to do, or letting a salesperson talk me into buying something I don’t really need, or not taking action on my fulfilling my dreams), I get very upset. I get a migraine, I feel anxious, restless and irritated and I can’t focus or think clearly. That’s what happens when I have lot of adrenaline rushing through my body, but of course we all have our own unique experience. And we’ve all heard about adrenal fatigue by now…it’s so very important to take back your personal power in all areas of life, take responsibility for your actions and take action toward your desires!

Higher up in the chest, we find the thymus gland, which is closely connected to the immune system. It’s located in the general area of the Heart Chakra, the seat of unconditional love and forgiveness. To me, this one is pretty obvious as well: We are much more resilient and recover more quickly from challenges when we feel loved and have someone to give love to in our life! It’s not just the actual support loved ones can provide in stressful times, but also their mere existence that gives us strength.

Next we move on to the thyroid gland in the neck. It produces different hormones that play an important role in our metabolism and energy levels: A higher amount of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream causes faster chemical reactions in the body. You’ve probably heard of hypo- and hyperthyroidism: When the thyroid is not producing enough hormones, you feel tired and lethargic and easily gain weight. People with an overactive thyroid on the other hand become easily underweight and anxious.

The Throat Chakra is all about communication, speaking your truth, being heard, and understanding other people expressing their truth. We can also look at the communication inside of our own bodies: Only when all the cells are communicating properly do we have a fully functioning, thriving system.

Finally, in the center of our brain, we find three highly important glands: the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the pineal gland. The hypothalamus connects the endocrine system and the nervous system and works closely together with the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is often referred to as the “Master Gland” as it produces hormones that control the activity of several other glands. The hypothalamus is its messenger and provides the Master Gland with vital information such as outside temperature, light exposure and the current emotional state. The pituitary gland then reacts by secreting a variety of hormones that influence the activity of the thyroid, adrenals and reproductive glands. It also produces prolactin (the hormone responsible for milk production in breastfeeding women), endorphins (chemicals that makes us feel good and reduce feelings of pain) and oxytocin, a hormone related to feelings of trust, intimacy and love.

Last but not least there’s the pineal gland. Its job is to regulate our wake and sleep cycle through the secretion of melatonin.

As you can see, a lot of important stuff is going on in our heads! No wonder that the corresponding chakra is probably the most famous: the Third Eye Chakra. Located in the middle of the forehead, it is responsible for our intuition, inner vision and inner wisdom. All psychic abilities are developed in this chakra. It helps us to see the bigger picture and gain clarity. Just like the pituitary gland, the Third Eye Chakra collects all the information of the physical, emotional, mental and energetic body and processes them in order to make the best decision in any situation. And oftentimes, this decision-making process happens ultra fast: That’s what we call intuition – when you just have a certain feeling about something or someone, or when you just KNOW that you should or shouldn’t do something.

And those are all the endocrine glands of the body! However, there is one more chakra in the classic chakra system (there are even more in other spiritual teachings): the Crown Chakra. It is located right above our head and it is our direct connection to the spiritual world, to God, the Universe or however you choose to call that higher power. This connection gives us a feeling of one-ness and a sense of purpose, and it can provide us with wonderful inspiration and great ideas. This chakra is very subtle, so subtle that it isn’t even located in the physical body. And yet, it is very powerful. It is hard to measure in scientific terms, but somehow we all have this longing for connection to something greater than us. Whenever this is missing, we easily feel lonely, depressed, disconnected, uninspired and without purpose.

As I mentioned in the beginning, hormone balance depends on a wide variety of factors. Chakra work and emotional balance is just one of these factors, but in my opinion it is a highly important one. I have definitely noticed a lot of healing happening in both my physical and emotional health by working with the chakras: I feel more balanced emotionally, have a greater sense of inner peace and strength and more stress resilience. If you are interested in learning more about the chakras, here are my two favorite resources:

Also, here is an earlier blog post I wrote about how to easily remember the chakra system.

I know this was an unusually long blog post, but I’m just very passionate about this topic. It’s not just about food, or lifestyle, or fitness; as important and fascinating as these things are, there’s just so much more to staying healthy and healing!

Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts and questions. And if you liked this article, please sign up for my weekly newsletter! 🙂

Much love and balance for the week ahead,

Paula

Disclaimer: I’m not medically trained, I’m not an endocrinologist, and in no way is this information meant to replace any medication or advice and diagnosis from a doctor or other specialist. That being said, I simply want to share my story, my experience, and what has helped me along the way – in the hopes that it may provide some insight and support for others with similar challenges.