A hormone is simply a chemical that signals change from our body’s organs. There are several different kinds of hormones which communicate to different organs what action the body requires of them. Examples include insulin to control blood sugars and melatonin to induce sleep at night.
The word “kriya” can be translated as action. These actions include the asana (body positioning) and pranayama (breath control). Both asana and pranayama practices can help support the balancing of the body’s hormones. Allow me to briefly explain how.
When we move through the asanas (physical positions), we have our body muscles contract and relax to perform the intended movement. Exercising muscle tissue provides assistance to our heart for blood flow. This mechanism is precisely why blood pressure lowers during exercise. Since hormones can travel in the blood stream, the muscle movement assists for better blood flow. With more flow, the blood is better able to bring in nutrition to body cells and remove metabolic waste. This is how hormonal and metabolic processes are balanced. Exercise facilitates breath at the cellular level.
Pranayama (breath work) assists us as well. If you feel your body cannot perform strenuous movements, practicing breath control is available to your benefit. Taking long, deep, controlled breaths stimulates the heart in a phenomena called “respiratory sinus arrhythmia”.
What happens here is that as the lung full completely with fresh air, the lungs take up extra space in the chest cavity. This gives less space for the blood vessels. The heartbeat then raises its frequency (the heart rate) to give the blood vessels an extra boost to keep the flow to squeeze around the lungs. As the lung deflate, and thus return the extra space, the heart rate lowers and relaxes. Similarly to how muscles can assist the heart in blood flow, deep breathing can also assist the heart as an ancillary pump. This would explain the elevated heart rate felt during “breath to fire”.
Kundalini yoga is beloved by the holistic medicine field for its benefits to the whole body as it’s able to target multiple organ systems at once. I hope this essay brings clarity to how Kundalini yoga kriyas can revitalize and balance the body for greater wellness.
-----About the Author, Amanda Sobreyra RN BSN:
Yoga first became part of my life in 2014 when I pursued the wisdom in Ashtanga yoga. For self mastery, tending to the body is just as vital as tending to the matters of the heart and mind. I knew if I wanted to change the world around me, first I had to change myself. Yoga is a framework that allows people to experience themselves differently. I started with Kundalini Yoga in 2019 and am so privileged to be a part of the community.
I became a seeker of knowledge and self mastery as a youngster. I always sought truth by experiencing it directly. Mythologies from across the world provide me another framework lens to see into human psychology, culture, and core values that lend to destiny. I remain open to different frameworks, perspectives, ideas, and practices which support the relationship with the highest version of self