Website EP9 (1)

9: Yoga and Hormones – How To Use Yoga To Support Cortisol Regulation

Cortisol has gotten a bad reputation lately as a stress hormone that we should actively work to keep down. However, cortisol is essential for the regulation of so many of our bodily functions and has a natural day-night rhythm that we should learn to work with. In this podcast, we talk about how to use yoga and meditation to work with our cortisol rhythms, how to recognize when the rhythms may be off balance, and how to sequence a group yoga class with cortisol regulation in mind.

In This Episode

  • Nat’s personal history with emotions, hormones and adrenal fatigue (2:04)
  • Stress and its relationship to cortisol (7:28)
  • We break down what the cortisol hormone does in the body, the good and the bad (8:25)
  • Nat explains how cortisol is regulated and produced – it’s like a thermostat (14:00)
  • Yoga and meditation clearly changes the physical body by reducing mental stress – it’s in the way our bodies work (22:17)
  • The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) and the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) are related to cortisol (22:43)
  • What are the main things cortisol does in the body, in relation to meals, with healing, blood pressure, sleep and wake cycles (29:30)

“Neurons are living cells with the metabolism they need oxygen and glucose to survive and when they’ve been working hard we experience fatigue. Every status update you read on Facebook every tweet or text message you get from a friend is competing for resources in your brain with important things like whether you should put your savings in stocks or bonds where you left your passport or how best to reconcile the close friend you just had an argument with.” – The Organized Mind by Daniel. J. Levitin 

  • Cortisol levels depend on the time of day, especially the drop around 3-4 pm (45:51)
  • As yoga teachers, we can work with how cortisol’s rise and fall when we sequence classes at various times of day (50:12)
  • Nat’s experience with self guided meditation and listening to guided meditations when your brain can’t shut off (64:05)
  • Cortisol is immunosuppressive to reduce inflammation; when chronically active, we lose sensitivity to it (72:12)
  • We try to see things from the perspective of a studio owner and the rationale behind paying teachers in different brackets (7:37)

Resources & Links

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