When the “h-word” (hormones) comes up, it’s really tempting to put all the attention on the thyroid gland.
Some may say the thyroid’s a super star of sorts when it comes to the endocrine system for two reasons:
#1. It’s easy to test. By test, I mean that blood tests are routinely used to check thyroid status even if they’re not foolproof.
#2. It’s easy to treat. There are meds that are easily prescribed to deal with thyroid concerns even though the meds might not be the answer for you.
Even with this sort of “star power” the thyroid is not your endocrine system.
Ahem—did you get that?
Your thyroid is not your endocrine system.
In fact, there are eight glands that make-up your endocrine system—four of these are the big players.
I call them the four corners of your Endocrine House.
They are the pituitary, thyroid, adrenals and the ovaries in childbearing women or the pancreas in menopausal ladies.
If you want to be the master of your “Endocrine House”, then all four of these glands need to be communicating in a healthy way. In particular, the relationship between the adrenal glands and thyroid is muy importante (note: too much cortisol depresses thyroid function in a snap).
Over the course of the last 13 years, I’ve come up with one simple habit that can make all the difference in your hormones.
Get your legs up the wall.
#1. Calms the mind (Can I have an hallelujah?).
#2. Adrenals have the chance to rest and recalibrate so that they can communicate with your thyroid gland better (muy importante, remember?)
#3. Takes pressure off the venous return (that’s fancy speak for it helps varicose veins—high five!
#4. The heart has to pump stronger to get the blood back up the legs (so you’re sort of exercising while you’re resting—very cool!).
This is not one of those it-sounds-too-good-to-be-true tips. Trust me—it works.
Here’s what to do:
Set the stage: Make sure that you’re in a quiet place and you’ve got at least 10 minutes. You’re going to want to be able to close your eyes and deeply relax.
Legs up the wall doesn’t have the same effect if you’re chatting away on the phone or flipping through messages.
Step 1: Lay on your back with your hips about six to 12 inches away from the wall. Tip: bend your knees and put your feet on the wall. If your thighs are at a right angle to your back, then your hips will be the perfect distance from the wall.
Step 2: Straighten your legs up the wall, so that your heels are making contact. Keep your knees straight and your legs relaxed.
Step 3: Place a pillow under your head. You should feel really comfy here.
Step 4: Close your eyes and breathe. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart.
Step 5: Bring your awareness to your breath. Inhale for a count of two and exhale for a count of four.
Step 6: “Hang out” here with your eyes closed for 10 minutes. Breathe in the adrenal love.
Psssst, it you like it—pass it on.
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Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock