The pituitary gland is a shaped like a bean and lies at the base of the skull behind the nose. This small gland relays messages from the hypothalamus to all the endocrine glands of the body therefore it is often called by medical science the master gland of the body. Messages from the hypothalamus coordinate the nervous system with the glandular system, thus it may be said that the pituitary hormones do everything from moving the bowels to keeping the blood vessels toned and stimulating the kidneys to do their work. These hormones also control growth and development, adrenal response and help to regulate the body’s temperature.
Improper secretions of the pituitary gland may result in the abnormal growth of extremely obese people, giants and midgets. A malfunctioning pituitary gland can also influence fluid retention, menstrual conditions, breast feeding problems and conception and an over-active or under-active adrenal response. Most disorders of the pituitary gland are caused by a non-cancerous growth or tumour which either inhibits the production or causes the excess production of one of the pituitary hormones. The cause of these tumours is largely unknown however there is conclusive evidence that stress can negatively influence the secretion of the pituitary hormones.
Therefore a healthy pituitary gland is of utmost importance to our well being. Yoga asanas, breathing, relaxation and meditation all help to keep the pituitary gland healthy. Some flowing asanas such as Salute to the Sun stimulate the circulatory system which brings fresh nutrients to the pituitary tissue. Inversions* also bathe the brain with fresh blood supply and benefit the pituitary gland and its functions. Asanas not only bring fresh blood supply but certain poses which involve bending forward like Seated Wide Leg Forward Bend are very soothing for the nerves and thus the pituitary gland. Alternate Nostril Breathing is said to stimulate the pituitary and through complete yoga breathing and meditation we become alert, relaxed and calm.
One pre-meditation practice which is particularly recommended for pituitary health is Brahmari (Humming Bee) Breathing. In its simplest form we sit comfortably, relax and close the eyes and hum like a bee on the long outward breath. As we hum we will notice vibration in the bones of our head. If the hum is low we feel it more in the jaw whereas a higher hum brings the vibration up into the cheek bones and forehead. This higher humming is said to be very beneficial for the pituitary gland.
* Inversions are not recommended for people who have pituitary tumours.