A pea-shaped gland at the base of your brain is your glandular master. The pituitary gland controls all the other endocrine glands in your body, including the thyroid, parathyroids, pancreas, reproductive glands and adrenals. It regulates hormones that have to do with growth, digestion, protein absorption and use and blood pressure.
In yoga, the third-eye chakra governs the pituitary gland. Located in the middle of your brows, the third eye deals with intuition and teachings — it's your internal compass. Activate the pituitary gland with yoga poses, breath work and mantras that stimulate this third eye.
Many yoga poses that stimulate the pituitary usually place your head below your heart, and are for advanced practitioners. Pincha Mayurasana, or Forearm Balance, has you turned upside down, balanced on your forearms with your legs up in the air; Handstand is your standard Mountain pose turned upside down; and Kapotasana, or King Pigeon, has you bent backward in an arch, supported just by your shins and forearms. Wheel, or Upward Bow pose, and Supported Headstand are two additional inversions that are more intermediate in nature and stimulate the pituitary.
If you're not quite up for these postures, stimulate your third eye with gentler options. Child's pose with your forehead resting in the mat, or supported on a block, is an option. Dolphin pose, in which you are in a Downward Dog-like position supported on your forearms, also stimulates the pituitary and third eye when you direct your gaze toward the floor.
Simple tapping exercises also brings attention, awareness and energy to the pituitary. Sit in a simple seat and tapping the area between the brows gently with the pads of your fingers creates an awakening vibration.
Breath work helps bring attention to your third eye, particularly the Pranayam known as Brahmari, or bee breath_._
To do the bee breath: Place your hands on your face and cover your eyes with your two middle fingers. Put your pointer finger under your eyebrow line and rest the pinky fingers at the cheekbones; plug your ears with your thumbs. Inhale deeply and exhale "OM" emphasizing, the buzz of the M sound. Perform for a minute or two.
If you can't quite arrange your hands the right way, don't give up. Simply exhale the OM sound and make the buzz of the M. This will still bring attention to your third eye, stimulate your pituitary and create a sense of calm. Allow this exhale breath to last as long as possible, without straining.
Kundalini yoga offers ways to stimulate the pituitary outside of physical postures. Kundalini involves mantra and breath work, as well as kriyas — short movements combined with sound and breath — to enhance various energy centers in the body. The pituitary mantra is "Wahe Guru." Sit cross-legged as you chant the mantra over and over to yourself for several minutes at a time.
The mantra, "Sham," corresponds with the third eye. Chant this as another sound strategy to open up the third-eye and pituitary.
- Spirit Voyage: Kundalini Yoga and the Glands: Pituitary Gland
- Pituitary Foundation: What is the Pituitary Gland
- Yoga Journal: Yoga Poses for Pituitary
- Conscious Lifestyle Mag: Opening the Third Eye
- The Chopra Center: Trust Your Intuition With the Sixth Chakra
- Yoga Journal: Use Bee Breath to get Anxiety to Buzz Off