There are certain organs of the body that produce Rasa (Juices). They are known as Glands. They can be divided into two parts according to their demands.
- Duct Glands: They produce such secretions as are helpful in the healthy formation of our body. i.e. saliva, bile and pancreatic juice etc.
- Endocrine / Ductless Glands: No nerve emerges out of these glands. Blood reaches these glands through the blood vessels in great quantity. The chemical secretions produced by them, pass directly through the walls of the blood cells inside the glands & then mix with the blood. It s through the blood they reach the other parts of the body. Then secretions are called Hormones. These Hormones are vital to the sustenance of the human body.
The glands are located very close to five plexuses in our spinal cord.
- Near the Agya Plexus Pineal & Pituitary Glands.
- Near the Vishudhi Chakra – Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands.
- Near Anahat Chakra – Thymus Gland
- Near Manipur Chakra – Adrenal, Pancreas, Liver, Spleen and Kidney
- Near Swadhishthan Chakra – Testicles and Ovary.
- Pinel Gland: It is located in a small cave-like hole a little hole a little above the hind part of the pituitary gland in the middle of the brain.
- It is instrumental in the growth of the body and controls the sex-glands.
- It is related to the self-regulated nervous system of the body.
- The secretion of this gland controls other glands.
- It normalizes the effect of light on the color of the skin and balances the cells of the brain. It is also helpful in the prevention of general deformities.
The following methods are very effective in activating this gland (1) Meditation (2) The first and twelfth posture of Surya Namaskar (3) Shashank asan and (4) Shirsh asan
- Pituitary Gland: This gland is located at the base of the brain inside the skull and is connected with the hypothalamus. This gland functions with the help of other glands. This gland becomes active when other glands stop functioning. When the secretion of the glands of other hormones increases this gland reduces its secretion.
- Decrease and increase in height depends on the secretion of this gland as it affects both our bones and muscles.
- This gland activates the seminal cells in men and ovary in females.
- Breasts of a mother get filled milk after the delivery of a child due to this very gland.
- This gland influences the vessels in the kidneys and stimulates them to absorb more liquid. It reduces urination.
Note: One should practice meditation and asanas to stimulate this gland.
- Thyroid Gland: This gland is located at the upper end of the bronchial tube near the vocal cord. This gland is heavier in women than in men. It grasps the fundamental substance called iodine.
- This gland keeps our youth intact.
- It utilizes iodine in the secretion of those hormones which are helpful in the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Thus it helps in the process of digestion.
- It is especially helpful in the production and distribution of electric energy in the brain.
- The secretion of this gland helps in building up nerves and brain tissues.
- It keeps up the equilibrium of the brain or intellectual harmony is sustained by this very gland.
The fifth and eighth pose of Surya Namaskar, Bhujangasan, Sarvangasana and Matsyasan (First pose) are very effective in activating this gland.
- Parathyroid Glands: These glands are located above and below the thyroid gland near the vocal cord. It is sheltered by the left and right portions of the thyroid gland. Both in their function and formation, they are entirely different from the thyroid gland. These glands control the quantum of calcium in the blood and play an important role in activating our muscles & nervous system.
Irregular secretion from these glands results in many diseases, such as the decay in bones, frailibility etc.
- Thymus Gland: This gland is nestled behind the meeting point of collarbone and neck in the middle of the chest a little above the heart. It has got two chunks. It takes care of the body development of our babies and protects them from the disease. This gland does not allow the sex glands to grow up to this age.
It is instrumental in the proper development of the brain.
It also helps in the formation of our lymph cells.
It is instrumental in the process of the excretion of foreign matter from our body.
This gland is activated by the sixth pose of Surya Namaskar Shalabhasan, Ushtrasan, and Ujai Pranayam.
- Adrenal Gland: Two triangular glands above the kidneys and attached to the diaphragm are called Adrenal Gland. Like other glands, this gland discharges maximum quantum of secretion. The secretion of this gland is most essential for the protection of our life. Its cortisone-like hormones cures more than one hundred diseases like gout, defects of blood circulation, defects of the colon (large intestine), cancer and Asthma, etc.
- It is helpful in the change of our emotions.
- It is such an important gland that survival without it is impossible.
- It increases metabolism.
- It stimulates the liver to convert glycogen into glucose.
- It helps in the contraction of different kinds of arteries in the skin and internal organs but at the same time, it expands our muscles and the arteries of the heart.
- In a state of emergency or a sudden calamity, this gland creates a sense of alertness in the body and prepares us to face squarely a dangerous situation by inculcating in us a feeling of internal strength and security.
In order to keep this gland in sound health the following Asanas and Pranayams are greatly helpful:
- The seventh pose of Surya Namaskar, Janushirasan, Paschimuttanasan Konasan, Ushtrasan, Bhujangasan, Shalabhasan, Dhanurasan, and Mayurasan.
- Agnisar Kriya, Surya Bhedi, Kapal Bhati and Bhastrika Parnayam.
Note: Please look up Liver, Pancreas, Kidneys, and Sex-glands in our discussion of the Digestive System.