Published on Monday, January 8, 2024
Written by Pierinne Mendez, Gustavo Ponce
This holistic and integral therapeutic discipline, created by Chilean yoga master Gustavo Ponce (76), provides valuable tools to care for, balance and strengthen our endocrine, immune and sexual systems.
This interview was originally published in Revista Emprende Digital in December 2023. Please note that the translation below was generated automatically.
The complex technological and cultural transformation of modern society translates into a hectic and intense pace of life, which often generates acute symptoms of anxiety, uncertainty and stress, which can lead to serious physical and mental ailments.
Diagnosis that, for the master Gustavo Ponce (pioneer in the practice of yoga in Latin America), requires holistic and integral treatments, capable of covering both the healing of the body and the soul.
To achieve this goal, Ponce carried out a deep work of study, analysis and creation, which allowed him to develop his method “Hormonal Yoga”, which he baptized as GPBALANCE.
Why are hormones so important for the care of our health?
Because hormonal imbalances are responsible for all the negative changes in our physical and emotional well-being. Estrogen, testosterone, adrenaline and insulin are extremely important chemical messengers that affect many aspects of our health, so any dysfunction related to their increase or decrease can have enormous negative consequences.
How are these hormonal imbalances expressed in people’s daily health and how can we recognize them?
Hormonal imbalances affect millions of people in the form of common disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disease, menstrual irregularities, infertility, low testosterone prevalence and increased estrogen, for example. Symptoms range from anxiety, fatigue and irritation, to weight gain or loss, insomnia, changes in sex drive, lack of concentration and poor appetite. This leads to poor gut health, inflammation, high stress, genetic susceptibility and toxicity, among other harmful expressions.
And how can the lost hormonal balance be restored?
In a natural way, by having an anti-inflammatory diet composed of Omega 3, herbal adaptogenic supplements, mushrooms, probiotics and other supplements such as vitamin D. In addition you have to sleep well, exercise, make love and control stress. But the most important thing is to have a holistic and integral method that combines the best of all these worlds and complements it with a series of focused exercises that will help us to strengthen the production of hormones and, consequently, to improve our general health.
Is there, then, a specific “hormonal yoga” to address these imbalances?
Of course there is. Hormonal Yoga or Hormonal Yoga Therapy focuses on the stimulation of the endocrine glands through sequences of postures, breathing and anti-stress exercises that reactivate the production of hormones, thus reducing the symptoms of imbalance. Each of its postures has a variant that accommodates the nature of each person and as it is not necessary to have practiced yoga before, its benefits are more universal. All this is optimized through the practice of what I have called GPBALANCE method.
How was this method born?
It was born, precisely, from my imperious need to survive. In 2003 I was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and the doctors gave me only a few years to live. For 8 months I received intensive chemotherapy, with no guarantee that I would be cured and with all the statistics against me. However, that never discouraged me and I began to look for other alternatives that would help me regain my health. This was the turning point to develop the method, which brings together teachings from India, Japan, China and Thailand, little known in the West, as well as various fields of Western medicine.
Of course, it is not just another method of yoga, but a holistic and integral combination of various ancient and ancestral practices. In fact, each of the ten books of the GPBALANCE collection talks about a specific aspect of the method, be it exercise, breathing, diet, aging, circadian rhythm, hormones, etc. They all move in the same direction, i.e. how to improve and prolong our existence while maintaining a good state of health.
How can hormonal balance be achieved through this method?
Through a routine of ancient oriental techniques, together with simple changes in transcendental habits such as nutrition, exercise and breathing, among others. It is a positive change of lifestyle in general, which is all we need to keep our hormones at an optimal level; because when our endocrine glands, including the sexual ones, work well, we will have more vitality and we will prevent the deterioration of muscle and bone mass. Consequently we will also avoid various ailments associated with old age such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatism, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and many others.
Who benefits from this method?
GPBALANCE is a holistic method aimed at people who are just beginning to age, i.e. all people over 35 years of age. It is also valuable for young women with painful or irregular menstrual periods, and for those who are unable to become pregnant.
What problems or conditions can we prevent with its help?
We can address many and varied conditions. For example, hearing and vision problems, which begin around the age of 35. We can also address the loss of muscle strength and improve the VO2 index (maximum amount of oxygen that the body can absorb, transport and consume). All this helps us to improve endurance and aerobic capacity. And let’s not forget the sexual sphere, which is very important for the overall happiness of human beings, especially couples. A constant practice of GPBALANCE allows men to do without “virility drugs”; and women to awaken their libido and naturally hydrate their intimate parts.
What techniques or tools does this method use?
One of the most important is the type of breathing we use and the visualization directed to the endocrine glands that secrete one or another hormone while we compress, or expand the body. This not only produces more blood flow, but also the gland or organ in question is massaged, while contracting the pelvic floor and pressing the tip of the tongue on the soft palate.
Emotional release techniques such as Tapping are also used, which consists of small soft and repetitive blows that we apply directly with fingers or fists, accompanied by the respective visualization, in various strategic areas of our body. For example, in the kidneys (where the adrenal gland is located) and in the thymus gland.
We also use a special technique to generate heat with our hands, which we apply on certain areas of the body to concentrate on their stimulation. We can mention techniques such as Prana Mudra that mobilize and harmonize the energy centers. In the same way, we use the vibration of the sounds that we emit with the throat and direct to each of these energy vortexes, balancing them and producing at the same time nitric oxide, which gives us great vitality. We also use compression of the internal organs and glands, so that when the pressure is released, they fill with fresh blood.
Are there specific techniques that help reduce daily stress?
At GPBALANCE we use various anti-stress, anti-anxiety and anti-depression techniques. We can highlight the lunar breathing techniques, meditation and Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation). Another pillar is the constant use of the pelvic floor muscles, which are undoubtedly the most important for a healthy sexual life, as well as to alleviate the ailments derived from abnormal prostate growth and urinary incontinence. These exercises also optimize other bodily functions such as the containment of internal abdominal organs, blood circulation and activation of sex hormones.
Another outstanding technique is the use of tongue pressure against the soft palate, which has multiple benefits, such as awakening spiritual energy by conflating the energies of the subtle channels in an energetic vortex behind the uvula. This influences all the endocrine glands, because it controls the secretions of the brain, and the pineal gland, the energetic center that directs the action of the main glands. They also act on the hypothalamus and medulla oblongata, which controls breathing, heartbeat, emotions, hunger and thirst.
Can anyone practice this method or is any previous training required?
The physical techniques used in GPBALANCE are designed so that anyone can use and practice them. Some are performed with eyes closed and help improve physical balance that deteriorates with age. Progress is measured with BOLT (Body Oxygen Level Test) score and 5 minutes of slow breathing. The former indicates how good our cellular oxygenation is and how soon we run out of breath; and the latter allows us to quantify our progress in pulmonary respiratory capacity.
What other recommendations can be given to those who practice this method, to improve their quality of life?
For GPBALANCE to be functional and effective in its objective of maintaining hormonal balance, it is also necessary for people to practice various actions aimed at improving their quality of life. For example, breathing and visualization focused on the endocrine glands, during the practice of specially selected postures; autosuggestion; tapping on specific areas to release repressed emotions; full body massages, including the male genital area, with special oils to stimulate the production of sex hormones; generating heat by rubbing our hands and applying it to the areas of our body that need it; taking cold showers or ice water baths to stimulate the body and make it more resistant to stress; and permanently contracting the pelvic floor muscles.
GPBALANCE also emphasizes the constant production of nitric oxide through the correct consumption of mostly plant-based foods and the use of special breathing techniques while reciting the Bija Mantras.
Another healthy recommendation is to drink a cup of warm water with lemon when waking up in the morning, to improve digestion and burn fat. To that you can add, the consumption of a portion of ginger, turmeric, black pepper, lemon juice and honey, for its antioxidant and antibacterial power. It is also good to drink a glass of smoothie with aloe vera, fruits, seeds and nuts.
Foods that provide short, medium and long chain fatty acids, which are essential for balancing our hormones, should be preferred. They also keep inflammation levels low, increase our metabolism and promote weight loss. In my experience, the best sources of healthy, anti-inflammatory fats are coconut oil, salmon (one of the best sources of Omega-3), avocados, chia, walnuts, flax seeds and hemp seeds (rich in gamma-linoleic acid).
We also recommend practicing intermittent fasting with a 6-hour window for eating and, of course, no overeating. Caloric restriction brings health and longevity.
How can one learn this method to help others practice it?
No previous knowledge of yoga or any other discipline or philosophy is required, but only the necessary motivation to participate in Level 1 of learning, which is 100 teaching hours. This introduction provides the necessary training to begin teaching, but if the person wishes to deepen their knowledge of the method, they can take the second module, which also consists of 100 hours. Those who complete it can, in turn, begin to train teachers.