Yoga for Thyroid
The body’s metabolism is regulated by the endocrine system, particularly the thyroid gland. Yoga for hypothyroidism is considered to be effective as it has a positive effect on the organs of the endocrine system, especially by stimulating the parathyroid and thyroid glands. The twisting, stretching, and compressing caused by the yoga poses for hypothyroidism help in providing the endocrine organs with a massage and also improve their functioning.
Yoga is one of the ancient techniques for dealing with thyroid problems. Regular yoga practice can help to deal with thyroid problems efficiently. Let us have a look the symptoms of thyroid problems and yoga for dealing with thyroid problems.
Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) is considered to be one of the most effective yoga poses for hypothyroidism. The Shoulder Stand Pose is one of the inverted poses that reverse the effects of gravity by allowing the flow of blood from the feet and legs to the neck where the thyroid gland is located. This will help stimulate and nourish the thyroid gland, which will bring about weight loss and increase the metabolic rate of the body. Other effective yoga poses for hypothyroidism are Matsyasana (Fish Pose) and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose).
Practicing pranayama for hypothyroidism is also very beneficial in maintaining a balanced metabolism. The benefits of performing pranayama have been found to reverse the two main causes of hypothyroidism. The first is the result of previous or present inflammation of the thyroid that causes a lot of thyroid cells to get damaged or destroyed. This will cause them to be unable to produce sufficient amounts of triiodothyronine and thyroxine. Another common cause of the malfunctioning of the thyroid gland is known as autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This happens when the thyroid becomes inflamed due to the immune system of the patient. The second cause is due to the effects of different medications. Performing pranayama for hypothyroidism can help reverse the process significantly, even when the condition is quite severe. Some of the effective pranayamas for hypothyroidism are Kapalbhati (Cleansing), Anulom Vilom (Alternate Nostril Breathing), and Ujjayi (Ocean Breath).
Practicing Bikram yoga for hypothyroidism helps in bringing relief to the symptoms like weight gain, muscle spasms, constipation, chest pain, headaches, depression, and fatigue. As Bikram yoga is performed in a room that is kept at 104 degrees Fahrenheit, the muscles will become more supple and flexible allowing them to stretch more easily.
Along with the yoga asanas, the hypothyroid condition can be treated with medications to replace the deficiency of thyroxine (T4) from the body. It is also essential that you combine the practice of yoga poses with a diet that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains and sea food to enhance the benefits. In addition to practicing yoga for hypothyroidism however it is necessary to follow up with your doctor and follow any medical recommendations.
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, happens when the thyroid gland fails to produce or secrete as much thyroxine (T4) as the body requires. Since T4 regulates such vital functions such as heart rate, digestion, physical growth, and mental development, an insufficient supply of this hormone can slow life-sustaining processes. It can also damage organs and tissues in every part of the body, and lead to life-threatening complications.
Hypothyroidism happens to be one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States. The symptoms may not appear until years after the thyroid has stopped functioning. Further, they are often mistaken for signs of other ailments, menopause, or aging. Even though this condition is believed to affect upto 11 million adults and children, as many as two of every three people with hypothyroidism may not know they have the disease.
Yoga is much more than exercise. It helps to bring mind, body and spirit into perfect balance. It is an excellent alternative for treating people suffering from thyroid diseases. Thyroid disorders develop in the body when the thyroid glands are not functioning properly. It becomes unable to produce the hormone required for regulating metabolism in the required quantity.
There are two conditions of thyroid problems – hypothyroidism where there is lack of hormones and hyperthyroidism where it is just the opposite which is excessive supply of hormones into the body. People adopt different types of treatments to tackle with the problem. Yoga is recommended by many doctors these days as it stimulates the thyroid glands and helps in balancingmetabolism.
Symptoms of Thyroid Problems
Have a quick look at the symptoms of thyroid problems.
- Weight fluctuations and irregular sleeping patterns
- Mood swings and depression
- Water retention
- Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
- Lack of energy and Inability to tolerate cold
- Hot flushes
- Anxiety and exhaustion
- Dryness of skin and hair
- Excessive hair fall
Yoga Asanas for Thyroid Problems
Here are the yoga asanas which are beneficial for coping with thyroid problems.
- Padmasana – Lotus Pose
- Vrikshasana – Tree Pose
- Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
- Sarvangasana – Shoulder Stand
- Navasana – Boat Pose
- Uttana Padasana – Raised Leg Pose
- Bidalasana – Cat Stretch Pose
- Matsyasana – Fish Pose
- Yashtikasana – Stick Pose
- Pranayama (Breathing Exercises) – Kapal Bhati, Ujjayi and Anuloma-Viloma
These yoga postures have a number of positive effects on the blood flow. Practicing yoga will help your thyroid glands function properly. It helps relieve stress which is said to be one of the main causes behind thyroid problem.
How does yoga help with hypothyroidism?
Unlike medication, yoga does not directly influence the thyroid gland to start functioning better in any way. Most of the benefits that you see will be small and very gradual, and you need to practice these poses over months to see improvement. It has, however, been proved that they do help and that doing these poses does have long-term benefits.
This is because these poses promote blood flow to certain regions of the body. This increased blood flow replenishes the organs in these regions, helping them function better. Over time, many organs gain full functionality if they have not suffered irreparable damage. Also, yoga promotes the flow of healing energy in the body. This is the reason why the practice of yogic breathing called pranayama is considered important, and in many cases, pranayama should be adhered to strictly while performing or holding certain postures to gain full benefits. Although not as explicitly detailed as in Chinese medicine, ancient Indian medicine also considers that many illnesses in the body are caused by interruption or blockage of the flow of energy, and pranayama is considered essential in restoring this function. Almost all pranayama procedures are considered good for the thyroid gland, starting from the Single Nostril Breathing to the Lion Pose.
As of now, however, please keep in mind that these poses and/or pranayama techniques should not be understood to be a sort of alternative medicine. Regular medication should be continued with, and yoga will help in the long-term in reducing your dependence on medication.
Breathing Exercises (Pranayamas) for Hypothyroidism
All of these should be done with Jalandhara Bandha.
Benefits of Yoga Asanas
Have a quick look at the benefits of yoga asanas.
Though yoga is an ancient form of exercise, it has scientific base. It helps maintain a perfect balance between body and mind. Most of the yoga asanas help massage the thyroid glands and hence helps in curing the problem. The glands are stimulated and this improves their functioning helping them work properly at their optimal levels.
The specific yoga asanas for thyroid problems mentioned above help to improve blood circulation and reduce stiffness in shoulders and at the same time reduce stress and anxiety too. These help to boost metabolism and strengthen shoulders, neck and torso.
Most of the yoga postures are simple and easy to perform. However, it is advisable that you learn the poses from an experienced yoga teacher because doing the asanas perfectly matters a lot as doing it in an incorrect manner can harm your body. Practice yoga under the supervision of a qualified yoga practitioner or join a certified yoga class.
You should start yoga asanas keeping them as supplement to medicinal treatment. This is because the results will start showing only after few days. Practicing yoga needs patience and perseverance.