Thyroid disorder which has now become a household name is believed to be due to the stressful lifestyle we are leading and this condition is found to be higher in women. The thyroid gland can be found in the lower part of the neck and it plays an important role in the endocrine system. It produces thyroid hormone, which the body converts and distributes to every cell. These hormones affect the metabolic functioning of every system and function in the body.
Though there is an increase in the thyroid disorders nowadays, there are various treatment options available to patients. Apart from medical treatment, yoga and meditation act like a natural medicine to help you treat the thyroid disorders by reducing stress with regular practice.
There are mainly two types of thyroid disorders. Hypothyroidism is caused by not having enough thyroid hormones (Underactive thyroid) and Hyperthyroidism caused by having too much thyroid hormones (Overactive thyroid). It’s important for you to consult with your doctor to understand which type of thyroid disorders you are suffering with before starting any treatment or yoga practice.
Symptoms of Thyroid Disorders
- You may not be overeating but noticing a sudden weight gain
- Slowly feeling disinterested, tired with your everyday life and getting irritated with small things
- Your menstrual cycles are getting irregular (Check with doctor, there could be other reasons also)
- Excessive hair growth and throat swell up
- Constipation and face getting swelled
- Difficult to sleep at night and too much Sweating
Yoga and Meditation for Thyroid Disorders
Regular practice of yoga and meditation can help you to reduce stress and stimulate thyroid glands. So, let’s practice some useful yoga and pranayamas to cure thyroid disease.
- Kapalbhati Pranayama (Skull Shining Breathing)
First, sit on the Padmasana or simple sitting pose. Now, close your eyes and keep your spines straight, take a deep inhale through both of your nostrils until your lungs get full of air. Now exhale through both of your nostrils forcefully so that your stomach will go deep inside. As you exhale you will feel some pressure in your stomach. During the process of exhaling, you will feel a hissing sound. Repeat this process for 5 minutes.
- Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean Breathing)
First, sit on the Padmasana or simple sitting pose. Inhale deeply with both nostrils along with contraction inside the throat which makes the breath long and thin. The friction of air should be felt inside the throat when it is contracted and you can feel a hissing sound of breath. Now exhale out very slowly. Now, try to touch your chin to the upper side of the chest (Jalandhar Bandha or throat lock). Hold the breath inside for maximum 10 seconds (Kumbaka).
Now exhale out slowly with left nostril, by closing right nostril with your right-hand thumb. Exhale must be done by left nostril only.
- Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose)
In this pose, the blood flows from the legs to the head region due to the inverted pose. So, it helps in stimulating thyroid glands and controlling thyroxin.
First, lie down on a mat & rest your back on the floor. Try lifting your legs in the upward direction. For beginners take the support of your hands for lifting your legs. Rest your hands on your back so that they can help you to remain steady in the position. Now, once your legs are up, try to bring make them straight and aligned towards the ceiling with your body adjustment. Stay in this position for as long as you can and then release and relax.
- Halasana (Plough Pose)
When you are steady in the Sarvangasana pose, try to bring your legs downwards from over your head. Now, rest the palm of your hands on your back in order to support your body. Stay in this position for as long as you can and then release and relax.
- Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
This pose stretches your neck and stimulates the thyroid glands, lowers stress levels and reduces the stiffness of muscles and joints.
Lie on your back. Your feet are together and hands relaxed alongside the body. Place your hands underneath the hips with palms facing down. Bring the elbows closer toward each other. Now inhale and lift your head and chest up. Keeping the chest up, lower the head backward and touch the top of the head to the floor as shown in the figure. With the head touching the floor, press the elbows firmly into the ground, placing the weight on the elbow. Now, Lift your chest up from in-between the shoulder blades. Press the thighs and legs to the floor. Hold this pose for as long as you can by taking gentle long breaths in and out. Now slowly release your head, come to the original position and relax.
- Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Lie on your mat with knees bent and directly over heels. Place the arms at sides with palms down. First, inhale and then exhale and press feet into floor as you lift your hips. Make a fist with your hands under lower back and press arms down. Lift your hips until thighs are parallel to the floor, bringing chest towards the chin. Stay here for few breaths and then relax and repeat the procedure for 3-4 times.
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Lie on your stomach with your feet together and toes flat. Place your hands downwards below your shoulders on the mat, while inhaling, lift your waist and raise your head. Pull your torso back with the support of your hands. By putting equal pressure on both palms, keep your elbows straight. Move your head back and ensure that your shoulders are away from your ears. Exhale while coming back to the ground. Relax and then repeat the procedure for 3-4 times.
- Sirsasana (Headstand Pose)
To begin, bring your mat to the nearest wall. Place the shorter edge against the wall. Come to sitting position and Interlace your fingers. Now, tuck your head down to the ground in front. Place your hands at the top of your head on the floor so that your palms are cupping the back of your head. Lift your knees off the floor and straighten your legs. Walk with your leg towards your face as much as you can, trying to shift the weight of your hips over your shoulders. Hold here for few deep breaths.
Now shift both your hips over your shoulders, tucking both knees into your chest, hold them for few breaths. Raise your legs and keep them straight toward the ceiling. Keep your legs straight enough and draw your navel toward your spine to work your abs. Your body must be in a line. Hold here for few breaths, then release and relax.
Diet tips for Thyroid Disorders
- Consume diet with high fibre content, green vegetables and avoid excess consumption of fats and carbohydrate
- Ginger greatly enhances thyroid function. So, chew ginger or consume ginger tea
- Consume curd, fish, meat, eggs, radish, and oatmeal which contain good amount of iodine
- Walk in the morning sunlight to get plenty of Vitamin-D
- Drink coconut oil to improve the function of thyroid hormone
- Consume diets such as carrots, pumpkin, black walnut, sprouts, spinach to get iodine content
Since stress is believed to be one of the reasons for thyroid disorders, regular practice of meditation keeps the mind calm and relaxed and reduces stress level. The chanting of ‘Om’ every day would be helpful before starting and ending the practice.
Enjoy your yoga practice and keep yourself free from stress and thyroid disorders. If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!