“Yoga is when every cell of the body sings the song of the soul”B.K.S Iyengar’
Yoga: An Ancient Practice
YOGA’ the ancient Indian science’ originated in India and has been practiced since ages. This ancient practice is now being adopted worldwide for promoting physical and mental health.
Yoga is predominantly practised to reduce stress levels, improve sleep as well as manage mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Research has shown that yoga is beneficial in lowering the elevated cortisol levels which serve as a precursor in increasing stress levels. Apart from relieving stress, yoga is effective in managing blood sugar levels, breathing problems, and problems related to the thyroid.
Today, lifestyle disorders have become commonplace. Thyroid is one such lifestyle disorder that can be effectively tackled by practising yoga.
Yoga is a part of alternative treatment in tandem with medication and certain exercises for thyroid control. It has a long-term benefit in the management of thyroid disorders. Can yoga cure thyroid permanently? Well, read on to find the answer to this query.
Understanding the Thyroid Gland
The thyroid is a small gland located in the throat area. A healthy thyroid secretes hormones that help in maintaining metabolism, growth, and body temperature. Unfortunately, a large number of people suffer from thyroid problems.
Normal thyroid function can be affected by factors such as deficiency of iodine, genetic disorders, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, nodules, certain medications and medical treatments
Thyroid disorder is one of the most common reasons for weight gain. The prevalence of thyroid problems is higher in females.
Either the thyroid is over-reactive (hyperthyroidism) or under reactive (hypothyroidism) and this impacts the overall health of a person. Some of the most common symptoms pertaining to thyroid malfunction are:
- Hands and feet are cold
- Pain in muscles and joints
- Weight gain (not able to lose weight)
- Mental health issues
- Feeling sleepy even after 8-10 hours of sleep
- Hormonal imbalance
- Poor concentration
How Can Yoga Help in Thyroid Problems?
Thyroid disorder has symptoms such as tiredness, increase in body weight, depression, constipation, pain in muscles and joints and imbalance of hormones.
Regular practice of yoga benefits patients suffering from thyroid problems. There are yoga exercises for thyroid control which can be practised. Besides yoga poses, one can practise pranayama for thyroid.
Yoga asanas for thyroid balance the hormones, increase energy levels, promotes better sleep, help in weight loss, boosts metabolism, and also improve blood circulation in the throat. According to a 2016study, practicing certain yoga asanas for a period of 6 months improved cholesterol levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels.
Which Exercises are Good for Thyroid?
If you have a thyroid problem, then, it is advisable to take professional help before undertaking any exercise program.
Certain specific exercises for hyperthyroidism and exercise for hypothyroidism have proved beneficial in the management of thyroid disorders. Yoga is one of the best exercises for thyroid control.
Can Yoga Cure the Thyroid Permanently?
Yoga is a holistic approach in managing ailments and preventing complications. Yoga for hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism may not cure the condition permanently but it will certainly prevent the condition from worsening any further.
However, early diagnosis of hypothyroidism, lifestyle modification, and consistent yogic practice can help reverse hypothyroidism.
Yoga asanas and certain neck exercises for thyroid help in maintaining the optimum function of thyroid glands.
How Can Yoga Help in the Management of Thyroid Problems?
Yoga has been in practice for centuries for leading a healthy life. Yoga being a science of healthy living includes asanas (postures), breathing practice (eg pranayama), and mudras (hand gestures).
Yoga can manage thyroid problems by stimulating thyroid glands, improving the TSH levels in the body, decreasing the stress hormones, and strengthening the body physically and mentally.
We shall discuss below the beneficial effects of asanas, pranayama and mudras in thyroid disorders.
Yoga Asanas for Thyroid Problems
The thyroid exercise in yoga is a highly developed and advanced practise. Practicing yoga asanas keeps the gland healthy and boosts the metabolism. The various yoga asanas for thyroid may help you avoid thyroid medicines and prevent further complications.
Yoga for thyroid is beneficial in reversing hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Given below is a list of yoga asanas to control thyroid problems.
It is beneficial in hypothyroidism. Halasana strengthens the abdominal muscles and calms the nervous system.
- Lie in the supine position on the ground.
- Breathe in and straighten your legs up in the air.
- Slowly bring your legs above the head while breathing out. Let your toes touch the ground behind the head. Support your back with both hands.
- Breathe out while coming back to the initial position.
- Be gentle while performing the asana.
Matsya is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘fish’. The pose is also known as the fish pose. This asana improves blood circulation in the thyroid gland.
- Lie down with legs straight and hands by your side.
- Keep your hands under the hips with palms facing down. Bring both the elbows together.
- Inhale while lifting your head and chest upwards. Lower your head backward and touch the head on the floor.
- Put your weight on the elbows and not the head. Lift the chest between the shoulder and press the thighs and legs to the floor.
- Remain in the same position as long as it is comfortable. Breathe in and breathe out.
- Come back to the initial position by lifting the head upward, lowering the chest, and head to the floor.
3.Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
This asana is beneficial in hypothyroidism. Considered as one of the beneficial exercises for hypothyroidism, this asana stretches the neck and improves thyroid function.
- Lie in a prone position with forehead resting on the ground. Keep the legs close with feet and heels touching each other.
- Keep both the palms under the shoulders.
- With a deep inhale, gently lift the head, chest, and abdomen. Keep the lower abdomen on the floor.
- Gently move the torso back away from the floor with the support of your hands. There should be equal pressure on both hands.
- Keep breathing while the spine is curved. Straighten the arms and maintain as much curve as possible. Keep your head up.
- Come back to the initial position by breathing out and gently bringing the abdomen, chest, and head back to the floor.
4.Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand)
This is also known as the ‘Queen of Asanas’. This asana is beneficial in thyroid problems as it nourishes the thyroid glands.Known specifically useful as hypothyroidism yoga, Sarvangasana improves the symptoms of the thyroid disease. Procedure
- Lie in a supine position. While breathing out raise both the legs high at 90 degrees with the body. Gradually lift the legs, hips, and back high on your shoulders.
- Support your back with your hands. Your toes should be straight over the nose.
- Breathe deeply and remain in the same posture for a minute.
- Come back to the initial position by lowering the knees to the forehead and keeping your hands down with palms touching the floor. Slowly bring your back down to the floor and lower the legs.
5.Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upper bow pose)
This asana is recommended in hypothyroidism. Recommended as part of the hypothyroidism yoga routine, the upper bow pose improves blood circulation in the thyroid and surrounding areas while also alleviating stress and depression associated with this disorder.
- Lie in the supine position.
- Bend the knees keeping your feet flat and firmly on the floor.
- Place your hands above the shoulders. Keep the hands firm and fingers should face towards the shoulder.
- Now lift the upper body resting the crown of the head on the floor. Lift your legs, pelvis, and abdomen away from the floor.
- Keep your weight on the palms. Do not strain your neck.
- To come back to the initial position, lower your arms and neck and bring your spine on the floor.
6. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
It is beneficial in people with hyperthyroidism. The asana regulates the thyroid hormones and improves blood circulation.
- Lie on the ground with back on the floor.
- Fold your knees with legs some distance apart. Touch the heels with your hands with palms on the floor and lift the hip and upper part of the body.
- Breathe in while lifting the hip and upper body part. Keep the weight on feet, arms and shoulders.
- Hold the pose for a few minutes and breathe out while coming back to the initial position.
7. Shavasana (Corpse pose)
This is a recommended pose as part of yoga for hyperthyroidism.
- Lie in a supine position with toes apart.
- Keep your arms away from the body with your palm facing towards the ceiling.
- With the head, neck, and spine in a straight line, relax your body completely. Breathe slowly.
Yoga for Thyroid – Ramdev
Swami Ramdev helped in the mass proliferation of yoga. The yoga guru has taken several yoga camps across the length and breadth of India, preaching the many benefits of yoga. According to Swami Ramdev, yoga asanas and pranayama such as Surya namaskar, Kapalbhati, pranayama, Singhasana, Sarvangasana and Halasana can help to alleviate thyroid problems.
Pranayama for Curing Thyroid Disorders
A complete yoga practice involves not just asanas but also the practice of regulating breathing (pranayama) and hand gestures.
Can Pranayama Cure Thyroid Issues?
Pranayama is found to have a beneficial effect on people with hypothyroidism. Regular practice of pranayama positively affects the BMI (body mass index), aids in metabolism, balances blood sugar levels, and improves thyroid function.
Pranayama yoga for the thyroid cannot cure the problem but can alleviate the symptoms of thyroid disorder. It can reduce the increased body weight and can significantly reduce the raised thyroid levels.
Practicing Mudras for Thyroid Problem
Yoga generally means asanas and breathing practices. Yoga mudras are also part of yoga that has a healing effect. Certain mudras when combined with proper posture and pranayama have a significant effect in healing the body.
Yoga mudras are done by sitting in a cross-legged position.
Which Mudra is Effective in Thyroid Problems?
Surya mudra is an effective yoga mudra for thyroid problems. It helps in reducing weight and obesity and is beneficial for the healthy function of thyroid glands. This mudra is done by bending both ring fingers. The ring finger is gently pressed by the thumb.
Shunya mudra curbs thyroid problems. Shunya mudra is done by bringing the middle finger in contact with the thumb. This balances the doshas and improves the symptoms of thyroid disorder.
Other mudras such as kapha nashak mudra, jal shamak mudra, gyan mudra are a part of yoga that are useful for hypothyroidism.
Face Yoga for Thyroid
Weight gain and obesity are some of the undesirable side effects of thyroid malfunction. The face starts to look puffy with all that fat on the face. To tackle this, you can practise some facial yoga exercises such as Simha mudra, Fish face, jaw release and mouthwash technique to lose the facial fat.
Are There Any Side Effects of Yoga?
Yoga is a natural way of healing various ailments. There are no side effects in practicing yoga for thyroid disorders. However, it is important to consult your healthcare provider and also a professional yoga instructor before practicing asanas.
Some asanas or breathing exercises may not be recommended in certain conditions such as pregnant women, people who have undergone recent surgery, hernia problems and other very aggressive conditions. Consulting or taking professional help can give you the right direction.
Improve Your Thyroid Function with Yogic Practice
Yoga has the potential to manage thyroid disorders and prevent complications arising due to decrease or increased levels of thyroid hormones. The yogic practice has significantly helped hypothyroid patients in improving their quality of life.
Yoga asanas and pranayama may be used as a supportive therapy along with the ongoing conventional medical treatment for thyroid disorder. It is suggested to consult a professional yoga practitioner before practicing yoga for thyroid problems.