Yoga is a holistic practice, meant to rejuvenate your mind and body. Many people have incorporated yoga in their daily routine, realizing the myriad health benefits it offers. Today, people are using pranayama for thyroid as a tool to alleviate an array of health-related issues.
Yoga for Thyroid Cure
Today, many people are suffering from thyroid issues attributed to poor lifestyle choices. People are dependent on medicines life- long to keep their thyroid levels under check. There are techniques for thyroid control as well, but not many people are aware that pranayama for thyroid can cure by altering its adverse effects. In fact, regular practice of pranayama and yogic postures can help thyroid gland function properly.
Hypothyroidism vs Hyperthyroidism
Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland found at the base of the neck in all humans. Its main function is to regulate metabolism and blood sugar levels in your body. When it fails to function well, it can cause either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland becomes underactive and stops secreting enough thyroid hormones. Your body’s metabolism slows down, and you will witness a range of symptoms, such as fatigue, dullness, poor memory, weight gain, dry skin and constipation. Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, occurs when your thyroid gland produces excessive thyroid hormones. The symptoms include weight loss, accelerated heart rate, irritability, anxiety, and so on.
Are you experiencing the above symptoms? Worry not, as we have come up with a list of yogic techniques for thyroid control that include pranayama techniques and yogic postures.
Thyroid Control with Pranayama
Pranayama is all about learning to control your Prana – the vital life-force that influences all your activities and fuels the functions of your body. Poor lifestyle and unhealthy dietary habits, as well as stress, obstruct the flow of Prana in your body. This depletes all your energies, leading to poor metabolic function and malaise in your body.
But there are exercises in pranayama for thyroid control that reverse the symptoms of the thyroid and rejuvenate all the cells and the organs in your body. These exercises are effective in slowing down your breathing, increasing your body’s metabolism and balancing your blood sugar levels. Certain Pranayama yoga for thyroid need constriction and stretching of the larynx in your throat. This stimulates the thyroid gland, making it function better.
Instructions for Thyroid Pranayama Practice
Thyroid control by pranayama is effective if you follow the instructions given below.
- Pranayama should not be practised on a bare floor. Spread a yoga mat, a blanket or a rug, and practise on it.
- Ensure that your bowels and bladder are empty before practicing the Pranayama kriya. Ideally, Pranayama should be practised in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Pranayama should follow the practice of asanas. Asanas involve exertion of muscles and tissues due to the bodily movements, while Pranayama soothes all your nerves and relaxes your muscles.
- Have your meal after a gap of half-an-hour to one hour after the Pranayama exercises.
- Keep your eyes closed during the practice, or else your mind will wander and get distracted.
- Do not flex your facial or neck muscles while doing the Pranayama, and keep your thighs, feet and hands relaxed.
- Lie down in Shavasana for at least 5-10 minutes in silence after you perform Pranayama, as it refreshes your mind and body.
6 Best exercises in Pranayama for Thyroid Cure
This Pranayama is so named, as it resembles the action of a Bhastra or ‘the bellows’. It involves forced inhalation and exhalation, which generates heat in your body and helps stimulate blood circulation and flush out toxins. It is also one of the best exercises in Pranayama for thyroid problem, as it alleviates the inflammation in your throat and activates the thyroid gland.
- Sit comfortably in Padmasana or Siddhasana.
- Draw in a deep breath.
- Exhale quickly and forcefully through both the nostrils, and then inhale in with same force.
- When you exhale, retract your abdomen and diaphragm and relax them as you inhale.
- Continue this method to a count of ten.
- At the end of ten breaths, observe normal breathing and relax.
Kapalbhati is the best Pranayama for thyroid. It is indeed one of the Shatkarmas or Shatkriyas, the preliminary techniques used for the purification of the body. It is also known as ‘the skull-shining’ Pranayama. This Pranayama is slightly different from Bhastrika, in that the inhalation is passive and the exhalation is done forcefully. This Pranayama has a range of benefits, including the stimulation of the underactive thyroid gland. It oxygenates the cells in the body, regulates the digestive system and improves the functions of kidneys and liver.
(Pic Credit – Healthshots)
- Sit in a comfortable position, either in Padmasana or in Siddhasana.
- Keep your spine straight and head slightly bent.
- Place your hands on your knees with your palms facing downwards.
- Draw in a short breath and then exhale forcefully and quickly.
- When you exhale, retract your stomach as much as you can. Feel the contraction happening.
- The inhalation and exhalation should be rapid. Practice at least 20 rounds.
- Relax your hands and feel the sensations in your body.
(3) Ujjayi Pranayama
Ujjayi is the process in which the lungs get expanded and the chest is puffed out fully, like that of a proud warrior. This is yet another technique for effective thyroid control with Pranayama, as it treats any imbalance in the thyroid levels. It is also known as ‘the ocean breathing technique’, as when you inhale and exhale, constricting your glottis, you will hear a well-modulated hissing sound, like that of the sound in the ocean waves. Apart from being the best Pranayama for thyroid cure, Ujjayi also helps in supplying enough oxygen to the lungs, removing phlegm and calming your nerves and mind.
- Sit in a comfortable position like Padmasana or Siddhasana.
- Keep your spine straight and bend your head slightly towards the trunk.
- Place your hands on your knees with palms facing upwards.
- Hold the Gyana Mudra by joining the tips of your index fingers to the tips of your thumbs.
- Close your eyes and constrict your glottis.
- Breathe out gently until your lungs become empty.
- Now draw in a slow, steady, rhythmic breath through both the nostrils.
- Feel the air pass through the constricted throat, and feel the hissing sound produced.
- Fill your lungs up to the brim, and do not extend your abdomen during the process.
- Hold your breath for a second or two.
- Now, breathe out slowly and steadily until your lungs become empty.
- After exhaling, relax the diaphragm gradually.
- Wait for a second or two before you draw in a fresh breath.
- Repeat the above cycle for five or six times.
- The flow of breath should be slow, smooth and natural.
(4) Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
‘Nadis’ are the subtle energy channels in our body, and ‘Shodhana’ denotes ‘purifying’ or ‘cleansing’ in Sanskrit. A slight obstruction in the energy channels can cause discomfort, leading to various ailments in our body. This is yet another effective Pranayama for thyroid problems, as it helps in the purification of the energy channels and blood cells. This pranayama also quietens the mind, calms the nerves, restores balance and improves cardiovascular function.
- Be seated in a comfortable position like Padmasana, Siddhasana or Sukhasana.
- Keep your back upright. Slightly lower your head towards the trunk, resting the chin in the notch between the collar-bones.
- Place your left hand on your left knee with your palms facing upwards. Hold the Gyana Mudra if you want.
- Bring your right hand to front of your face. Bend the index finger and middle finger, and keep them passive.
- Now place the right thumb on the right side of your nose just below the nasal bone.
- Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through your left nostril.
- After the inhalation, close your left nostril with your ring finger and little finger while you retain your breath for a second or two.
- Release your thumb and open your right nostril. Exhale slowly until your lungs become empty.
- Now inhale through your right nostril slowly and then close both the nostrils.
- Retain your breath for a second or two and then open your left nostril and exhale.
- Repeat the above steps four or five times.
- Retract your abdomen and contract your anus while doing this Pranayama.
(5) Anulom Vilom
This is similar to Nadi Shadhana Pranayama, except that in this Pranayama, you don’t have to retain your breath. Also, exhalation will be longer than the inhalation and should be done in the ratios of 4:6, 6:8, and so on. Regular practice of this Pranayama will help balance the doshas in your body, fortify your lungs, calm your nervous system and keep stress and depression at bay. It is also another powerful exercise in Pranayama for thyroid cure.
- Follow Steps 1-5 of Nadi Shodhana.
- Now, close your right nostril and inhale through your left nostril to a count of 4.
- Close your left nostril and exhale through your right nostril to a count of 6.
- Again, inhale through your right nostril to a count of 4 and then close it and exhale tthrough your left nostril to a count of 6.
- You can increase the counts of breathing when you become comfortable with this breathing technique.
- Repeat the above steps for at least 10 times and then relax and practice deep breathing.
(6) Brahmari Pranayama
This Pranayama is also known as ‘the humming bee Pranayama’, as you create a mild humming sound, like that of a bee, while inhaling and exhaling the breath. The word ‘Brahmari’ means ‘black bee’ in Sanskrit, hence the name of the Pranayama. This Pranayama releases tension in your head and calms down your mind. It activates the thyroid gland, as a mild pressure is felt when you produce the humming sound.
- Sit in a comfortable yogic position like Padmasana or Vajrasana.
- Keep your spine erect and stretch your shoulder blades.
- Bring both your palms to your face and close your ears with your thumbs.
- Place your index fingers above your eyebrows, middle fingers on your eyes, ring fingers on the sides of your nose and little fingers on the sides of your lips.
- Breathe in gently and then breathe out, giving a mild pressure on the sides of your nose with your ring fingers and keeping your lips pressed. Produce a humming sound while you do this.
- Repeat the pattern for four or five times. The breathing should be slow and steady.
- After you are done, release your hands and gently place the palms on your knees.
- Practise relaxed breathing and feel the calming sensation within.
5 Best Asanas in Yoga for Thyroid Control
Other than the exercises in Pranayama for thyroid control, certain asanas in Yoga can cure the thyroid as well. These Yogic asanas increase your body’s metabolism and stimulates your neck, which results in a good thyroid function. Practise them regularly and witness the changes for yourself.
‘Ustra’ denotes ‘camel’ in Sanskrit. In this yogic posture, your body will resemble that of a camel. This is one of the best asanas in yoga for thyroid control. When you bend your back and extend your neck, you will experience pressure in the thoracic region, which helps in stimulating the thyroid gland. This posture also improves the flexibility of your spine and expands your chest and abdomen.
- Sit in Vajrasana and maintain a steady breath.
- Gently get into a kneeling position, keeping your body erect and placing your hands on your hips.
- Keep your thighs and feet together, toes pointing backwards and heels facing towards the ceiling.
- Exhale, contract your buttocks and bend your back backwards, stretching your spine and chest.
- Simultaneously, bring your hands back one at a time and place them on your heels.
- Push your hips forward a little and drop your head back.
- Hold this posture for a minute or two with a steady breathing.
- Get back to the kneeling position by exhaling and bringing your head forward and hands to your hips.
- Sit in Vajrasana and relax your chest, back and abdomen.
This is yet another effective posture in yoga for thyroid cure. It is known as ‘the bow pose’, as in the final posture, your body resembles a bow. This asana massages the endocrine glands, especially the thyroid gland, and is beneficial in curing thyroid-related issues. It also regulates the digestive and reproductive organs and helps in the treatment of diabetes.
- Lie flat on your stomach with your forehead resting on the floor.
- Bend the knees and hold both ankles with your hands.
- Inhale while slightly raising your knees, head and chest at the same time.
- Lift your legs upwards with the help of your hands.
- Remain in this posture and observe a steady breathing pattern.
- Get back to the normal position by exhaling and lowering the upper body and legs.
- Lie on your stomach in Makarasana and maintain a steady, relaxed breath.
Also known as the fish pose, this is an effective posture in yoga for thyroid cure. It stretches your back and neck, relieving tension in your throat, improving blood flow and stimulating the thyroid gland.
Steps to do:
- Sit with your legs stretched on the yoga mat.
- Bring your hands alongside your body and your legs together.
- Get to the Padmasana posture by crossing your legs.
- Now slowly lie on your back with the support of your hands.
- Lift your chest slightly with the help of your hands and place the crown of your head on the floor.
- Bring your hands towards the legs and hold your toes with your fingers. Ensure that your elbows are resting on the floor.
- Breathe normally for a few minutes and relax.
- Release your head and lower your chest to the normal position.
- Now, with the help of your hands, lift yourself up slowly and get back to Padmasana.
- Extend your legs and then lie on your back in Shavasana.
- Close your eyes and maintain a steady breath.
This is one of the inverted postures and is called ‘the shoulder stand’. It creates pressure in the neck region when you rest your entire body on your shoulders therein activating the thyroid gland. Sarvangasana enhances supply of oxygen and blood to the head, keeping your mind stress free and rejuvenated.
Steps to do:
- Lie on your back in Shavasana position.
- Place a folded towel or cushion under your head for support if needed.
- Bring your hands alongside your body with the palms facing down.
- Bring your legs together and then raise them gently, to 30 degrees, then 60 degrees and finally 90 degrees. Inhale and exhale while you pause in each degree.
- With the support of your hands behind your back, lift your legs and hips, keeping your toes pointed towards the ceiling.
- Your elbows should be touching the floor when your body is stretched upwards.
- Now, contract your throat and rest your chin on the space between your collarbones.
- Remain in this position for a minute or two and then get back to the Shavasana position or continue with Halasana.
This is another effective yoga for thyroid control. Also known as the plough pose, this posture alleviates the symptoms of thyroid by stimulating the thyroid gland, giving mild pressure to your throat. It also strengthens the abdominal muscles and the back and calms the nervous system.
- Maintain the Sarvangasana posture.
- Lower your legs gently and bring them behind your head. Ensure that your toes touch the ground.
- Release your hands from your hips and stretch them towards the other direction. Place them on the floor with the palms facing down.
- Stretch your legs further and feel the contraction in your abdomen and throat.
- Hold this posture for a few minutes and then slowly bring your body back to the Shavasana position.
- Practise deep breathing while in Shavasana.
Yoga can cure the thyroid. The above-mentioned Pranayama and yogic exercises can effectively treat thyroid related disorders. Start practicing these breathing techniques and yogic exercises, if possible, under the guidance of a trained instructor, and you may no longer have to take medicines for your thyroid issues.