If you are wondering about how to control thyroid disorders through yoga, then this article is exactly what you need to go through. In this article we will discuss the topic in details and will also provide easy but very powerful Asanas to control thyroid disorders.
In this brief article we are going to learn what the Thyroid Gland is, what disorders it suffers, what symptoms its disorder can cause and finally, how to control it through the practice of specific yoga Asana's. So take a deep breath, and unroll your mat!
Yoga and Glands of our Body
As you may very well know, the regular practice of Yoga brings about a great number of benefits, not only for the muscles, but also to other, more inaccessible parts of our bodies, such as the bones, the nervous and lymphatic systems, the organs, among others.
One of the structures that can find great stimulation through yoga are glands. Glands are a group of cells that synthesize substances allowing them to access the bloodstream or other body cavities. There are many glands that secure our well-being, such as the Endocrine Gland, the Exocrine Gland or the Thyroid Gland, which is the one that occupies us today.
What is Thyroid Gland?
The Thyroid Gland is an organ that is part of the endocrine system whose function is to release hormones into the bloodstream. It is butterfly-shaped and it is located at the base of the neck below the Adam's apple (as you can see in the picture below).
The hormones that are freed by this gland are in charge of regulating very important body functions such as: body temperature, cholesterol levels, menstrual cycles and muscle strength, heart rate and breathing, body weight, the nervous system (both central and peripheral).
Even though this gland produces, stores and releases several types of hormones, two are the most important ones: the Triiodothyronine (T3) and the Thyroxine (T4). It is necessary for the correct functioning of the body that both these hormones maintain stables levels, neither too high nor too low as they are the ones that regulate the speed of the cells’ metabolism.
The hypothalamus and the pituitary are the structures of the brain in charge of controlling the T3 and T4 hormones in the Thyroid.
What is a Thyroid Disorder and What are its Symptoms?
Thyroid Disorders occur when hormone levels are not properly regulated. The most common disorders are Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism.
On the one hand, the former comes about when T3 and T4 levels are too high which can cause the following symptoms: irritability, anxiety, hyperactivity, heavy sweating, sensitivity to high temperatures, hair loss and trembling hands, missed or light menstrual periods.
The latter is caused by low T3 and T4 levels. Symptoms of Hypothyroidism include: insomnia, fatigue, weakness, dry skin and hair, depression, difficulty concentrating, sensitivity to cold temperatures, abundant menstrual periods, joint and muscle pains.
Yoga Asanas to Control Thyroid Disorders
Luckily, Yoga provides a series of asanas that help keep the Thyroid Gland in a healthy state. Pranayama exercises are also useful as for example, Ujjayi breathing.
It is important to understand that if your body shows thyroid-related symptoms, you should first consult a doctor for correct check-up and treatment. If you have never practiced yoga, you should also consult your doctor before engaging in its discipline.
Let us now take a look into some of the recommended asanas for keeping a healthy Thyroid.
7 Asans's For Healthy Thyroid in Details
# 1 Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose)
This inverted position is perfect for controlling thyroxine, the main hormone which is released from the Thyroid Gland. While being upside down, blood flows strongly from the feet to the head, adding pressure and extra blood flow on the Thyroid.
In this way, blood circulation improves and squeezes out stagnant secretions in the area. Blood is released strongly around the whole area of the neck. This asana is especially beneficial for combating hypothyroidism.
How to Salamba Sarvangasana?
To do the shoulderstand pose, place tidily on the floor 2 or three folder blankets as to form a small, smooth platform where to place your shoulders. Lie on the blankets with your shoulders on the blanket-support and your head on the floor.
Place your arms and hands alongside your torso, bend your knees and bring your thighs up towards your belly and with core strength pull your legs and feet up to the air until you reach a vertical position and your back and pelvis are lifted off the ground.
Once in the air, pull your shoulders as inside your upper back as you can, fold your arms and grab your upper back with the palms of your hands. Balance your body weight on the shoulders and upper arms, pushing firmly with them on the ground, while pulling upward towards the ceiling with you straight, active legs.
For beginners, this pose should be held for 30 seconds. As you advance in your practice, add 10 seconds every day until you can comfortably maintain the pose for 10 minutes.
Also read our recent post on Top 7 Yoga DVDs For Weight Loss In 2020.
# 2 Halasana (Plough Pose)
Halasana compresses the neck, and as a result, the Thyroid gland is stimulated and hormones are released. It is a fantastic pose when having Hypothyroidism but should not be practiced if what you suffer from is Hyperthyroidism as hormone secretion into the bloodstream increases. Other benefits of Halasana: back muscles are stretched, abdominal muscles are strengthened, it calms the brain as it relaxes the autonomous nervous system and reduces stress.
How to do halasana ?
To get into this pose, you first have to go up to Salamba Sarvangasana. Once there, you have to pull both your legs, really straight, backwards until your toes reach the ground.
Using your toes’ pressure on the floor as support, pull your arms firmly down and straight onto the ground, hold your hands together and reject the floor while keeping your back straight. Keep this pose from 30 seconds up to 1 minute.
# 3 Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
In this asana the neck is stretched in a very intense way, stimulating the Thyroid Gland and healing some of its associated symptoms. It helps against depression and mood swings while relaxing the body and reducing stress levels. Joints and muscles are also benefited from this pose.
How to do The Fish Pose ?
The Fish Pose is very intense for both your neck and upper back, so you may help yourself with a block in order to perform it comfortably, until your back is strong enough to maintain the pose without props.
Sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose) on the floor with stretched legs and back. Lie on the floor facing up while lifting up to the top of your head. Elevate your upper back to open and broaden your chest and shoulders.
Place your hands and arms under your body or straight next to your torso under.
# 4 Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
As we have seen with the other asanas, poses that stretch your neck are beneficial for the Thyroid Gland.This happens with the Bridge Pose as the neck is stretched backwards and pressed firmly towards the ground thanks to the action of the pelvis and legs.
How to do The Bridge Pose?
on your back, fold your legs towards your bottom. From there and with firm legs, pull your pelvis up, rotate your shoulders back and into your scalps, and stretch your arms firmly towards your feet, pressing hard against the ground.
Open and broaden your chest, elevate your sternum and pull your chin gently towards it. Hold between 5 breaths and a whole minute.
# 5 Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Similar to previous asanas, Bhujangasana compresses and stretches the neck in a way that regulates the Thyroid Gland as blood circulation increases in the whole area of the neck. As it stimulates hormone release, it is especially recommended for cases of Hypothyroidism.
How to do The Cobra Pose?
Lie on the floor face down and stretch your legs and feet firmly. Place your hands under your shoulders with the palms wide open.
Press your legs and pubis towards the floor while bending your back, growing upwards. Once you have reached your utmost stretch, pull your head backwards, opening your chest and pulling your shoulders and scalps into your body as much as you possibly can.
Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and release.
# 6 Sirsasana(Headstand Pose)
Sometimes known as the king of asanas, this posture works directly on the Thyroid Gland, as blood irrigates profusely into the whole neck area, stimulating the release of hormones and balancing the metabolic functions of our whole body.
How to do The Headstand Pose?
For headstands you first need to strengthen your abdominal area, shoulders and back in order to avoid hurting yourself. Once you are strong enough, from adho mukha svanasana, place your lower arms firmly on the floor and hold your hands together.
Sustaining that pose, start walking towards your hands and resisting with a straight back. When you cannot walk forward anymore, tilt your balance from your hips towards your arms and pull your legs straight towards the ceiling.
For beginners, hold 10 seconds and with regular practice you will be able to hold up to 10 minutes before releasing your legs down to the ground again.
Also, check out our article on How To Do Yoga Headstand
# 7 Ustrasana(Camel Pose)
Especially helpful against Hypothyroidism, Ustrasana opens your whole front body while exercising pressure on your Thyroid Gland, stimulating the whole area. Its benefits are similar to postures such as Bhujangasana or Matsyasana.
How to do The Camel Pose?
Sit down with your bottom on your feet. Place your hands on your hips. Affirm your legs, pull your tailbone towards your knees while expanding the chest, pulling your shoulders back and tightening your gluts.
Tuck your chin slightly inwards and maintain these actions, place your hands on top of your feet. Press your hands firmly so as to open your chest more and finally pull your head back.
Last but not the least, Pranayama for healthy thyroid
Finally, we recommend closing your practice for Thyroid healing with some Pranayama. It is believed that the so called Ujjayi breathing technique can help keep your hormone levels at an equilibrium and modify Thyroid related disorders once they exist.
This breathing technique helps reduce stress while energizing your whole being, making t¡your breath long and sooth. The main characteristic of Ujjayi is the soft constriction of your throat to create some resistance in the passage of air through your throat.
This gentle caress and pressure on the throat (that should, at the same time, be relaxed) is also a very useful way of stimulating the Thyroid gland and its hormone secretion.
Also, do not forget to read our post on Can Yoga Build Muscles?
Concluding Thoughts on How To Control Thyroid Disorders Through Yoga
Firstly you must understand that yoga is a slow and gentle technique to improve your overall health. Hence, in case you need immediate support you must see and doctor and seek his advice. However as a slow long and no adverse side effects process, yoga can be continued along with medication as suggested by the doctor.
As per our experience a lot of people has been able to control thyroid disorders over a period of time with yoga. So, we believe it should work for you too.
Also, read our post on How Yoga Works?