Yoga poses for hypothyroidism

Yoga poses for hypothyroidism

In yoga several poses work directly on the thyroid gland, regulating its function and hormonal release. Careful yogic therapy can act as a perfect complement to any medical therapy for thyroid problems while the problem exists. For those without any problem, maintaining a regular yoga programme can act as a preventive. This is crucial since despite its tiny presence in the throat, the thyroid manipulates our metabolism and energy levels.

Hypothyroidism, according to medical opinion, may be associated with those with blood sugar problems, liver problems and arthritis. It also seems to be the side-effect in certain cases of treatment to hyperthyroidism. Certain medications or surgeries also seem to trigger it. Malnutrition and wrong diet (including certain food items that block iodine absorption) can also be contributors.

Symptoms are often confusing, because they can be mistaken for natural tiredness and emotional stressors, including lack of motivation. Other less visible connections include weight gain, chronic fatigue, PMS mood swings in women, overall lethargy, dryness of skin and hair (usually referred to as a vata derangement in ayurvedic parlance).

Constipation, mental lethargy and dullness, excessive hair fall, depression and carpal tunnel syndrome and inability to tolerate cold are also indicated. Since emotions and the thyroid are so delicately linked, it becomes very difficult to pinpoint the malaise.

In hypothyroidism, for instance, the sense of paranoia can be heightened. Intriguingly, often the treatment meant to contain one spectrum of the thyroid problem can trigger the opposite effect if not carefully monitored, confounding overall treatment long-term.

This is where having a well-charted yoga practice can help in acting as a perfect complement for medical treatment. Unlike with hyperthyroidism which involves a more precise yogic therapy, hypothyroidism responds well even to a general chart of yogic practices with emphasis on those which work on the throat.

Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, shows you four yoga practices to manage hypothyroidism.

Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand)

Lie on your back with your legs together, hands along the sides of your body. Inhale and hoist your legs off the ground, simultaneously lifting your hips. Prop your hips with both hands, resting your entire body weight on your hands.

Hold this pose for a few seconds initially, slowly increasing duration in the final pose with regular practice. To return to the starting position, place your hands back on the ground with your palms down. Lower your hips back gently, and then finally drop your legs gently back to ground.

Avoid: Doing on your own if you are a beginner. This instruction is directed at those already practicing yoga, to perfect the shoulderstand.

Benefits: It is a powerful pose, working on the thyroid. The blood flow to the head also work on the pituitary and hypothalamus, both glands in the brain actively involved with thyroid hormone regulation and flow. The lungs get decongested, making breathing more efficient. The entire organ and glandular systems are rejuvenated, due to the drag of gravity (as happens with all inversions). Even your face looks younger due to increased blood flow. It is a pose that works on all systems of the body, keeping you fit and young.

Kandharasana (Shoulder pose)

Lie on your back. Fold your legs at the knees, placing your feet flat on the ground beside your hips. Grasp your ankles with each hand. Inhale and hoist your hips off the ground. Exhale and gently lower them back to ground. This is one round. Do five to ten rounds initially, increasing either the duration in the final pose (in which case, you must continue normal breathing throughout) or the number of rounds.

Relax back to the corpse pose, body on the ground, feet apart, hands away from body, eyes shut, for a few minutes.

Benefits: Works on the thyroid gland powerfully, boosting metabolism. Powers the lungs. Tones your hips, thighs and legs.

Kapalabhati (Skull-cleansing breathing practice)

Sit in a meditative pose. Place your hands in a mudra or hand gesture, on your knees. Inhale and exhale gently a few times. After inhaling deeply, begin to exhale with gentle force, about 10 times initially. Rest for a few seconds, with normal breathing. This is one round. Do up to five rounds. With practice, increase the number of hyperventilations to 30 or more.

Avoid: If having heart problems or high blood pressure. All pranayama and kriya practices like this are best learnt only under expert guidance.

Benefits: Boosts metabolism and thyroid function. Removes mental and physical lethargy. Is a cleansing practice, preparing you for higher practices. Powers lungs. Eases depression.

Gyan mudra (Wisdom hand gesture)

To do this, touch the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb. Do this for each hand. Shut your eyes while holding mudras for better impact. You may use this while meditating or while doing your breathing practices. You need to hold this for at least five minutes for impact. The ideal time is during the vata periods of the day -- early mornings or afternoons -- for more impact.

Benefits: It is said to increase the air element, according to ayurveda. It removes lethargy and works on the nervous system by energising it.



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