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Yoga Poses for Thyroid: Curing Thyroid With The Help Of Yoga

Jul 20, 2019

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of our throat which produces hormones that control metabolism in our body. Thyroid, by itself, is not an ailment. However, an imbalance in the production of hormones by this gland can lead to thyroid related problems. According to the American Thyroid Association, around 20 million Americans suffer from Thyroid related disorders and, more than 12% of the U.S. population will develop one or the other form of thyroid disorder during their lifetime. The Thyroid disorder figures are so appalling that western science is embracing eastern wisdom and age-old methods of treatment like Yoga and Pranayama once again.


What is a Thyroid Disorder?

Thyroid related ailments can be of the following three types:
 

  • Hyperthyroidism: Hypothyroidism or, overactive thyroid, occurs when the gland goes in an overactive mode, producing an excess of the thyroid hormones than what the body requires. Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder, is the most common cause of Hyperthyroidism. Nervousness, anxiety, and irritability are its symptoms. Globally, this condition affects more women than men.

 

  • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism or, an underactive thyroid, occurs when the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough hormones than required for the body's metabolism to function properly. The most common symptoms include fatigue, weakness, weight gain, hair loss, and other slow metabolism related problems. 

 

  • Thyroid cancer: A patient is said to suffer from Thyroid Cancer when the cells of his thyroid gland grow and divide in an abnormal manner. Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type of thyroid cancer. Other types are Follicular, Medullary, and Anaplastic.



What Causes Thyroid Imbalances?

Thyroid related disorders and illnesses can be caused by a number of factors like iodine deficiency, autoimmune diseases, viral or bacterial inflammation, non-cancerous lumps or nodules, cancerous tumors, radiation therapy, thyroid surgery, anxiety, and stress. Some thyroid disorders can be genetic or gestational as well. While there are no conclusive studies as to what exactly causes a thyroid related disorder in our bodies, Stress seems to be the most common culprit. In most patients, it is found that thyroid related disorders become long term if not, life-long.

Can Thyroid be treated with Yoga?

It is important to understand the essence of the science behind Yoga before initiating any treatment through it. Yoga is not "just another form of exercise"; with a 5000-year long history. Yoga stretches beyond the Asanas or poses. There are seven other limbs of Yoga which include, breathing to balance the life within, purification of mind, body and thoughts, meditation, etc. When practiced, along with correct medication, Yoga can cure multiple ailments leading the patient on a faster road to recovery.

Research has been established that Yoga, in the form of meditation and exercise, has multiple health benefits without any of the associated side effects. It helps in the reduction of stress and anxiety levels in our body and mind, thus enhancing our health. While Yoga may not be a cure for thyroid ailments on its own, regular and correct practice can lead to the maintenance of Thyroid health, therefore, preventing thyroid disorders. Studies have shown positive results when thyroid patients practiced throat-stimulating Yoga Asanas to treat their condition.

How to cure Thyroid Disorder by Yoga?

The thyroid can be regulated with the following ten Yoga-asanas. As the thyroid gland resides in our necks, most of the suggested poses are Throat-stimulating.

  • Salamba Sarvangasana - Salamba Sarvangasana or, Supported shoulder stand, is an inverted pose aimed at stimulating blood flow to the upper body glands. If performed correctly, this pose can benefit the thyroid function in our bodies.

 

  • Halasana - Halasana or, Plow pose, is a companion pose to the Salamba Sarvangasana and provides similar simulation to the Thyroid gland. It helps calm the mind and body, thus reducing stress and fatigue.

 

  • Matsyasana - Matsyasana or, Fish pose, is a complimentary pose to Sarvangasana, therefore, it should be performed after the shoulder-stand. Matsyasana helps strengthen the Thyroid by increasing blood circulation towards the gland. The deep neck curve achieved during this asana also helps open the heart and toughen the back.

 

  • Viparita Karani - Viparita Karani or, Legs-up-the-wall pose, is a passive pose and can help restore the overall body balance. This pose assists in regulating the thyroid function by relieving our body and mind of stress. Many yoga practitioners believe that this pose is effective enough to cure the body of any ailments.

 

  • Chakravakasana - Chakravakasana is a combination of the Cat pose (Marjaryasana) and the Cow pose (Bitilasana); collectively known as, the cat-cow pose. Chakravakasana helps increase blood flow to the throat region, thus, assisting the thyroid function. It also has a positive impact on the circulation of spinal fluid.

 

  • Paripurna Navasana - Paripurna Navasana or, the Boat pose, helps stimulate the thyroid, but is also found to benefit kidneys, prostate glands, and intestines. It also relieves stress and improves digestion.

 

  • Ustrasana - Ustrasana or, the Camel pose, helps stretch the entire front body, ankles, thighs, and groin, stimulating the abdomen and neck organs. It also helps strengthen the back muscles.

 

  • Bhujangasana - According to the traditional writings, Bhujangasana or, the Cobra Pose, destroys diseases and increases body heat. Like Ustrasana, it stimulates the abdominal organs, opens the heart and lungs and is considered therapeutic for asthma.

 

  • Urdhva Dhanurasana - Urdhva Dhanurasana or, the Upward Bow/wheel pose, stimulates the thyroid and the pituitary while at the same time increasing energy and counteracting depression.

 

  • Savasana - Savasana or, the Corpse pose, is essentially the art of gradually relaxing one body part at a time and is normally practiced at the end of a session. It might look like the easiest of all poses but in reality, it takes a true master to conquer the art of relaxation.


Fake Yogi or True Teacher?

Yoga has often been misunderstood and misrepresented in the Western world. Therefore, before jumping on the bandwagon, it is imperative to find the right and qualified Yoga teacher or Guru. It is equally important to consult your doctor regarding your thyroid condition before embarking on a Yoga program. It is also essential to understand and respect your body’s physical limitations.

“Yogas chitta-vrtti-nirodhah”

Yoga is the inhibition of the modifications of the mind

- Written in the “Yoga Sutras” of the Ancient Indian Sage, Patanjali
 

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