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Balance the butterfly

  • Published at 05:04 pm July 5th, 2018
  • Last updated at 09:12 pm July 5th, 2018

5 yoga poses to combat thyroid disorders

The thyroid is a small gland in the throat that secretes hormones. These hormones affect a person’s metabolism, body temperature and growth. Any dysfunction in the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck results in thyroid disorders. The thyroid gland is regulated by thyroid stimulation hormone (TSH), which is made by the pituitary gland in the brain. Normally, when thyroid  hormone levels in the body are high, they will “switch off” the production of TSH, which in turn stops the thyroid from making more T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine). Problems occur when the thyroid gland becomes either inactive (hypothyroidism) or overactive (hyperthyroidism). Thyroid problems are more common in women than men.

Causes

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition where the body makes antibodies that destroy parts of the thyroid gland. There are different causes of hyperthyroidism. Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. This condition occurs when the immune system produces on antibody that stimulates the entire thyroid gland; this leads to higher levels of thyroid hormones.

Fighting back with yoga

Yoga can play a role in the treatment of thyroid disorder. The various stretching, twisting and compressing yoga poses massage the thyroid gland and instruct it to release thyroxin, regulating metabolism. The following yoga poses focus on stimulating the throat and the neck where the thyroid is located. Here are five yoga poses to treat thyroid disorders and lead a better life. 

Shoulder Stand pose

It helps in stimulating thyroid glands and controls thyroxin. In this particular pose, the blood flows from the legs to the head region due to the inverted pose which helps in mitigating thyroids. 

Lie still on a mat and slowly raise your lags toward the ceiling. Press the ground with your palms and lift your legs so that they are perpendicular to the ground, keep your elbow on the floor and support your waist with your palms. The weight of your body should rest on your shoulder blades. Take a normal breath and hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Now slowly bring back your legs to the ground and rest for half a minute before you try the next pose.

Fish Pose

This stretches the neck hence stimulating the thyroid gland, provides gentle healing suited to the needs of thyroid patients, lowers stress levels and reduces the stiffness of muscles and joints. 

Sit cross legged on the floor and assume the lotus position, without removing your legs or knees from the ground, slowly arch your upper body backward. Try to raise your chest, keeping the crown or forehead on the mat or floor. The weight of your upper body is carried by the head, and you should feel the stretch in your throat and neck. Breathe normally, and hold the pose 30 seconds to 1 minute. Now gently release your head and upper body and take a rest 30 seconds and ready for next.

Rabbit Pose

 This pose feeds the nervous system with fresh blood and oxygen. It rejuvenates the thyroid and para-thyroid gland, balancing and regulating your body’s metabolism and calcium. 

From a kneeling position, reach back and grab your heels, with your thumbs facing outside. Engage your core and bend forward, pressing your forehead to your knees. Inhale, lift your hips high, rolling forward like a wheel until your elbows are locked and you can feel this wonderful pressing of the throat. Breathe normally and hold the posture for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Gently release your neck, and revert back to starting position.

Camel Pose

It stimulates the thyroid activity by stretching the neck and allowing blood circulation to the gland. 

Kneel down with your heels facing the ceiling and your ankles touching the ground. Keep your upper body straight. Slowly arch backward toward your toes, trying to keep your chest parallel to your legs. Place your hands on your heels and bend your neck backward, feeling the stretch in your neck and throat. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute and breathe normally. Now gently release your hands and lie down, resting your chest on the mat for 30 seconds, before you move on to the next pose. 

Ujjayi Pranayama

This is the most effective pranayama for thyroid problems. It works on the throat area, reducing hyper and hypothyroidism. Its healing effect is due to stimulation of reflex pathways within the throat area, which in turn activates the thyroid gland. This practice also gives direct access to the pranic and psychic network, the substructure of metabolic activity. 

Sit in a comfortable yoga meditative pose like sukhasana or padmasana. Draw in a long, deep breath through nostrils. Exhale thoroughly through your mouth producing a “HHAAA” sound from your throat. Repeat the sound 5 to 10 times in one go. Remember, start off by practicing it 3 times a day and gradually build it up to 10. 

Tips:

Include high fiber food in your diet. Take lots of fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables. Avoid cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli if you suffer from hyperthyroidism.

Reduce the intake of fats and carbohydrates limit the intake of non-vegetarian food, milk products, spicy food, refined and fast food and food items with preservatives. 

The writer is a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance USA. Check out his website at www.saldinyoga.com