Numerous yoga asanas promote blood flow in the thyroid gland. In this article you will learn about 11 yoga poses for thyroid problems- This aids in the treatment of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in front of the neck, around the windpipe. The thyroid plays a crucial role in our body by producing and managing thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism. The body transforms the food we eat into energy, through a process called metabolism. The body uses this energy to maintain the proper functioning of all the organ systems.
Our entire body may be affected if the thyroid gland is not functioning properly. Hyperthyroidism is a disorder that can occur if our body produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormone.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body produces insufficient thyroid hormone. Both require medical attention.
Yoga Poses for Thyroid Problems
The hormone levels can be balanced with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle choices.
According to studies, doing yoga regularly is good for thyroid health. It aids in keeping thyroid-stimulating hormones and cholesterol levels stable.
This study demonstrates the effectiveness of regular yoga practice for six months in treating thyroid issues.
Pro Tip: Always get medical advice and consult an expert before beginning any new workout routine, especially yoga.
Who has a greater risk of developing thyroid disease?
Anyone can develop thyroid illness, including men, women, children, teenagers, and the elderly. It can develop over time (often after menopause in women), or be present at birth (hypothyroidism is most common).
A thyroid disorder may be more likely to affect you if you:
- have a family history of thyroid illness.
- have a medical disorder, such as type 1 diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, Turner syndrome, pernicious anemia, primary adrenal insufficiency, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis.
- take iodine-rich medications (amiodarone).
- are above 60, particularly in women.
- have undergone treatment for cancer or a thyroid problem in the past (thyroidectomy or radiation).
What common signs and symptoms are present in thyroid disease?
If you have thyroid disease, you could experience a wide range of symptoms.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid):
- putting on weight
- Extreme tiredness
- heavy and frequent menstrual cycles
- dry hair and skin
- hair loss
- hoarse voice
- sensitivity to cold
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid):
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Heart palpitations
- have a goiter or an enlarged thyroid.
- sensitivity to heat
- mood swings
- irregular menstrual cycles or stopping of the menstrual cycle
Below are the recommended yoga poses for Thyroid problems.
Yogasanas for Hypothyroidism
The following asanas are suggested, if you have hypothyroidism.
1. Sarvangasana or Shoulder stand
Sarvanga is the Sanskrit word for ‘the entire body. It is obvious from the name that it benefits the entire body. Sarvangasana is one of the most effective yoga poses for Thyroid problems.
Steps to do Sarvangasana:
a. Lay flat on the mat with your feet together and your hands by your side.
b. Exhale while raising your legs high enough to form a right angle with your body. Keep the legs straight.
c. At this point, while continuing to exhale, raise the arms, hold the waist, and push the body as high as you can. Put all the body weight on your arms and elbows.
d. Try now to slowly move your hands towards your waist with your fingers reaching to the back of your hipbones and your thumbs resting on either side of your navel.
e. Hold this position for as long as comfortable, but not more than two minutes.
f. With the support of the hands and an inhalation, slowly bend the knees and then gently descend the hips toward the mat.
2. Halasana or Plow pose
Like Sarvangasana, the Plow pose is also beneficial for the entire body. By pressing the region of the neck and thyroid, Halasana aids in the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
Steps to do Halasana:
a. Lie on a mat with your face up.
b. Straighten your legs toward the ceiling.
c. Lift your hips off the ground and roll up until your shoulders are supporting you.
d. Put your hips higher than your shoulders.
e. Reach the ground behind you with your toes by slowly lowering your legs backward over your head. Feet flexed, place your toes on the ground or close to it.
f. Place your arms on the ground with your palms facing down or clasped.
g. Hold for at least five breaths.
h. Unclasp your hands and carefully lower your legs to the floor to leave while keeping your core engaged.
3. Matsyasana or Fish pose
The Fish Pose is a great yoga posture to do after a shoulder stand or Plow pose since it extends the body in the opposite direction.
Fish Pose is traditionally done with the legs in Padmasana (Lotus Pose). Since Padmasana is beyond the range of motion for the majority of beginners, it can be performed with the legs straight and flat against the ground. Below are the steps to do the easier version of Matsyasana.
Steps to do Matsyasana:
a. Lay down on the yoga mat, facing up.
b. Place your hands under your buttocks.
c. The fingers should point in the direction of your toes.
d. Gradually lower the head back until it touches the mat at the back of the head.
e. Breathe deeply three times while keeping the chest open.
f. Release the posture gradually and slowly.
4. Janu Sirsasana or One-legged Forward Bend
‘Janu‘ means ‘knee and ‘Sirsa‘ refers to ‘head’.
While performing this pose, the trunk is bent forward so the head touches the knee, hence the name Janu sirsasana.
Steps to do Janu Sirsasana:
a. Sit with your legs outstretched in front of you.
b. Bend your right knee and bring the sole of your right foot to your left inner thigh.
c. Breathe in, then raise your arms upward.
d. Bend forward and grab your left toe with your hands as you exhale.
e. As you continue to exhale, bend your body forward and bring your head to your left knee.
f. For 30 to 60 seconds, hold the position while inhaling deeply.
g. Take a deep breath in and raise your head, torso, and arms upwards.
h. Draw your hands to your sides, exhale, and extend your right leg.
i. Now repeat the same steps by bending the left knee.
5. Chakra vakasana or Cat-cow pose
A gradual transition between two positions known as Cat Pose (marjary asana) and cow pose (Bitilasana) warms the body and makes the spine more flexible. It’s also said that the fluid motion of the cat-cow pose stimulates your thyroid. It helps to open the chest, and gently stimulates and strengthens the abdominal organs.
How to do Cat-cow pose:
a. Place your knees beneath your hips and wrists beneath your shoulders as you get down on your hands and knees.
b. Breathe in and make a cow pose.
c. Tuck in your toes.
d. Position your pelvis so that your tailbone protrudes.
e. Make sure your neck is the last part of your spine to move as you let this movement ripple up from your tailbone.
f. Your tummy drops, but by pulling your navel in, you can keep your abdominal muscles tight.
g. Without bending your neck, slowly lift your gaze to the ceiling.
h. Exhale and round for the cat pose
i. Allow your feet to touch the ground.
j. Tuck your tailbone while tilting your pelvis forward. Allow your spine to be moved by this action.
k. Bring your navel in close to your spine.
l. Lower your head and fix your attention on your navel.
m. For five to ten breaths, perform the Cat-Cow Stretch.
6. Bhujangasana or The Cobra Pose
‘Bhujanga’ means Cobra. It is one the most recommended Yoga poses for Thyroid problems. This position stretches the neck and throat, improving thyroid function. Bhujangasana is recommended for those who suffer from neck or back pain as it helps to tone and strengthen the muscles.
Caution: If you have a hernia, or ulcer, or have recently had abdominal surgery, avoid doing this pose.
Steps to do Bhujang-asana
a. Lie down on your stomach with your toes flat on the ground.
b. Keep your legs together, such that your heels are slightly touching.
c. The palms of both hands should be touching the ground beneath the shoulders, and the elbows should be parallel to and close to the torso.
d. Lift your head, chest, and abdomen slowly while inhaling deeply. Keep your navel on the ground.
e. With the help of your hands, raise your torso off the ground and backward. Make sure both palms are receiving the same amount of pressure.
f. As you arch your spine, continue to breathe consciously. Try to arch your back as much as you can while straightening your arms; tilt your head back and look up.
g. Hold the position for 4-5 breaths.
h. Exhale now, then relax by lowering your head, chest, and abdomen back to the floor.
7. Urdhva-Dhanurasana or The Wheel Pose
Also known as Chakrasana or Full-Wheel Pose and Upward Bow Pose, it is a back-bending pose that involves the entire body. It opens the chest and tones the thighs, belly, and arms. It also encourages energy flow to the thyroid region by opening your neck.
Steps to do the Wheel pose:
a. Lie on your back.
b. Bend your knees. Your feet should be flat on the floor, and about a foot distant from your hips.
c. Your fingers should be facing your shoulders when you place your hands on the floor slightly above your shoulders.
d. Lift your upper body off the mat by pressing onto your hands and placing your head softly on the mat.
e. Lift your legs, pelvis, and abdomen off the mat by pressing onto your feet.
f. Increase your foot pressure so that more of your weight is supported by your palms. It will protect your lower back.
g. Make sure not to strain your neck, let your head hang in a neutral position.
h. Hold for five to ten breaths.
i. To get out of the pose, slowly lower your arms and legs while bringing your spine back to the mat.
Yogasanas for Hyperthyroidism
The following asanas are suggested if you have hyperthyroidism.
1. Ustrasana or The Camel Pose
The camel pose improves blood flow to the thyroid gland by stretching the neck. It also loosens the vertebrae, eases lower back pain, enhances posture, and decreases thigh fat. It can also be done by people with Hypothyroidism.
Steps to do Ustrasana:
a. Stand on your knees. Keep your thighs straight.
b. Lean backward. With your right hand, reach the right heel, and your left hand, the left heel.
c. Move the hips forward. The thighs should remain vertical.
d. Without straining, bend the head and spine as far back as you can.
e. Legs and arms should equally support the body’s weight.
f. Maintain the back arch as long as it’s comfortable for you.
g. Return to the starting position after releasing the hands from the heels one by one.
2. Balasana or Child Pose
The ‘Balasana’ also referred to as ‘Shishu asana’, is a pose that reduces tension. It elongates the thighs, hips, and ankles. As a result, it can help in calming someone down and hence aid in the treatment of hyperthyroidism.
Steps to do Child Pose:
a. Kneel on the floor with your feet together and your knees hip-width apart (in Vajrasana pose). Your palms should be on the top of your thighs.
b. Lower your torso between your knees while exhaling.
c. With your palms down, extend your arms parallel to your torso.
d. As you move your shoulders down, relax.
e. Rest as long as needed in the position.
3. Setu-bandhasana or The Bridge Pose
Another excellent yoga pose for thyroid function is the bridge pose. It stretches the back of the neck and increases blood flow. Additionally, it’s thought that the chin lock position stimulates the thyroid.
Steps to do the Bridge pose:
a. Lie on your back with your knees bent, your legs and feet parallel and hip-distance apart.
b. Bring your feet closer to your buttocks. Inhale to lift your hips and firmly press down with both of your feet.
c. Place your hands on the floor behind your back. Get on top of your shoulders and enlarge your collarbones.
d. Roll your upper thighs inward and tighten your shins on the outside.
e. Keep your thighs parallel and push your buttocks and back of your thighs even higher by pressing down firmly through your heels.
f. Exhale, release your hands, and lower yourself to the ground.
g. Let your back relax into a neutral position.
4. Shavasana or Corpse Pose
Shavasana is a great posture that allows for complete relaxation and stress relief. The thyroid gland benefits from the way your neck is positioned in this pose.
Steps to do Shavasana:
a. Lie flat on your back. Legs should be separated.
b. Keep your arms by your sides, facing upward.
c. Keep your eyes closed and take a few slow, deep breaths.
d. Start focusing on each body part, starting with your feet and moving up to your head.
e. Imagine your body being completely relaxed as you breathe in and out.
f. On each exhalation, allow your anxiety, stress, depression, and tension to leave.
g. This pose can be performed for three to five minutes.
Besides these yoga poses for Thyroid problems, you should also practice Meditation, Anulom-Vilom kriya, Surya namaskar, and Ujjayi pranayama.
Fast-paced Surya Namaskar is good for Hypothyroidism whereas slow-paced sun salutation is advised for hyperthyroidism.
Since stress is thought to be one of the main causes of thyroid disease, meditation helps to reduce daily stress and keep the mind calm. It also helps to chant “Om” for a few minutes each day. Put your palm on your thyroid gland after chanting, and feel that the thyroid gland is getting healed.
Disclaimer: It is always recommended to work with a professional and experienced yoga trainer to reduce the danger of injuries.
In conclusion, one of the most efficient ways to prevent thyroid issues and improve thyroid health is through yoga. However, these yoga poses for Thyroid problems should not be viewed as a substitute for medication.
wishing you a healthy thyroid