Those of you suffering from hypothyroidism often have very little energy to perform exercises with. It’s hard enough just making it through the day without the added stress of exercising and working out. One great type of exercise that people who have a hypothyroid and struggle with its effects is yoga.
Yoga practice includes physical and mental stretching exercises that build muscle, regulate weight, increase flexibility, and improve your range of motion. When you include the meticulous breathing exercises also featured in yoga, you get the mental relief associated with the practice. Yoga helps us undo stiffness and weakness, while increasing our body awareness and muscular efficiency. When you engage in a daily asana (yoga posture) practice, the benefits increase over time.
When you are fatigued and unable to force yourself to do strenuous exercise routines, yoga is an excellent alternative to increase your stamina and well-being. Yoga not only helps to strengthen and relax the body, but the mind as well!
Body Core Focus
Yoga exercises focus on the core of the body and making the core stronger. When you strengthen the core you strengthen the rest of the body as well. The core is located in the trunk area and includes your mid to lower back and abdomen. Strengthening the abdominal muscles also help strengthen the back muscles. You suffer from less back pain when you develop solid core strength.
A large part of yoga focuses on correct breathing techniques. The state of our breath parallels the state of our mind. Dealing with thyroid disorder can be incredibly stressful. When we regulate our breathing, it has a direct effect on our minds. Calm, steady breathing encourages a calm, steady mind.
Even sitting upright in a chair and breathing steadily and evenly is a great tool to help reduce stress and calm the mind. One does not need to sit in lotus position to reap the benefits of yoga!
Yoga works the body without applying the stresses of aerobic exercises and cardiovascular exercise routines. You will find that the slow and steady repetition of the yoga routines will create more balance and allow all of your systems to function better including your thyroid gland and endocrine system organs.
7 Yoga Postures for Supporting Healthy Thyroid Function:
Yoga practice has been shown to alleviate the disease-related symptoms of thyroid disease.
Note the comments alongside the exercises listed below. Some exercises are recommended for practice in the case of hypothyroidism and in case of hyper-activity of the thyroid gland, because they contribute to balancing thyroid functions. Some exercises are recommended only in the case of hypothyroidism and some are recommended only in case of hyper-activity of the thyroid gland. Some of the exercises are forbidden to practice if you have an enlarged thyroid, or severe thyrotoxicosis.
We set the exercises listed below in the order we believe is highly recommended. Even If you choose to practice only part of the exercises, you will benefit. If you do all the poses, do them in the order listed.
If the exercise is painful just stop doing it and move along to the next one.
- Ujjayi breathing and meditation – Sit in a comfortable position. Close the eyes, turn the attention to the breath. Close the back of the throat slightly and say “hhhhaaaahhhh” as if you were going to fog up a mirror. Close the mouth, keep the back of the throat gently closed, and continue to make the quiet “shushing” sound as you breath. This type of breathing calms the mind, reduces stress and energizes the throat chakra.
- Cobra Pose: Bhujangasana (recommended yoga pose for hypothyroidism) – Lie on the belly on the floor. Bring legs together, pressing tops of feet to floor. Place hands on the floor on either side of the ribcage, drawing shoulder blades together. Use the muscles of the back to lift the chest off the floor and look up. For extra added benefit to the thyroid, wrap lower lip over upper lip to stretch the front of the neck. This gently massages the thyroid gland.
- Fish Pose: Matsyasana (do not do in case of an enlarged thyroid gland or in case of severe thyrotoxicosis) – Lie on back, and prop yourself up onto your elbows. Turn palms up by the sides, and draw shoulder blades together. Lift chest, drop head back (if comfortable). Head can also be placed on block or pillow for support. Once again, lower lip can be wrapped over upper lip for an additional neck stretch to address the thyroid.
- Vipareeta Karani Mudra: Attitude Reversing Pose (recommended for hypothyroidism; do not practice in the case of an enlarged thyroid gland or in the case of severe thyrotoxicosis) – Lie on the back, near a wall. Turn so that the seat is on the wall and legs go straight up the wall. A bolster, folded blanket or pillow may also be placed under lower back for additional elevation. Relax here for as long as you like. You may even place an eye pillow over the eyes to enhance relaxation.
- Bridge Pose: Setu Bandhasana – Lie on back with feet close to seat flat on floor. Keep spine neutral as you gently lift the hips. Draw the shoulder blades together underneath you. Create a straight line from shoulders to hips, so as not to overarch the lumbar spine. Keep the neck soft. This pose gently massages the thyroid. Stay no longer than 5 breaths. Repeat if desired.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique: Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (enables to balance metabolism) – This technique is done in a comfortable seated position. Using the right hand, place thumb on right nostril, and ring finger on left nostril. First two fingers may be placed on the forehead or may be dropped into the palm of the hand. Close right nostril with thumb, inhale through the left nostril to a count of four. Close the left nostril with the ring finger while releasing the thumb, exhale through the right nostril to a count of four. Inhale through the right nostril to a count of four. Switch, and exhale through the left nostril to a count of four. This counts as one round of Nadi Shodhana. Do 5 – 10 rounds to optimize the effects of this practice.
- Yogic Relaxation Pose: Shavasana – Lie comfortably on your back. You may roll up a blanket or place a bolster under the knees if the lower back feels any strain. Place hands, palms up by the sides. Turn head slowly from side to side to release any tension in the neck, before coming to rest in the center. Completely relax the body and let go of any control over the breath. Visualize a white light pouring into the thyroid, lighting up the cells. Remain here for 10 minutes.
The thyroid gland produces hormones that help to regulate your metabolism, heart rate, and help to stabilize your body. When there is an imbalance in this system there is an imbalance in every system of the body.
Performing yoga is a non-stressful way to keep your body in good condition and keep from overworking your thyroid gland and causing it to become less productive. You will find that the less stress you put on your thyroid the better the gland is able to function. The stress-reducing effects of yoga are a powerful tool for anyone suffering from thyroid disease.