We have all heard about the benefits of meditation, but did you know that a steady meditation practice helps alleviate the symptoms of thyroid disease?
One of the biggest ways in which meditation helps us is by reducing stress, and stress is one of the major factors contributing to the symptoms of thyroid disorders.
Stress is a killer. It suppresses immune function, increases our risk of heart disease and produces anxiety. It also contributes to a rise in autoimmune antibodies, which can lead to a flare up and increase in symptoms.
In order to optimize our wellbeing, even as we learn to minimize the effects of thyroid disease, meditation is a powerful tool to have in our toolkit. Not only does meditation reduce stress and the effects stress has on our body, it also gives us space to connect with the inner wisdom of the body.
For many of us with thyroid disease, we feel as if we are at war with our bodies. It is cold when we want to be warm. It is tired when we really need energy. It gains weight when we work so hard at the gym. It feels sluggish even when we change our diet. Thyroid disease is stressful enough in itself, but dealing with the unpredictability in the symptoms can raise stress levels through the roof.
Meditation practice helps those of us with thyroid disease not only to counteract the symptoms and autoimmune flares by reducing stress, but it also helps us to calm our minds and develop a sense of peace with our bodies.
When we develop a dialogue with our body, it becomes our ally rather than our enemy.
We’ll never hear if we don’t take the time to listen.
To that end, here is a meditation practice that helps you open up the pathways of communication within yourself. This meditation practice is best done as a part of a daily ritual of self care (including other yoga practices, journaling, or light exercise).
There are no rules to how long a meditation practice must be, but try starting small and working your way up. Two minutes to begin with is a great start! Some days you have more time, some days less. Remember, your meditation practice must suit your busy life, and we never need to feel guilty about “not having enough time.” Simply take the time you have, and move on with your day.
Thyroid Healing Meditation Practice
Use this meditation practice as a way to clear the mind and allow for insight to arise from within your body. The whole point of this practice is to allow the mind to settle. By focusing on the breath, the mind remains occupied so that parts of your body – especially your thyroid – might offer messages that you need to hear. Our objective is to establish communication between the mind and body so that we may develop resilience and optimize our wellbeing.
- The seat must be comfortable, in order to be held for long periods of time.
- Feel free to sit on a blanket, bolster, cushion, or even a chair.
- Ensure the spine is upright, refrain from leaning against something or lying down (this helps to focus your attention)
Remain Steady & Focus
- Remain completely still and quiet once the seat is chosen.
- If there is pain, please readjust your seat and make sure no injury is being done to the body
- Resist the urge to shift position, scratch an itch or peek. Internal discomfort and external distractions are tricks of the mind to retain control. Let it soften, and know that you are okay even if you don’t scratch the itch or if your foot falls asleep!
- To avoid the distraction of time, set a timer for the amount of time available. This frees you to place all your focus on the practice at hand.
Connection, Awakening, Insight
- This is our opportunity to completely let go of all daily distractions (phone, family, emails, work, worries, etc.). For this time, there is absolutely nothing but you and the practice.
- Shift your focus away from the outside world, and move it to the breath.
- Watch and feel the breath move in and out at the tip of the nose.
- Do not manipulate the breath in any way, just feel and observe it.
- If the attention wanders, simply bring it back to the breath.
- While watching the breath, you may utilize any (or all) of the following invocations to invite other parts of yourself to offer sensation, awakening, healing, and insight.
- Place the hands on the part of the body you are invoking for insight and/or healing.
- *the healing invocations may produce feelings of heat, darkness or heaviness as the higher self does its work.
- It is best to say the invocations out loud to recruit your whole body/mind/spirit complex into the participation of this meditation practice.
- As you say the invocations, maintain focus on the breath and observe what arises.
- Alter the invocations to suit your belief system or needs. For example, blissful self may be changed to “highest self” or “spirit.”
- Do not force answers, feelings, sensations or insights. Any and all things come at the right time and in the right dose.
- Everything that occurs is perfect. There is no wrong way to do this!
- Blissful Self, please increase my awareness of all the parts of myself and fill them with the maximum light that serves the highest good.
- Blissful Self, please aid in my optimum healing and wellness and provide me with the insight necessary to do my part.
- Thyroid, What message do I need to hear right now? (place hands on neck)
- Adrenals, What message do I need to hear right now? (place hands on lower back)
- Pituitary, What message do I need to hear right now? (place hands on forehead)
- Immune system, What message do I need to hear right now? (place hands on upper chest)
- Blissful Self, I am listening. What do I most need to hear and understand right now?
- Sit quietly between each invocation and allow sensation and/or insight to arise.
- Only move on to the next invocation when ready.
- Close out this meditation practice by saying the following out loud: Blissful Self, now integrate my complete awareness with my physical experience to the extent that it serves highest good.
- Take a few deep breaths and continue on to the next portion of your self care ritual.
What you ask for is always given…if you allow yourself to receive. While this may not be true of the outside world, it is true of our inner world. The more we engage in this practice, the more we discover our deepest needs and the more we remove the roadblocks to receptivity. It is time to live in accord with every part of ourselves, with complete acceptance, vulnerability and an open heart. Let your practice create the holistic integration we crave; let it create the condition for your natural state of yoga to arise.
It is yours. Ask, and it is given.
JOIN ALANNA + DANNA FOR THEIR THYROID HEALING YOGA FOR WAKING UP ONLINE COURSE
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alanna Kaivalya, Ph.D. – What initially propelled Alanna into her first yoga class was the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (a combination of hypothyroidism and an autoimmune disorder). Over the years Alanna has explored and studied many modalities of healing from diet, to energy work, to therapeutic practices, to physical movement, and even traditional Western medicine. Of all the things she tried, she came to know this: The body can only express the truth that it carries inside. Over the past 15 years, Alanna has written three books on yoga (Myths of the Asanas, Sacred Sound and Yoga Beyond the Mat), launched the world’s first and most comprehensive online 500 hour teacher certification program, and earned her doctorate in Mythology and Depth Psychology. Find out more about her at alannak.com.
WE’D LOVE TO HAVE YOUR THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS IN THE SECTION BELOW. YOU NEVER KNOW, YOU MIGHT JUST HELP SOMEONE ELSE IN NEED.
Yoga and meditation can support you on your thyroid healing journey but, how yoga works for some is different than others. Listen to your own body.