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Thyroid conditions develop as a result of hormonal imbalance. The entire body is affected and symptoms start to show as the body begins to cope with the changes that occur. Regular yoga practice has been shown to relieve the symptoms of thyroid disorders allowing the body to focus on healing itself.
A proper plan includes meditation to help relax the body, slow asanas with therapeutic effects and breathing techniques. Engaging in yoga poses establishes the optimal rhythm to the connection between body, mind, and breath. The energy to heal from within is released, stress is removed and the body is being nourished once again.
Understanding The Thyroid
The thyroid is one of the most important glands in the endocrine system. It is essential to overall balance and development of the body. Its main role is to produce hormones that affect the growth of most cells in the body. The thyroid regulates metabolism and has a critical role in skeletal and muscular health; it’s essential for normal brain functions and stimulates vitamin metabolizing.
When the thyroid stops working properly, it begins to produce more or fewer hormones. This leads to thyroid disorders that can be split into hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, each with variations depending on the underlying causes.
Low levels of thyroid hormones stand for an underactive thyroid, a condition called hypothyroidism. The symptoms here include moderate weight gain, intolerance to cold, fatigue, depression, poor memory, muscle weakness, muscle cramps or spasms due to calcium loss, menstrual and fertility problems, slow heart rate, loss of libido.
An overactive thyroid causes hyperthyroidism associated with excessive amounts of hormones. The most common symptoms are high metabolism, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, nervousness, digestive problems (increased frequency of bowel movements), fatigue, muscle weakness, goiter, increased perspiration, sensitivity to heat.
Managing Symptoms Through Yoga
The symptoms associated with thyroid disorders can be managed through medication, proper nutrition, and alternative therapies. Yoga is one of the techniques most commonly used to alleviate symptoms of a thyroid dysfunction while relaxing and coping with stress.
Here are a few of the symptoms that yoga therapy can handle:
- fatigue, lethargy
- muscle weakness
- shortness of breath
- sensitivity to stimuli (heat, cold, light)
- challenging breathing due to goiter
- digestion issues
- high blood pressure and irregular heart beat
Yoga forces the body to start its natural healing process. Once the body is symptom-free, it can focus on repairing itself and encourage proper functioning of all the organs.
Yoga therapy is set on lowering the effects of a disease on the body. This is achieved through restoring balance throughout the entire being – connecting mind, soul, and body. Practicing yoga eliminates stress and provides a well-deserved state of relaxation. Regular yoga practice activates an inner reaction that works towards making the disease more manageable and ultimately eliminating it.
How Does Yoga Help The Thyroid
Yoga is an alternative system of healing. It works well with other lifestyle changes and has been shown to have a great influence in the prevention of thyroid disorders.
Many of the thyroid disorders occur due to excessive stress. This is something yoga can help with. Stress levels begin to drop as the yoga session develops. Anxiety is removed through restoring the balance between mind and body.
All yoga practices and asanas are considered to be good for both hypo and hyperthyroidism patients. Various yoga poses work by massaging the thyroid thus stimulating its function. The blood flow is also restored and this can actually reduce stiffness. There is a particular order to be followed and the techniques employed in yoga for thyroid should be conducted and explained by a professional so as to reap all the benefits while being completely safe from potential injuries due to poor form management and understanding of the poses.
The most common techniques used in yoga for thyroid are meditation, prayer, chant, Pranayama, Mudras & Bandhas, Kriyas, Surya Namaskara.
Pranayama is particularly important since it relaxes the body and reduces stress. It is a breathing exercise that stimulates the blood flow through adequate oxygen intake. Practiced regularly, Pranayama allows the body to absorb more oxygen and transport it to the lungs and heart. This is one of the most powerful techniques to lower stress levels, elevate mood and increase energy. Yoga lowers cortisol levels (one of the stress hormones) by simply relaxing the body. This helps the thyroid to regain control over its function.
Yoga Asanas For Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism
Yoga stimulates the thyroid improving its overall function. It helps relieve the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism and regulate hormone production while preventing further damage to the thyroid.
The following Asanas have been shown to bring the most benefits to thyroid patients:
- Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand) – strengthens the entire body; restores the blood flow to the thyroid area thus stimulating it.
- Matsyasana (Fish pose) – eliminates tension in the neck area and massages the thyroid while improving circulation.
- Marjarrasana (Cat pose) – stretches the throat region and improves the thyroid function.
- Halasana (Plough pose) – this pose prevents the blood from leaving the neck area forcing the oxygen to nourish the thyroid; it improves the overall function of the endocrine system.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra pose) – by stretching the front of the neck, the entire thyroid area is stretched and massaged leading to reinstating its proper functions.
Actual Benefits Of Practicing Yoga For Thyroid
Yoga poses apply pressure on specific body areas by massaging and stretching while supporting internal tissue structures.
Other benefits of practicing yoga include:
- The body receives more oxygen through breathing techniques and poses that stimulate the lungs to clear and take in fresh air
- The circulation is improved throughout the entire body due to the constant flow of oxygen inside every cell
- The muscles become more powerful
- The lymphatic system begins to work properly increasing the chance of eliminating infections and restart the healing process
- Symptoms such as fatigue, cold hands and feet, poor circulation disappear
- The nervous system is activated
- The digestive function is improved starting to absorb nutrients in proper amounts and using them to feed the body
Yoga is a safe technique when practiced under proper supervision. Yoga asanas stimulate the endocrine system and engage the body in carrying out its normal functions. Yoga has no side effects and heals from within. Being an effective healer, it restores balance to life by working towards eliminating the damages done to the body. Practicing yoga comes in the form of complementary therapy to existing treatment such as synthroid and armour thyroid or thyroid complexes and supplements. It brings extra support and triggers a healing response from the body.