8 Yoga poses for thyroid conditions

Yoga is a low-impact, usable workout that reduces stress and encourages well-being. Can yoga help treat issues with the thyroid?

A tiny gland in the throat that secretes hormones is the thyroid. The metabolism, body temperature and development of an individual are influenced by these hormones. They also affect the way a child’s brain grows.

When a person has a thyroid problem, both their physical and mental health can be affected. As a supportive treatment for thyroid disorders, this article discusses yoga.

Yoga and thyroid health

Yoga may help to relieve stress and ease the symptoms of thyroid conditions.
Yoga may help to relieve stress and ease the symptoms of thyroid conditions.

Yoga is an activity that helps lower the stress levels of an individual. A research from 2017 showed that yoga decreases stress symptoms and increases general well-being.

Thyroid disorders are also associated with stress. Yoga can be beneficial for thyroid health for this purpose.

The thyroid has a number of conditions that affect it. Two of the conditions that are most prevalent are:

  • Hyperthyroidism: This is when the thyroid produces an excessive quantity of thyroid hormones. The underlying cause of hyperthyroidism may be Graves’ disease or an overactive thyroid.
  • Hypothyroidism: This is when thyroid hormone production is too low. This is often caused by an autoimmune disease that has damaged the thyroid.

There is also some research suggesting a more clear link between yoga and enhanced thyroid function.

A small study conducted in 2014 showed that thyroid function was enhanced by yoga. The report, however, noted that to draw firm conclusions, more studies with more participants were required.

A 2016 study showed that six months of yoga practice helped increase cholesterol levels and thyroid-stimulating hormone levels (TSH). In women suffering from hypothyroidism, this decreased the need for thyroid substitution therapy.

Beneficial yoga poses

Stimulating the throat focuses on the following yoga poses. As well as stretching and strengthening the neck where the thyroid is located, they are thought to increase circulation.

It is important to remain in yoga poses only for as long as you feel relaxed. Any time they practice, beginners can try one or two poses and build on that.

Each of the below yoga poses is easy to try at home with a yoga mat.

1. Supported shoulder stand

Supported shoulder stand yoga

The assisted pose of the shoulder stand includes being upside down, which is known as an inversion in yoga.

Inversions help improve the flow of blood to the throat. Researchers in yoga claim that this helps activate the thyroid.

Sarvangasana is the Sanskrit name for this pose.

To perform a supported shoulder stand, an individual should:

  • lie down flat on the back
  • place a folded towel or blanket under the shoulders to support them
  • bring the shoulders to the edge of the towel while resting the head on the mat
  • place the arms on either side with palms facing down
  • press arms and back firmly into the floor
  • breathe in and lift legs up at a right angle
  • breathe out and lift legs up, pushing up onto the shoulders
  • push hands into the lower back to support the hips
  • keep the stomach pulled in, so the core is strong
  • hold the body and legs in a straight line up from the shoulders
  • keep the chin tucked into the chest
  • breathe deeply three times
  • lower the legs back down slowly, keeping the core engaged

2. Plow Pose

Plow Pose yoga

Often believed to activate the thyroid is the Plow Pose.

Halasana is the Sanskrit name for this pose.

To do the Plow Pose, as for a shoulder stand, a person should start in the same way.

Rather than keeping the legs up from the shoulders in a straight line, they should:

  • bring the legs right over and behind their head
  • rest their toes on the floor behind their head
  • keep their lower back supported with their hands throughout
  • breathe deeply three times
  • bring the legs back above the head
  • slowly lower the legs back to the floor, keeping the core engaged

The plow is a healthy position, but for people who are overweight or women with larger breasts, it can feel awkward.

If a person feels like breathing is difficult with the Plow Pose, they can come out of the position slowly.

3. Fish Pose

Fish Pose yoga

After a shoulder stand or plow, the Fish Pose is a perfect pose to do since it extends the body in the opposite direction. People refer to this in yoga as a counter pose.

Matsyasana is the Sanskrit name for this pose.

The Fish Pose is easy to execute and is perfect for beginners.

  • sit down with the legs extended in front of them
  • place the hands on the mat behind them with their fingers tucked under their buttocks
  • lower the elbows to the mat and lean backward
  • align the shoulders with the elbows
  • gently drop the head back as far as it feels comfortable, with the eventual aim of touching the crown of the head on the mat
  • keep the chest up and open, imagining a string pulling it up to the sky
  • breathe deeply three times
  • slowly lift the head up and release the arms to come out of the position

4. Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose yoga

For strengthening the back, the Bridge Pose is fine. It may also help promote thyroid health.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is the Sanskrit name for this pose.

In order to do the bridge pose, a person should:

  • lie on the mat with their back on the floor
  • draw the feet inwards towards their hips
  • keep the feet and knees in line with the hips
  • with arms by the sides of the body, press the palms into the floor
  • lift the hips up to the sky, imagining a string pulling the hips upward
  • if this is difficult, put the palms on the lower back for support
  • tuck the chin into the chest
  • breathe deeply three times
  • slowly lower the hips to come out of the position

5. Cobra Pose

Yoga Cobra Pose

The Cobra Pose stimulates the throat and thyroid gently.

Bhujangasana is the Sanskrit name for this pose.

To do this pose, a person should:

  • lie down on their stomach on the mat
  • place the palms on the mat under the shoulders
  • squeeze the elbows into their sides
  • press the palms into the mat
  • lift the head up until the chest lifts of the mat and the back is arched
  • drop the head back towards the bottom if this feels comfortable
  • breathe deeply three times
  • slowly lower chest and head back down to the mat

6. Boat Pose

Yoga Boat Pose

For strengthening the heart, the Boat Pose is fine. It also stimulates the throat and the thyroid may benefit from it.

Navasana is the Sanskrit name for this pose.

To do this pose, a person should:

  • sit on the floor with the legs out in front
  • place the hands on the mat, palms down, either side of the legs
  • slowly lean back, keeping the core strong, the chin tucked in, and the back straight
  • bending the knees, lift the feet off the floor
  • if possible extend the legs and point the feet, so the legs and body make a V-shape
  • raise the arms, so they are in line with the shoulders
  • palms should face each other, with fingers extended
  • breathe deeply three to five times
  • bring the arms and legs down slowly, hugging the legs and dropping the head before releasing

7. Upward Bow Pose

Yoga Upward Bow Pose

By expanding the chest and lungs, the Upward Bow Pose, which is often referred to as the Wheel Pose, provides energy.

The Upward Bow also activates and strengthens the arms, legs, and spine of the thyroid and pituitary glands.

Urdhva Dhanurasana is the Sanskrit name for this pose.

To do this pose, a person should:

  • lie down flat on the back, bending the knees and bringing them close to the body
  • place the hands on the mat next to the head, ensuring that the fingers are pointing toward the shoulders and the elbows point upward
  • press the feet into the mat and exhale while lifting the tailbone and buttocks
  • ensure the thighs and inner feet are parallel
  • press into the feet and hands and lift onto the crown of the head
  • press further into the feet and hands while exhaling, then lift the head completely off of the floor until the arms are straight
  • spread the shoulder blades and allow the head to hang loosely
  • hold the pose for 5-10 seconds while breathing deeply
  • slowly release from the pose, bending the arms and allowing the tailbone and buttocks to return to the mat

8. Supported Headstand Pose

Supported Headstand Pose

One of the most advanced yoga positions is the Supported Headstand Pose, and it works directly on the thyroid glands.

The pose helps to flow blood to the heart and activates the pituitary and pineal glands of the brain, which helps to alleviate tension.

Without previous yoga experience, the pose should not be attempted and should be done on the first try under the guidance of an experienced instructor.

For this pose, the Sanskrit name is Sirshasana,

To do this pose a person should:

  • kneel forward so that the knees and forearms are on the mat
  • lace the fingers together with elbows at shoulder width and press the inner wrists firmly into the mat
  • set the crown of the head into the mat and gently push the back of the head up against the palms of the open hands
  • lift the knees up from the mat while inhaling
  • walk the feet closer to the elbows and elevate the heels to form an inverted V shape
  • elevate the shoulder blades upward so the torso becomes long and slightly stretched
  • lift both feet off of the mat simultaneously while exhaling; it may be easier to bend the knees a little during the ascent
  • turn the upper thighs in while pushing the heels toward the ceiling, straightening out the knees
  • ensure the weight is balanced between the forearms and continue to elevate the shoulders upward
  • when the legs are fully lengthened, press upward through the big toes
  • hold the pose for 5-10 seconds (this can be increased by a further 5 seconds each time the pose is repeated in the future)
  • slowly bring the feet back toward the mat while exhaling, keeping the shoulders pushing upward until both feet reach the mat

Hyperthyroidism symptoms

Fatigue man

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism, which is thyroid hormone overproduction, include:

  • extreme tiredness
  • shaking hands
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • rapid heartbeat
  • heart palpitations
  • dry skin
  • trouble sleeping
  • unexplained weight loss
  • increased bowel movements
  • light or missed periods

Hypothyroidism symptoms

Hypothyroidism indicates that adequate thyroid hormones are not released by the thyroid. Hypothyroidism signs:

  • extreme tiredness
  • feeling weak
  • gaining or finding it hard to lose weight
  • dry hair and skin
  • hair loss
  • feeling the cold more than usual
  • muscle cramps and aches
  • constipation
  • depression
  • feeling irritable
  • having memory problems
  • changes in normal menstrual cycle
  • reduced sex drive

When to see a doctor

If a person thinks that they might have a thyroid problem, they should talk to their physician.

A doctor can help diagnose and prescribe appropriate treatments for hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

It is important to note that yoga is a therapy that is complementary. It may be administered with other therapies prescribed by a physician, but it cannot be substituted.

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