Thyroid problems and deficiency have become a common issue among individuals. Women mostly get it either during pregnancy or after delivery. The problem is addressed with a regular dose of thyroxin or similar medication, but the side effects of thyroid deficiency are many. Hair fall, fluctuating weights, tiredness and palpitations are common problems. Addressing the variations in the thyroid hormone using yoga as a complementary therapy is a great way to address the issue. Stress is a great side effect of thyroid problems and yoga is the best way to address stress. Even a study has shown that yoga reduces stress and improves overall well-being. There has also been a small study that associates improved thyroid functioning with regular yoga and another study that showed that practicing yoga for six months improved cholesterol levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. All this in turn reduced the need for thyroid replacement therapy in women suffering from hypothyroidism. Read more about hypothyroidism and the general recommendations on food habits from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Stretch with Yoga Poses & Address Thyroid Problems
Certain yoga poses stimulate the throat, improve circulation and have a positive impact on the thyroid gland located in the neck region. The following are the recommended poses for addressing thyroid problem:
Supported Shoulder Pose: This is an upside-down pose known as an inversion. An inversion stimulates blood flow to the throat which stimulates the thyroid gland. The individual lies down on the floor with a towel under his/her shoulder to support it. He/she places the shoulder on the edge of the towel and rests the head on the mat. Pressing the arms firmly against the floor, the person slowly lifts the legs keeping it at a right angle while breathing in. Breathing out, the legs are lifted further up pushing up onto the shoulders. The position is such that the body and the legs are in a straight line up from the shoulders. The legs are lowered slowly after breathing deeply.
Plow Pose: Similar to the shoulder pose, an individual starts to do this pose in the same way. The difference is that instead of holding the legs up straight he/she should bring the leg over the head and rest the toes on the floor behind the head. The person supports the lower back with the help of arms that are firmly rested against the floor and breathing deeply for three times. Slowly the legs are brought back above the head and lowered onto the floor. This position might create discomfort for overweight/obese people generally but is a safe position to perform.
Bridge Pose: A good pose for strengthening the back as well as for thyroid health. Lie down on the mat and bring your feet inwards towards the hips. Keep your arms by your side and press the palms to the floor. Slowly lift the hips to the sky and when you find it difficult do it by putting the palms on the lower back for support. Breathe deeply thrice and lower the hips to get off the position.
Fish Pose: This is the best position to practice either after the shoulder or the plow pose as the body is stretched in the opposite direction. Sit down with your legs stretched forward, place your hands behind with the fingers tucked under the buttocks, lower the elbows down and lean backward. Now drop the head as far as it goes down trying to touch the crown of your head on the mat. Your chest would be facing up against the sky. Breathe deeply for three times and then lift your head slowly to come back to normal position.
Boat Pose: This works well on the core stimulating the throat as well the thyroid. For this pose one must sit on the floor with the legs out in the front and the palms facing down on either side of the legs. Lean back slowly with the back straight. Bend your knees and lift the feet off the floor such that the body and the legs together make a ‘V’ shape. Raise your alms to your shoulders length with the palms facing each other. Breathe in deeply, bring your legs and arms down and come back to normal position.
Upward Bow Pose: Lungs and chest are stretched in this pose stimulating the thyroid and pituitary glands and strengthening the arms and legs. Lie down flat, bend your knees and bring them close to the body. Place your hands next to the head pointing the fingers toward the shoulders and the elbows pointed upwards. Lift your tailbone and buttocks, ensure that your thighs and inner feet are parallel, press into feet and hands lifting onto the crown of the head. Lift the head off the floor until your hands are straight. Stay in this pose for 5-10 seconds. Return back to normal bending your arms, buttocks and tailbone.
Cobra Pose: This pose stimulates the throat and the thyroid. To do this it is recommended to lie down flat on the stomach on the mat, place you palms on the mat under the shoulders and press it against the mat, lift the head until the chin is lifted away from the mat and the back is arched, drop the head back towards the buttocks and breathe deeply thrice. Slowly bend back the head and go back to normalcy.
It is advisable to do any of the poses after learning them from a professional. There is no need to do all the poses in one go and it is also allowed to modify the poses to suit your needs.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.