In last week’s blog, I discussed how I had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and also how its symptoms are very similar to menopause symptoms, but with more dire consequences. I hope that you found it useful. In this week’s blog, I’ll discuss what you can do to help your thyroid.
First of all, if your GP or doctor has diagnosed your thyroid levels as low enough to warrant medication, please do take it. There is no natural cure for hypothyroidism. However, you can supplement the medication- Levothyroxine- with your diet as well as yoga.
Yoga poses can have a positive impact on the thyroid gland by supporting overall endocrine health. The thyroid, situated in the neck, plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism, energy levels, and bodily functions. Certain yoga postures, exert gentle pressure on the thyroid gland, promoting increased blood flow and nutrient supply. Moreover, yoga practice can help reduce stress and cortisol levels, which can affect thyroid function. By combining breathwork, mindfulness, and specific yoga poses, practitioners can nurture a healthy thyroid and overall well-being. Here are a few suggested yoga poses as well as an easy breathing/ meditation practise that are suitable for beginners to yoga, which will help promote wellness in your thyroid.
In addition to helping stimulate the thyroid, Cobra Pose, also known as Bhujangasana in yoga, is a wonderful backbend that helps to strengthen the spine, open the chest, and improve flexibility in the back.
1. Start by lying flat on your stomach, with your legs extended straight back and the tops of your feet pressing into the mat.
2. Place your hands on the mat directly under your shoulders, fingers spread wide and pointing forward.
3. Engage your core muscles and press the tops of your feet, thighs, and pelvic bone firmly into the floor to stabilize your lower body.
4. As you inhale, gently lift your head, chest, and upper abdomen off the mat. Keep your elbows close to your body and use the strength of your back muscles to lift, rather than relying on your arms.
5. Draw your shoulders away from your ears, opening your chest and keeping your neck relaxed. Look forward, without straining your neck.
6. Keep your lower body grounded, maintaining a slight engagement in your glutes and legs.
7. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for a few breaths, feeling the gentle stretch in your spine and front of the body.
8. To release the pose, exhale and slowly lower your chest and head back down to the mat.
9. Rest your head to one side and relax in Child's Pose (Balasana) for a moment to release any tension.
Avoid this pose if you have a recent back injury or are pregnant.
Fish Pose, also known as Matsyasana in yoga, is a rejuvenating backbend that opens up the chest, throat, and shoulders.
1. Start by lying flat on your back, legs extended and arms resting alongside your body, palms facing down.
2. Bring your hands underneath your hips, with your palms facing down and your forearms pressing gently into the ground.
3. Engage your core muscles and press your forearms and elbows into the floor as you lift your chest and upper back off the mat. Arch your back and tilt your head back so that the crown of your head lightly touches the floor.
4. Keep your legs and feet active, pointing your toes away from your body or flexing them for added stability.
5. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for several breaths, expanding your chest and feeling the stretch across your throat and front of the neck.
6. To release the pose, gently lower your chest and head back down to the mat, and bring your arms back alongside your body.
Fish Pose is great for relieving tension in the neck and shoulders, improving respiratory function, and stimulating the thyroid gland. However, it's essential to avoid this pose if you have any neck or lower back injuries.
Bridge Pose, also known as Setu Bandhasana in yoga, is also a rejuvenating backbend that strengthens the back, stretches the chest and hip flexors, and promotes flexibility in the spine
1. Begin by lying flat on your back, with your knees bent and feet hip-distance apart, firmly planted on the mat. Keep your arms alongside your body, with your palms facing down.
2. Ensure your feet are parallel to each other and in line with your knees. Your heels should be close enough that you can graze them with your fingertips.
3. Press firmly into your feet and engage your glutes and core muscles. As you inhale, lift your hips and lower back off the mat, coming into a bridge position.
4. Keep your thighs and feet parallel, and gently roll your shoulders back to create a stable base of support. Your weight should be evenly distributed between your feet and shoulders.
5. If you're comfortable, you can clasp your hands together under your body and interlace your fingers, pressing your forearms into the mat.
6. Lift your chest towards your chin, but avoid putting pressure on your neck. Keep your gaze straight ahead or gently tuck your chin.
7. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for a few breaths, feeling the stretch across your chest, front of the hips, and the lengthening of your spine.
8. To release the pose, exhale and slowly lower your back, one vertebra at a time, until your spine is back on the mat.
Avoid this pose if you have any neck or back injuries.
Humming Bee Breath
Humming Bee Breath, or Bhramari Pranayama, can offer several benefits for individuals with hypothyroidism. This calming breathing technique helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which can be particularly beneficial for people with hypothyroidism, as stress can worsen the condition. The gentle humming sound created during the exhalation stimulates the thyroid gland through vibrations, potentially helping to improve its function. Moreover, the vibrations may also have a positive impact on the throat region, where the thyroid is located, by promoting blood flow and energy circulation.
1. Find a comfortable seated position in a quiet and peaceful environment. You can sit cross-legged on the floor or on a chair with your spine comfortably erect.
2. Close your eyes gently and take a few deep breaths to relax and centre yourself.
3. With your mouth gently closed, place your thumbs on your ear cartilage, just above the earlobes, and your index fingers lightly on your closed eyelids. Your middle fingers should rest on the bridge of your nose, and your remaining fingers softly on your cheeks.
4. Take a deep breath in through your nose, filling your lungs completely.
5. As you exhale, make a steady, soft humming sound, like the buzzing of a bee. Keep the sound gentle and continuous throughout the exhalation. The sound should resonate in your head due to the position of your fingers.
6. After the exhalation, take another deep breath in and continue the process of exhaling with the humming sound.
7. Focus your attention on the vibration and soothing quality of the humming sound, allowing it to bring a sense of calmness and relaxation to your mind.
8. Repeat this process for about 5 to 10 rounds, or as long as you feel comfortable.
9. When you're ready to conclude the practice, release your hands to your lap, take a few natural breaths, and open your eyes.