“Ten years ago, I only knew of thyroid disorder through school textbooks. It was only a
medical condition to me which could occur in people in the outside world, until it
happened to me one day seven years ago.
And it was then that it occurred to me for the first time ever that thyroid disorder can
really happen to anyone, even me! In the beginning, I was a bit scared but once I
found yoga and Ayurveda as safe and easy thyroid treatment options, I don’t even think
much about it now. Life is just as normal as it always was and daily yoga practice has
only made it better, helping me cope with the symptoms better” – Nikhila Singh, a patient
of hypothyroidism since 2006.
Yes, thyroid disorder has indeed become a household name these days, close
behind hypertension and diabetes. According to the American Thyroid Association
(ATA), around 20 million people in the US have some form of thyroid disorder and at
least 60 percent of those who do are not even aware of it! Also, the prevalence of
the condition is believed to be higher in women than men. One of the main causes
for thyroid disorders is believed to be the stressful lifestyle we are leading.
Even though there is increasing prevalence of thyroid disorders today, there are
numerous treatment options available to patients. Of course, every treatment
would take time to show results but in the meantime, you have something to cheer
about. With yoga and meditation, can help in thyroid treatment in natural way. So
just add a few minutes of yoga practice to your regular treatment can help reduce
stress and also make your everyday life smoother and happier.
Now, thyroid disorders can be of many types but the two most prevalent ones
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
It’s important for you to check with your doctor which type of thyroid disorder you
may be affected with. You can also check for specific symptoms of each type that
you may be experiencing but make sure to confirm with the doctor first who will be
able to suggest proper medical investigation before starting further treatment.
You May Have Hypothyroidism If:
You may be slowly feeling disinterested in everyday affairs, getting lethargic and developing a
laid-back attitude towards everything.
You may be doing just the routine work as always but have started feeling more fatigued than
You just don’t seem to understand why you remain constipated of late.
Your friends have started noticing a sudden weight gain and you can’t seem to explain why as
you wonder that you are not even overeating!
You look at yourself in the mirror these days and notice your face getting puffy.
You are feeling upset seeing your long, thick hair begin to thin suddenly and there are bunches
of hair lying scattered all over the house.
Your menstrual cycles are irregular (there could be other reasons for this too; better to check
with your doctor).
You are noticing excessive hair growth on the face which is becoming embarrassing.
You can see your throat swell up. Surely, it’s time to see the doc.
How Yoga Exercises Can Help Reduce Thyroid
Before you start practicing yoga for thyroid disorders, make sure to consult your
physician. Also, these yoga techniques work on coping with the symptoms better
and are not a substitute to medication (though in some cases the need for
medicines may reduce with consistent yoga practice over a period of time).
Note: Although all yoga asanas are considered to be good for both hypo and
hyperthyroidism patients, we recommend some of the postures below which can be
particularly useful. You need not restrict your practice to only these poses; check
with a Art of Living Yoga teacher on more asanas for your condition.
The Following Yoga Asanas Can Be Practiced In
Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana) is the most recommended posture in this condition. It
stimulates the thyroid gland to function properly because of the pressure effect and also helps
stimulate other glands in the head region, such as pituitary and pineal glands, which also have
an indirect control on the functioning of the thyroid gland.
Inverted Pose (Viparitakarani)
One-legged Forward Bend (Janu Shirasasana)
Fish Pose (Matsyasana)>
Plow Pose (Halasana)
Cat Stretch (Marjariasana)
Fast-paced Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) can work well for controlling weight.
Besides these yoga postures, the practice of pranayamas (breathing techniques)
such asKapal Bhati (skull shining breathing technique), Nadi Shodhan (alternate
nostril breathing),Bhastrika and Ujjayi breathing work well in reducing
Food Tips For People With Thyroid Disorders
Include high-fibre food in your diet.
Reduce the intake of fats and carbohydrates.
Take lots of fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables. It is better to avoid cauliflower, cabbage
and broccoli in hypothyroidism.
Limit the intake of non-vegetarian food, milk and milk products (skimmed milk is advisable),
rice, spicy food, refined and fast food and food items with preservatives.
You May Have Hyperthyroidism If:
You are either gorging on food too much or eating less than usual. There may be a sudden
change in appetite. But no matter how much you eat, you still remain lean (if you are
desperately trying to put on weight, that is).
You are finding it difficult to sleep at night.
If you are sweating too much and unusually.
Small things are making you easily irritable.
You usually remain anxious, nervous and quite hurried about things.
Yoga Asanas Recommended For Hyperthyroidism
Bridge Pose (Setubandhasana)
Cat Stretch (Marjariasana)
Child Pose (Shishu asana)
Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
Slow-paced Surya Namaskars practiced with mantra chanting will have a calm and soothing
Ujjayi, Bhramari (Bee Breath), Nadi Shodhan and cooling pranayamas such
as Sheetali andSheetkari are considered to be very effective in dealing with
Also, it’s good to practice a few minutes of meditation everyday in both hypo and
hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism patients who become laid-back due to the
condition will need to make a conscious effort to stay physically active. And here is
when meditation can really help strengthen your willpower to do so.
You may try Panchakosha and Hari Om meditations which you can learn from a Art
of Living Yoga teacher or at the Art of Living Part 2 Course near you.
Since stress is believed to be one of the major factors for thyroid disorders,
meditation keeps the mind calm and relaxed and reduces everyday stress. The
chanting of ‘Om’ everyday for a few minutes also helps. After chanting, do this small
activity: put your hand on the thyroid gland and feel that it is getting healed. Let the
positive vibrations of chanting have a stimulating effect on the thyroid gland.
Yoga Nidra (Corpse Pose) also works well in both hypo and hyperthyroidism in
reducing stress and calming down. For hyperthyroidism patients, who may find it
difficult to sleep at night, yoga nidra can work like a power nap during daytime so
that your body gets sufficient rest.