In yoga several poses work directly on the thyroid gland, regulating its function and hormonal release. Careful yogic therapy can act as a perfect complement to any medical therapy for thyroid problems while the problem exists. For those without any problem, maintaining a regular yoga programme can act as a preventive. This is crucial since despite its tiny presence in the throat, the thyroid manipulates our metabolism and energy levels.
Hypothyroidism, according to medical opinion, may be associated with those with blood sugar problems, liver problems and arthritis. It also seems to be the side-effect in certain cases of treatment to hyperthyroidism. Certain medications or surgeries also seem to trigger it. Malnutrition and wrong diet (including certain food items that block iodine absorption) can also be contributors.
Symptoms are often confusing, because they can be mistaken for natural tiredness and emotional stressors, including lack of motivation. Other less visible connections include weight gain, chronic fatigue, PMS mood swings in women, overall lethargy, dryness of skin and hair (usually referred to as a vata derangement in ayurvedic parlance).
Constipation, mental lethargy and dullness, excessive hair fall, depression and carpal tunnel syndrome and inability to tolerate cold are also indicated. Since emotions and the thyroid are so delicately linked, it becomes very difficult to pinpoint the malaise.
In hypothyroidism, for instance, the sense of paranoia can be heightened. Intriguingly, often the treatment meant to contain one spectrum of the thyroid problem can trigger the opposite effect if not carefully monitored, confounding overall treatment long-term.
This is where having a well-charted yoga practice can help in acting as a perfect complement for medical treatment. Unlike with hyperthyroidism which involves a more precise yogic therapy, hypothyroidism responds well even to a general chart of yogic practices with emphasis on those which work on the throat.
Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, shows you four yoga practices to manage hypothyroidism.
Photographs: Jahnavi Sheriff
Catch more of Shameem's yoga writings and about her upcoming workshops at jaisivananda.blogspot.com
This article only attempts to enthuse readers towards yoga practice and complement your existing practice. Yoga is best learnt under the personal guidance of a teacher.
Also read: Have fun with these yogic hand balancers