If you suffer from hypothyroidism, know that Yoga can be a great ally in the battle against the disease. Because the thyroid regulates various metabolic processes, when it is underactive, like mine, your circulation and your metabolism will also suffer. This means that you will likely feel lethargic, gain water weight, and feel an overwhelming unwillingness to do any physical activity at all. All of these symptoms of thyroid disease are a slippery slope since physical activity is an antidote to those symptoms in the first place as exercise stimulates your metabolism and circulation. However, an activity like yoga that begins slowly - focusing on mental and breathing exercises – may be easier to commit to. I say this from experience. I remember being in the middle of a thyroid crisis thinking, "If I can get myself to yoga class, I know that I can just lay there if I have to." By the time the class starts to get more challenging your body and your mind will already be prepared, so yoga is really the perfect physical practice for those suffering from an underactive thyroid.
The yoga class I prepared today is thyroid-centric and focuses on the bandhas. There are four different bandhas, or locks. This locks are contractions of certain areas of the physical body related to nerve conglomerates, organs and glands in the body. Today we will focus mostly on the Jalandhara bandha, which corresponds to the same physical space of the thyroid gland. The contraction of this bandha helps us regulate all our internal systems including our hormonal and metabolic processes. Engaging this lock can be very beneficial to the thyroid gland.
We will engage the Jalandhara lock by creating pressure on the throat by pressing the chin against the thyroid gland. Throughout practice, I will guide you on how and when you should create this lock. We will start practice with a breathing exercise called victorious breath (Ujjay). This exercise constricts the throat during breathing, making a sound much like Darth Vader. Then I will guide you through an Asana sequence that oxygenates the thyroid and stimulates it through the Jalandhara lock.
I hope you enjoy the class and as always, if you have any questions just ask!
God bless you!