Posts tagged #thyroid

Yoga for the thyroid gland

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!

Uplifting Pranayama (useful for those of us with Hypothyroidism)

For those of you who don't know me, I suffer with hypothyroidism. This means my thyroid gland produces less hormones than it should. As the thyroid regulates the metabolism, when it is sluggish you feel lethargic and energy-less. It also means I often feel tired and lethargic, so I have shaped my yoga and pranayama practice to create an uplifting energy that keeps me moving.

Every morning, I practice an uplifting pranayama before having breakfast. I drink a litter of water and then I start this breath work. This pranayama wakes me up and gives me the energy to keep my day going. This particular exercise is helpful for those with low thyroid function, but it can also help to others that my be experiencing lethargy from other conditions like lupus, depression, winter blues, etc... I recommend you follow it up with some sun salutations to wake up your body and prepare you for your day. And, if you need extra prolonged energy, check out my other post on a raw vegan version of the "bulletproof" coffee (here). It uses coconut butter to maximize the effects of caffeine on your body without the slump that the usual coffee consumption gives you. I hope you enjoy this pranayama practice! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!