“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 treatment options, I don’t even think much about it now. Life is just as normal as it always was and daily yoga asanas practice has only made it better, helping me cope with the symptoms better” – Nikhila Singh, a patient of hypothyroidism since 2006 and has been yoga postures learnt at Art of Living yoga classes.
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, you can cope with your thyroid disorder symptoms better. 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 are:
1. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
2. 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 usual.
> 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 can help reduce thyroid disorder symptoms:
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 Sri Sri Yoga teacher on more asanas for your condition.