By: Fern Langham
The thyroid is one of the most important glands in the body. It produces hormones thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), that influence every cell, tissue and organ in your body. Your thyroid regulates your metabolism--the rate at which your body produces energy from nutrients and oxygen--and in turn affects body functions, such as your energy levels and heart rate, as well as your fertility and reproductive health. Since the thyroid gland is connected to gastrointestinal function, adrenal hormone metabolism, blood-sugar levels, stomach acid production, brain chemistry changes, and liver detoxification, its dysfunction can contribute to many clinical manifestations in your body such as chronic weight gain, mental and physical fatigue, and weakened immune and digestive function.
More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. While prescription thyroid hormones may bring levels in the blood into a normal range, the hormone replacement doesn't address what caused the thyroid to slow down in the first place. The symptoms creating the hypothyroid symptoms more likely call for sustained lifestyle changes that support hormonal balance.
Yoga has been shown to decrease oxidative stress, which signals an imbalance in free radicals and is linked to disease. It has also been shown to increase thyroid activity.
Inspired by the practices of my teachers, my studies in functional medicine, yoga, and holistic health, and most importantly, my own healing journey, I have woven together what I found to be the most beneficial, most powerful poses and techniques to nourish and support your thyroid. When practiced consistently, these specific yoga poses and breathing techniques work by clearing the stagnation around our organs, resetting the balance of our endocrine and lymphatic system, which ultimately supports overall endocrine and glandular health--regardless of whether the practitioner is experiencing overactive or underactive thyroid symptoms or had the thyroid removed.