Can yoga help with thyroid issues?
As a weight management therapist, I frequently had clients suffering from thyroid issues. One thing that always struck me was the fact that all of these clients were women. Now I know that in general, we woman tend to be more at the mercy of hormones than men. But it still got me thinking about the potential reasons why this might be. When I looked at this issue through the eyes of a yogi, I began to draw some conclusions.
The chakra system in our bodies correlate directly with our endocrine system, our major hormone producing glands - with the thyroid gland corresponding to the throat chakra.
The throat chakra is responsible for self expression, the ability to stand up for yourself, communication - verbal and non verbal, listening to your gut instinct, intuition, bringing creative ideas into reality and realising your purpose in life.
The main lesson of unblocking the throat chakra is learning to connect with and express your true self.
Authentic expression is not something that comes easily to most. There’s a delicate balance between speaking the truth and staying tactful or diplomatic. Often it can be easier to avoid conflict and say what the other person wants to hear instead of saying exactly what you mean. Fear of not being accepted or judgment from others may hinder you from expressing your truth
Listening is another aspect of the throat chakra. Not listening, not wanting to hear the truth and not being listened to are all factors which could cause a blockage in the throat chakra.
In general, women often try harder to please others. They can put family needs before their own and sacrifice their dreams for the greater good. It is also common for women to be peace makers - bending the truth or lying by omission. The old fashioned stereotype of the soft spoken, pleasant, smiling 'good girl', whilst continuously challenged, is something that still resides deeply in the psyche of women. Although some men can certainly be considered in this category, it is my observation that these characteristics reside predominantly in women. Due to this, it makes sense that more women would suffer from a blocked throat chakra leading to thyroid issues.
Signs that your throat chakra may be blocked
· Finding it hard to stand up for yourself
· Throat, mouth or thyroid issues
· Fear of conflict
· Passive aggressive behaviour
· A feeling of being continuously misunderstood
· Passiveness or a reluctance to participate in group conversation
· Social anxiety
· Change of behaviour/ personality depending on who is around
· A quiet or broken voice
How to stimulate your thyroid gland with yoga
· Pranayama – Using yogic breathing techniques can directly stimulate the thyroid gland using a method of contracting the muscles in the throat.
1. Ujjaayi breath is the practice of using a throat lock while breathing through your nose. It's practice resembles the movement you would make to fog up a mirror only your lips remain closed.
2. Lion's breath involves exhaling through your mouth whilst sticking your tongue out as far as it will go. It is often accompanied with a shift forward onto your hands and both eyes rolled towards the space in between your brows (The third eye chakra).
· Asana – yoga postures which lengthen or contract the neck and throat areas can stimulate the thyroid gland from multiple external angels. Bridge, camel and head twists are particularly beneficial, with shoulder stand being the most effective. To get into a shoulder stand, lie on your back and draw your knees to your chest. Lift your hips off the ground and try to place your hands under your lower back shifting your weight to your shoulders and neck. Elongate the neck by tucking your chin slightly towards your chest. Straighten your legs if you feel comfortable.
· Meditate – learn to connect that to your true self, the one without societal conditioning or fear of judgement.
· Chant – Use your vocal chords to help bring balance to your thyroid gland and unblock your throat chakra. Om has long been known as one of the most powerful mantras, said to be the sound of the universe. Chant on your own, in a chanting group (extremely effective for increased vibration) or along to recording easily found on YouTube.
Other ways to unblock your throat chakra
· Ask for your needs to be met – don’t expect people to read your mind. Instead of getting frustrated that ‘nobody listens’, decide exactly what you would like from them and express it clearly.
· Say no – find your own way to say no in the type of words that resonate with you. Always saying yes to everyone else means that you are saying no to yourself.
· Make noise – shout, screech, laugh, sing, hum, groan. Become comfortable with your voice.
· Listen - Give people your full attention and be fully present as they speak. This includes giving eye contact and waiting to hear the other person completely before responding. Become the ideal person whom you would love to be listened to by.
· Be unapologetically you!
Ahimsa Wellness often runs yoga and psychotherapy workshops to help people suffering from thyroid problems. Stay up to date with all our events by following us on Facebook..or Instagram