Nizha Periaswamy

Many people - my students and non-students alike, have approached me to get treated for thyroid, which is a silent, but major health condition.

According to the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, a higher percentage of Indians, especially females, suffer from some sort of thyroid disorder. The thyroid gland is located near the throat, and affects many functions, such as one's growth and weight, besides balancing the hormones.

Thyroid imbalance can cause two conditions - hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is where the thyroid glands do not make enough hormones to function well. This slow one's metabolism rate, which can lead to weight gain. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism are dry skin, constipation, sensitivity to cold, puffy face and muscle weakness.

Hyperthyroidism, meanwhile, involves excessive production of hormones by an overactive thyroid gland. Sufferers of this condition can experience a fast heartbeat, increased appetite, anxiety, sensitivity to heat, or sudden weight loss.

Including yoga into your daily routine may help improve your thyroid function and benefit your overall health.

According to yoga guru, and co-founder of Patanjali Yogpeeth, Swami Ramdev, certain yoga poses can cure thyroid, completely.

Here are a few yogasanas, pranayama and mudras to reduce the impact of the thyroid gland imbalance.

1) Surya Namaskar aka Sun Salutation is a series that combines 12 poses performed in a sequence, to keep the body flowing with energy. This pose is most beneficial for those suffering from hypothyroidism, to increase the metabolism rate.

2) Sarvangasana – This pose, which involves a shoulder stand, with the body upside down, allows blood flow to the neck and throat region, stimulating the thyroid gland. If you are a beginner, please work under the guidance of a certified yoga teacher.

3) Halasana - This pose takes the shape of a plough. To assume this position, from shoulder stand, simply drop your feet until it touches the ground beyond your head. This pose helps relieve fatigue and boosts energy. In addition to making the mind calm, it also makes the waist and spine stronger.

4) Matsyasana - Also known as the fish pose, it allows the expansion of the neck while the crown of the head is pointed towards the floor. Arching the back while holding this pose improves blood circulation to the thyroid gland, stimulating its hormones.

5) Kapalbathi - This complex form of Pranayama (breathing) increases the body's immunity and helps mantain body heat. Toxic substances are flushed out from the body with this technique, which is best used to treat hypothyroidism. The improved blood circulation from this technique helps fight fatigue faced by most thyroid condition sufferers. However, this pranayama needs to be done under the supervision of a qualified instructor, especially for a beginner.

6) Ujjayi – This breathing technique done through the nose, by narrowing the glottis as air passes in and out of the nostrils, creates "ocean sound". Ujjayi helps relieve depression and boosts confidence. It stimulates the nervous system and improves the function of all endocrine glands, including the thyroid gland.

7) Shunya Mudra - This hand gesture balances the excess of space element in the human body. It helps to manage problems related to hormonal imbalance, including thyroid and menstruation. In this mudra, fold the middle finger until it touches the base of the thumb, while the thumb touches the back of the middle finger. The three remaining fingers should be straightened, while relaxed.

There are various other yoga poses, breathing techniques, and hand gestures that can be used to balance the thyroid gland. Just remember that many of these, however, should be done under the supervision of a certified yoga instructor to avoid accidents, and injuries.

Nizha Periaswamy is a yoga instructor and freelance writer.

Photo source: Yoginizha Yatra