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Yoga and Thyroid Disease
Exploring the Role of Yoga in Managing Thyroid Conditions and Their Symptoms

by Mary Shomon

Yoga is an excellent alternative form of healing that is very suited to the needs of thyroid patients. For beginners, yoga's gentle stretching and emphasis on breathing can be done by almost anyone, and reaps immediate rewards in terms of energy, reduction of stress levels, flexibility and reduction of muscle and joint stiffness, and much much more in terms of peace of mind and general harmony.

Yoga can also be of tremendous help as a healing therapy for people with thyroid cancer. I invite you to read yoga instructor and thyroid cancer survivor Teresa Campana's excellent article on Yoga and Cancer, for a wonderful look at yoga and its role in healing and wellness for cancer patients.

I've personally been a practitioner of yoga for several years, and have found that it is an excellent way to tone muscles, eliminate aches and pains, dramatically reduce stress, and help breathing. While I've also tried to do aerobic exercise, I've found that I look forward to yoga -- unlike aerobics! -- and very quickly have very rapid results from practicing even a few times a week. For me, and for many others, yoga is much more than exercise -- it is bringing of mind and body and spirit into balance!

The "Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Hypothyroidism" chapter of my book covers the subject of yoga and thyroid disease at great length, including an in-depth interview with my own yoga instructor, Swami Rameswarananda, of the Yoga In Daily Life Center -- US in Alexandria, Virginia. I encourage you to visit the Yoga in Daily Life website for more information on this innovative form of yoga practice.

The best benefits of yoga for people with any form of thyroid disease come from regular practice of an overall program of yoga. There are many sources of excellent yoga information on the internet. Some excellent places to start include Yoga Class, a free, online yoga class featuring audio and video yoga programs. You can also check out Yoga Journal, which publishers a bimonthly magazine, and a directory of yoga organizations. Their website also features an online directory of teachers.

I'd recommend finding a good yoga class if you can, but you can also start with a home video. Two to consider are:

  • VIDEO: Yoga Journal's Yoga Remedies for Natural Healing
    There is probably no exercise better than yoga to help tune and tone the overall body and regain energy lost to long-term chronic thyroid disease. In this video, yoga master Rodney Yee presents a series of yoga workouts dealing with various physical problems common to thyroid disease.

  • VIDEO: Living Yoga - A.M./P.M. Yoga for Beginners Set
    For thyroid sufferers looking for an excellent way to ease into gentle exercise this video is a perfect start. A pair of yoga exercises designed to start and end the day. Includes "A.M. Yoga for Beginners" and "P.M. Yoga for Beginners."

Poses for the Thyroid

There is a specific pose that is thought to be of great benefit to the thyroid. It's known as a shoulder stand, or sarvangasan.

To perform a yoga shoulder stand, lie flat on your back, keep your legs together, and raise up your legs until they are at a right angle to your shoulders/neck, perpendicular to the floor. Tuck your chin into your chest, and rest the weight of your body on your shoulders and elbows, using your arms to support your hips. Try to practice until you can do a shoulder stand for a full two minutes. To see some illustrations and detailed instructions for the Sarvangasan/Shoulder Stand Pose for the thyroid, see:

Sticking Out Our Necks and this website are Copyright Mary Shomon, 1997-2003. All rights reserved. Mary Shomon, Editor/Webmaster
All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician or health practitioner before starting a new treatment program. Please see our full disclaimer.