Yoga Asana Therapy for Hyperthyroidism:
The thyroid is a small but vitally important butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of the neck, wrapped around the trachea or windpipe. The beating of your heart, your body temperature, and the rate at which food is digested are some of the major functions regulated by the two main hormones- T3 & T4, secreted by the thyroid gland. Like most systemic diseases, Hyperthyroidism and its variant ailment, hypothyroidism is caused due to imbalances in the hormonal system brought upon by overexertion, stress and a fast-paced urban lifestyle. Overproduction of thyroid hormones leads to hyperthyroidism as underproduction leads to hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Too much thyroid hormone in the system puts the body in an overdrive mode as the metabolic rate increases significantly. As the metabolic rate increases, your heart has to work harder to meet the heightened energy demand. Also, your body temperature tends to remain on the higher side. As your body uses up more energy, there is a constant need to replenish fluids along with an insatiable appetite. The person feels frantic, irritable and tense most of the time due to overactivation of the Sympathetic Nervous System. People suffering from Hyperthyroidism often end up tossing and turning in bed as Insomnia is common among them.
Samkhya Yoga View:
Thyroidism, both hyper and hypo, is caused, as per the Yogic point of view, from an imbalance of the Wind, Fire and Water elements. People with higher Wind to Water imbalance or hyperthyroidism will tend to exhibit high anxiety and tension, impatience and irritability, distractible overactivity, exaggerated sensitivity to noise, and fluctuating depression with sadness, and problems with sleep and appetite.
People with higher Water to Wind imbalance or hypothyroidism will tend to suffer from a loss of interest and initiative, slowing of mental processes, poor short-term memory, general intellectual deterioration, depressive paranoia, and eventually, if not corrected, to dementia and permanent brain damage.
Yoga Asanas for disease reduction:
Yoga Asanas such as Sarvangasana and Halasana stimulate the Superior Thyroid and Common Carotid arteries that supply oxygen to the thyroid gland. Not just that, these specific set of asanas massage the Sternohyoid & Cricothyroid muscles that are indirectly connected to the thyroid gland. The Yogic techniques always start with the physical, in order to bring a state of homeostasis, which leads to symptom reduction. In the case of Hyperthyroidism, these specific set of Yoga Asanas regulate the functionality of the Thyroid and the Pituitary gland and stabilized T3 & T4 release. These Yoga asanas should be practiced in moderation and one should finish the practice with 5-10 mins of Shavasana to avoid any exertion, which can stimulate the adrenal cortex to release cortisol.
Pranayama Kriyas for Hyperthyroidism:
The Shitali Pranayama kriya, which involves breathing through the mouth, keeping the tongue folded upwards, cools the body down. Intricate blood vessels in the nostril humidify and warm the inhaled breath and by directly breathing through the mouth, this pathway is cut bringing the body temperature down. Ujjayi Pranayama increases the lung capacity and Oxygen transfer rate that has the combined effect to lower blood pressure.
Yogic Lifestyle advice:
Extended vacations and walks in nature are suggested for those suffering from thyroidism. Spices such as garlic, asafoetida, and chilies should be avoided. Work with high work pressure and deadlines should be avoided. Listening to music, pleasing to one’s ears should be indulged in for at least one hour a day.Regular sleep and waking times should be followed and it is better not to sleep too early or wake up too early for those suffering from thyroidism.
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