Yoga is an Eastern practice that goes back thousands of years. Only recent has it become a popularized form of exercise in the West.

Although the real intention of yoga (unity of body with spirit) is rarely attainted in the colonized Western version of the practice, the postures involved still provide a low-impact form of stretching. These stretches and poses, which allow blood to flow to areas that need healing, can undoubtedly address specific health concerns.

There are thousands, if not millions, of yoga poses, from which you can choose to target different areas of your body. Poses run from easy (like corpse pose) to advanced (like crow pose), so they’re good for any age, or shape.

Where Is The Thyroid?
The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped organ that sits in the front of your neck. It produces hormones that regulate your metabolism and affect every organ in the body. Thyroid hormones are also involved in the regulation of skeletal growth and maintenance, as well as heart function.

Around 27-million Americans have thyroid disease, and even more have low thyroid function.

Symptoms of thyroid dysfunction include:
– Fatigue
– Slowed metabolism
– Weight gain
– Constipation
– Difficulty concentrating
– Waxy skin and swelling (myxedema)

– Dry skin
– Low libido
– Depression
– Slow pulse
– Dry, brittle hair
– Deep, hoarse voice

What Triggers Poor Thyroid Function?
There are a variety of reasons as to why your thyroid might be malfunctioning. Environmental factors put a heavy toll on the thyroid, and is one of the main factors in contributing to autoimmune thyroid disease.

These factors include :
– Smoking
– Stress
– Exposure to radiation
– Nutrient deficiencies (iodine, selenium, zinc, vitamin B12)
– Environmental toxins (pesticide exposure, fluoride in water, etc.)
– Chronic infections
– Certain medications (beta blockers, birth control pills, estrogen, iodinated contrast agents, lithium, phytoin, steroids (testosterone injections), theophylline)

Yoga for Thyroid
Yoga works to stretch and open constricted muscle and connective tissue around the neck, improve blood and lymph flow, reduce stress, and stimulate the endocrine system (which includes the thyroid).

The poses mentioned below are throat-stimulating. They improve circulation and energy flow around the thyroid, and help stretch and strengthen the neck.

In fact, several studies have shown the positive effect of yoga on improving thyroid function. One study found that practicing yoga for six months helped improve cholesterol levels, serum TSH, and reduced the thyroxine requirement in female patients suffering from hypothyroidism .

As with all stretching and yoga routines, remember to breathe deep, and never go too deep into a pose if you experience sharp pain.

1. Fish Pose