Fern Olivia is the founder of Thyroid.Yoga and an L.A.-based wellness expert renowned for her artful approach to self-healing. This week, we’re sharing her expertise on yoga, meditation, breathwork, and plant-based alchemy and her own journey recovering from Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. To learn more, check out her new mindbodygreen course, Thyroid Yoga: Holistic Health Practices, Postures & Self-Care Rituals to Restore Vibrant Health.
After a long day, we may feel like we’ve been carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. It’s no wonder our necks are sore and our voices feel tired. This sequence helps to unpack the body from that stress and will set you up for a peaceful, restful sleep.
Deep relaxation is a must for physical and mental health. This three-part sequence releases tension accompanied by nervousness or anxiety and stimulates the balance of the thyroid and parathyroid glands. It's an easy yet powerful routine that derives its effects from the sequence of glandular stimulation and the use of the breath and sound.
1. Shoulder shrugs
Inhale to bring the shoulders up, exhale as you release them down. Do this for one minute.
2. Neck circles
This exercise removes tension in the neck and stimulates the thyroid. It's a great one for feeling stiff, inflamed, foggy, or unable to express yourself. It’s one of my favorites to do when I feel stressed or creatively blocked.
Sit with a straight but relaxed spine. Adjust your head so you feel like it's sitting on top of your spine by slightly moving it back and bringing your chin down slightly. Roll your neck slowly in one direction and then in the other. Let the weight of the head move the head around. Do this very methodically, moving slowly through tight spots and working out areas of tension.
As you do this, take long deep breaths. Pause anytime you feel a knot or area of tension that needs to be released, and let out a sigh, moan, or groan. As you express through your voice, you will free the locked energy to flow through your body.
Do this for at least one minute in each direction. Then, sit quietly and notice the sensations in your body and spine.
3. One-minute breath
This breath technique is amazing for relaxation, clearing brain fog, and promoting a deep space of healing in your body.
Bring the index finger and the thumb together to touch, and close your eyes.
Your goal is to inhale for 20 seconds, hold for 20 seconds, and exhale for 20 seconds. (You can start with 5 seconds each and work your way up as you build up your lung capacity.) Repeat for a total of three minutes.
Practice these three steps every night before bed. The more frequently you do them, the more profound effects you'll notice on your hormones and your sleep quality.