The thyroid is the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck. It regulates many of the body’s major functions such as metabolism, hormones, and energy levels—and it is also responsible for your hair, skin, nails, sex drive, fertility, and reproductive health.
Since your thyroid gland is connected to your gastrointestinal function (also known as your digestion), adrenal hormone metabolism, blood-sugar levels, stomach acid production, brain chemistry changes, and liver detoxification, its dysfunction can contribute to many clinical manifestations in your body, including infertility, adrenal fatigue, migraines. In other words, inflammation.
This sequence, which I recommend practicing for 15 minutes every single morning, creates a sense of calm in the body, supports liver detoxification, delivers fresh oxygen to the brain, and purifies the blood, all which contribute to sustained thyroid balance and an anti-inflammatory environment for your body to thrive in harmony and balance.
1. Seated spinal twist with long, deep breathing.
Sit on your shins with a block under your seat to support an upright posture. As you inhale, raise your left arm and extend through the left fingertips. As you exhale, twist to the right and release your left palm to your right knee. Breathe deeply here for five breaths. Then unwind and repeat on the other side. This twist stimulates the cerebrospinal fluid and releases stagnation, aids digestion, and improves blood flow to the vital organs including kidneys, liver, heart, and thyroid.
2. Bear claw twist.
This particular breathing exercise increases circulation and expands the capacity of the lungs. According to Kundalini yoga texts, this specific Pranayama, or breath technique, promotes increased circulation and stimulates thyroid and parathyroid secretions, which aid in reducing stagnation and inflammation. At the level of your throat, place the right palm facing the left palm and clasp fingers together, creating a tension on the palms almost as if pulling them apart. With every inhale, twist torso to the left. Each twist to the left sends circulation and blood flow to the heart, which is located on the left side of the body. With every exhale, twist torso to the right. Each twist to the right promotes the detoxification of the liver, located on the right side of the body. After three minutes, sit silently with your eyes closed and breathe deeply, noticing the effect of this breathwork on your physical and energetic state.
3. Cobra pose.
Begin on your abdomen with your legs extended. Place your hands under shoulders and hug your elbows in toward the sides of your body. Press down through the tops of your feet and your pubic bone. Spread your toes. Inhale as you gently lift your head and chest off the floor. As you draw your shoulders back and your sternum forward, slightly lift your chin. Cobra pose is one of the most popular poses for thyroid calibration. It stretches the chest while strengthening the spine and shoulders. It also helps to open the lungs and stimulates the abdominal organs, improving digestion. Cobra reduces stress and fatigue. It also firms and tones the shoulders, abdomen, and buttocks, and helps to ease the pain of sciatica. Traditional yoga texts claim the pose heals the body of disease and awakens Kundalini shakti, the divine cosmic energy that activates our self-realization.
4. Bow pose.
Begin lying on your abdomen and on an exhalation, bend your knees. Bring your heels as close as you can to your buttocks, keeping your knees from spreading out. Reach back with both hands and hold onto your outer ankles. As you inhale, lift your heels up toward the ceiling, drawing your thighs up and off the mat. Equally lift your head, chest, and upper torso. Draw your tailbone down firmly into the floor while you simultaneously lift your heels and thighs. Draw your shoulders away from your ears and slightly lift your chin. To release, exhale and gently lower your thighs to the mat. Slowly release your legs and feet to the floor.
Bow pose lengthens the entire front of the body, while simultaneously strengthening every muscle in the back. Additionally, the pose helps to open the chest, abdomen, quadriceps, ankles, groins, hip flexors, and throat. The pressure on the abdomen positively stimulates the organs of digestion and reproduction, which helps to relieve constipation and menstrual discomfort from PCOS and PMS symptoms. In addition, the deep chest stretch opens the lungs, helping to relieve respiratory ailments including asthma. Bow pose also helps to relieve fatigue, stress, and anxiety, symptoms very common in those with thyroid and hormone imbalances.
5. Twisting standing forward fold.
This is the most challenging pose in the sequence and also one of the most beneficial, as it stimulates several of the major meridians in the body. It may take some practice, so work toward the pose daily and be compassionate toward your progress. Begin standing on your mat with your right foot forward and your left foot behind you about three feet, front foot facing forward and back foot at a 60-degree angle. Reach your right hand through the inside of your front leg to hold the outside of your back ankle. Reach your left hand forward to hold the front of your right ankle. Aim to keep the hips parallel by consciously drawing the back hip forward and pressing into the front foot to draw the front hip back. This pose is excellent for improving balance and stability. It massages your internal organs, which tones them and increases their ability to detoxify your body. Cleansing and toning these internal organs also improves metabolism and is therapeutic for digestive troubles, including constipation, a common symptom of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s. This pose also helps to relieve low-back pain and sciatica.
6. Seated forward bend.
Begin seated on the edge of a folded blanket with your legs extended. If your hamstrings or low back are tight, bend your knees and place a bolster or rolled-up blanket under your knees. As you inhale, reach your arms overhead, lengthening through your spine and reaching actively through your heels. As you exhale, hinge forward from the hip joints, lengthening the front of your torso.
This pose stretches the spine, shoulders, pelvis, and hamstrings. It also stimulates and balances the liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, ovaries, and uterus. While traditional yoga texts say this pose may cure disease, modern-day yoga teachers agree to its many other benefits, which include relief from stress and anxiety, improved digestion, relief from menstrual pain and symptoms of menopause, reduced adrenal fatigue and improved sleep and relief from insomnia. This pose is also believed to be therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility, sinusitis, and thyroid imbalances.
Discover more poses and techniques to support your health in Fern Olivia’s Thyroid Yoga® Practitioner Training and Mentorship, and download your complimentary anti-inflammatory recipe book and essential oils guide here.
Want more ideas for how to reduce inflammation? Here are 10 healthy foods that cause it.
Also, yoga is incredible for keeping your body & mind healthy. Ready to learn about how the power of food can also create a sound body & mind? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.