This is the fourteenth article in a series of articles on how to practise yoga, in consultation with Ayurvedic and Yoga consultant, Dr. Pushpika Attanayake. This week’s discussion is on yoga postures that could be used to effectively control thyroid disorders.

“Thyroid disorders are mainly two fold, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. These disorders involve the thyroid gland, either directly or indirectly,” says Dr. Attanayake.

“Thyroid hormone influences growth, development and many cellular processors, hence imbalances in this hormone have widespread consequences in the body”.

“Yoga has been proven to prevent thyroid disorders. It also helps balance thyroid hormones in the body. Yoga stimulates and balances functions of thyroid, pituitary, pineal and adrenal glands in the brain, which makes up the endocrine system.”

Neck movements
Neck movements relax the neck muscles and stimulate the thyroid gland.
1. Sit in Vajrasana, by bending your left leg and bringing the foot to the left buttock. Same way, bend your right leg and place the right foot next to the left foot. Shift the weight of your body forward onto the toes. Your knees should be on the ground, toes together and heels apart. At this point, you should be sitting on your heels. Stretch the arms forward and place the palms of your hands on the knees. Breathe normally.

2. Keep your neck straight and then slowly bend your neck forward as much as possible.

3. Then, come back to normal position and bend the neck backwards.

4. Return to the normal position and then move the neck to the right and left sides. It might be difficult to move the neck to the sides initially, but this will come with time.

5. Practise five rounds.

Ardha matsendriyaasana
This asana stimulates thyroid glands and improves its function.
1. Sit on the floor with your knees folded back.

2. Then, bend the left leg and place the left     foot  on the ground over the right knee. The heel of the right foot should be near the left buttock.

3. Bring the right hand over the left leg and grab the big toe of the left foot.

4. While breathing in and out, twist the trunk as much as possible.

5. Turn the neck and look over the left shoulder.

6. Fold the left hand around the waist, with the palm facing outwards. Maintain the asana for a while, breathing normally.

7. Then, while breathing, turn the neck to face the front.

8. Release the hands and place them besides the body.

9. Straighten the right leg.

10. Return to sitting position by straightening the left leg.

11. Repeat the procedure for the other side of the body, this time by bending right leg and placing right foot on the ground over the left knee. Left hand should be over right leg and you should be looking over the right shoulder.

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Ujjai pranayama
According to Dr Attanayake, Ujjai pranayama, has positive effects on the mind, body and nervous system. It improves the function of all endocrine glands, specially the thyroid gland.
This helps regulate secretion of hormones from the thyroid gland.
(Practise of Ujjayi breathing should be done with a Yoga Expert Only)
1. Sit in any meditative posture or comfortable position or sit on a chair.

2. Close the eyes and relax the whole body. Focus on your breath and allow the breathing to become slow and rhythmic.

3. Breathe out completely and empty the lungs.

4. Start breathing in slowly, with awareness through both nostrils with the glottis partially closed. Due to this partial closure of the glottis, air flows in and out with friction thereby creating a sound in the throat, which is similar to the hissing of a snake.

5. After completing the slow inhalation, look at the tip of the nose with both eyes (nasika mudra) and close the right nostril by the thumb and exhale through the left nostril very slowly with the same hissing sound. Exhalation should be longer than inhalation. Please note that inhalation is through both the nostrils and exhalation should be through the left nostril only. Maintain the hissing sound at the throat while inhaling and exhaling. Inhalation and exhalation should be long, slow and continuous.

6. This is one round. Practise for nine more rounds.

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“To reap the benefits of Halasana for thyroid conditions, it is necessary to continue the practice for some times. It is only after regular practice the final position of Halasana, which includes tucking the chin to chest, can be achieved. At this position, blood is accumulated in the neck region and the gland is oxygenated. This helps improve the function of all thyroid, as well as all endocrine glands.”
1. Lie down on the floor, on your back, in a relaxed position. Breathe normally.

2. Breathe out and while breathing in, slowly lift both your legs to a 90 degree angle from the floor.

3. Then, while breathing out, raise the hips and the abdomen. Raise both the legs over your head. Make sure to keep them parallel to the ground.

4. After breathing out fully, slowly lower the legs and rest the toes on the floor. At this point, legs should bridge out over the head. Continue keeping the legs straight.

5. Point the toes and breathe normally.

6. Hold this position for three minutes.

7. Breathe out and while breathing in, lift the toes off the ground, still keeping the legs straight.

8. Slowly lower the back to the ground, without jerks. Now the legs should be at a 90 degree angle to the floor.

9. Breathe in, and while breathing out, slowly lower the legs to the ground and come back into resting position.

10. Relax the whole body while breathing deeply.

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