Is yoga going to transform your thyroid into a hormone-producing machine to the point that you no longer need thyroid medication?
Definitely not (3).
For this reason, yoga is actually a great natural therapy if you have a thyroid condition, that can be safely combined with more conventional treatments like thyroid medication.
And this applies to all thyroid conditions, by the way, except if you don’t have a thyroid (yoga can’t help your thyroid if it doesn’t exist but it is still beneficial for other reasons!).
Beyond yoga’s impact on blood flow and mobility, studies also suggest that daily yoga can help reduce anxiety, reduce the symptoms of depression (4), help with sleep (5), and improve overall well-being.
And the best part? All you need is a comfy outfit, a quiet place, and something soft to stand on to get started.
Without further ado, here are THE yoga poses that you should be doing if you want to take advantage of this natural treatment:
DOWNLOAD FREE RESOURCES
Foods to Avoid if you Have Thyroid Problems:
I’ve found that these 10 foods cause the most problems for thyroid patients. Learn which foods you should avoid if you have thyroid disease of any type.
The Complete List of Thyroid Lab tests:
The list includes optimal ranges, normal ranges, and the complete list of tests you need to diagnose and manage thyroid disease correctly!
#1. Plow Pose
Plow pose is a moderately difficult position to get into but is great because it forces blood flow from your legs to your head.
It also puts slight pressure on your neck as your neck and chest move closer together.
This approximation of your neck and chest will put pressure on the thyroid gland which may encourage the release of thyroid hormones.
For this reason, avoid this pose if you have hyperthyroidism!
How to do Plow Pose:
- Lay on the ground on your back with your arms and legs by your side.
- Bring your knees toward your chest and straighten your legs up towards the sky.
- Using your core, lift up your hips as you move your legs over your head (keeping them straight).
- Slowly lower your legs over your head until your toes touch the ground. If you have trouble reaching this position get as close to the ground as possible or use a block for support.
- If you need assistance, bring your legs to support your thighs. If you do not, you can rest your hands directly by your side with the palms facing upward.
- Hold this pose for as long as possible, up to 2 minutes.
- When finished, press your hands down to the floor and slowly roll your legs down until they touch the floor.
- Rest while laying flat on your back for a few breaths before standing up.
#2. Bridge Pose
Bridge pose not only helps open up your chest, it also strengthens your posterior chain including the muscles of your glutes and thighs.
Bridge pose promotes more blood flow to your head and heck because it places your head below your heart.
The change in gravity promotes the flow to your neck which may help to bring nutrients to your thyroid gland.
For this reason, it can be considered a mild sort of conversion.
How to do Bridge pose:
- Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat. Your feed should be hip-distance apart.
- Move your arms so that they are parallel with your body and at your sides.
- Inhale and press down with your feet so that your hips lift into the air.
- Press your arms down against the floor for support, or you can bring them under your back for a bigger stretch across your chest. Open up your shoulders and do your best to lay them flat against the floor.
- Push down with your feet until your glutes are in the air and you feel minor pressure in the neck.
- When finished, exhale, release your hands, and lower yourself to the floor.
#3. Fish Pose
Fish pose is a great yoga move to balance out hyperflexion of the neck which is associated with yoga moves such as plow pose.
If you are going to enter into a hyperflexion pose, make sure you balance it out with fish pose or another neck extension yoga pose.
Opening up your neck in fish pose helps to support the muscles of the neck, throat, and the muscles between your ribs.
How to fish pose:
- Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your hands at your sides.
- As you inhale, press your forearms and elbows against the ground while arching your mid-back and neck. The majority of the work used to lift up your mid back should be with your arms and not your neck.
- Keep your legs straight while arching your back and breathe in this pose for 5 to 20 seconds.
- To exist, slowly lower your torso down to the ground and place your arms by your side.
*Note: You don’t need to stay in fish pose for very long, even if you spent minutes in a pose with hyperflexion.
#4. Wheel Pose
Wheel pose is great for supporting your thyroid but it does require a fair amount of both flexibility and strength.
Compared to many of the poses listed in this article, wheel pose is one of the most difficult.
If you are new to yoga, or relatively inflexible, then this may be a move that you should skip.
If you are up for the challenge, then give it a try!
When done correctly, wheel pose puts your head and neck below your heart which improves blood blow to the thyroid gland.
It also provides a strong stretch across the front portion of your body, abdomen, and chest.
How to do wheel pose:
- Start by laying flat on your back with your hands above your head and your palms down.
- Bring the soles of your feet close to your glutes.
- Press down with your feet until your hips raise up to the ceiling. Your neck and torso should still be on the ground at this point.
- When your hips are in the air, push your hands against the ground so that your back is off the ground. At this point, your head, hands, and feet will be touching the ground.
- Using your arms, firmly push down against the ground. This motion will bring your head off the ground.
- When your head is off the ground, push down on your hands to further extend your arms and feet so that your pelvis and abdomen reach towards the ceiling.
- Take several deep breaths.
- When you exit, lower your chin towards your chest and slowly allow your upper body to move toward the ground.
- From there, allow your glutes to reach the ground so that you are now flat on the ground.
Cat-cow pose is an incredibly basic and easy yoga pose that is often used to strengthen the core, improve spinal mobility, and is often used as a warm-up for more difficult poses.
To get the benefits to your thyroid gland, make sure that you flex your neck into your chest when you are in cow pose.
You can think of these counter poses as moderate flexion and extension of the neck. Both work in tandem to open up your neck and promote blood flow to the neck.
Cat-cow pose is also great if you suffer from back pain!
How to do Cat-Cow pose:
- Get in a quadruped stance with your hands and knees on the ground. Your hands should be directly over your shoulders with your fingers facing forward and your knees should be hip-width apart directly under your hips.
- As you exhale, curve your back, flex your abdomen, and bring your head towards your chest. This will cause you to arch your back like a cat.
- As you inhale, relax your abdomen and allow your neck and spine to arch. In this position, your gaze should be toward the ceiling.
- Repeat several times as needed.
#6. Camel Pose
Camel pose is an easy way to open up your chest, extend your neck, strengthen your core, and stimulate your thyroid gland.
It’s definitely a “feel good” stretch that you can use if you’ve been sitting for a long period of time.
Compared to the other yoga poses listed here, this one is considered easy.
How to camel pose:
- Start on your knees, hip-width apart, with your toes tucked.
- Engage your inner thighs and hamstring muscles as you lower your shoulders backward.
- As you exhale, backbend slowly while keeping your chest lifted.
- As you lean back, support your back by grabbing on to your heels or a block.
- Keep your inner thighs and quad muscles engaged to support your back and to keep your body steady.
- Feel the stretch across the entire front of your body from your chest down to your legs.
- Stay in this position for several breaths.
- When ready, exit the pose by flexing the muscles of your quads to bring your body back to the starting position.
#7. Shoulder Stand Pose
Shoulder stand can be used in conjunction with plow pose and is often used a progression to get into plow pose.
Shoulder stand provides support to your back and encourages the draining of blood from your legs down into your head and neck.
It also would be considered simtulatory to the thyroid gland given the flexion that your neck is put into while you do it.
If you have trouble sleeping try doing the shoulder stand pose for 1-2 minutes prior to laying in bed.
How to do the shoulder stand pose:
- Lie on your back with your hands by your side and your legs lying flat.
- With your hands facing palm down, bend your knees and bring your knees toward your chest and over your hips.
- Straighten your legs and while keeping them toward, slowly bend them toward your head. At this point, your arms should still be by your side, your legs your be straight over your head, and your low back will be lifted off the ground.
- Bring your legs over your head and rest them on the ground behind you if possible. This will cause your back to continue to lift off the ground.
- With the space created from the previous moves, bring your hands to support your low back and hips.
- With your back supported, lift your legs straight up into the air, keeping them together.
- At this point, your neck will be flexed, your legs will be pointing to the ceiling, and your back will be supporting your legs.
- To exist the pose, move your feet back above your head and slowly roll your back to the ground with the support of your hands.
#8. Cobra Pose
Cobra pose is another simple yoga pose that takes advantage of neck extension.
This pose is not only great for your thyroid but for your chest and low back as well.
How to do cobra pose:
- Start by laying on your stomach with your palms flat and directly under your shoulders.
- Look down at the floor with your neck in a neutral position.
- Inhale and press down with your hands while lifting your chest off of the ground. Roll your shoulders back to open your chest and make sure your elbows stay at roughly a 45-degree angle.
- Keep your neck neutral in the position with your chest lifted and take several breaths.
- To exit the position, slowly lower your chest toward the ground until you are laying flat once more.
#9. Child’s Pose
No, this pose is not named after me (just a joke!) but it does happen to be a solid pose for supporting your thyroid.
Child’s pose is probably the second most simple pose of all poses listed here (second only to corpse pose) but it shouldn’t be ignored.
It’s frequently used as a “rest” pose when doing yoga flows and is beneficial because it opens the hips, lengthens the spine, stretches out the cervical spine (head and neck), and relaxes the body.
This pose is said to provide benefits to anxiety, low back pain, and tight muscles.
How to do child’s pose:
- Kneel on the ground and sit down on your legs with your knees slightly apart.
- Learn forward over your knees so that your chest moves closer to the floor.
- Place your arms in front of your body, straight out, or rest your heads on your arms in a folded position.
- You should feel a stretch across your back, shoulders, arms, and chest.
- Breath in this position for as long as needed.
- Exist the post by pushing your arms against the ground to enter back into a kneeling position.
#10. Supported Headstand
The supported headstand is a nice way to enter into more difficult inversions so you can think of this as a progression from some of the other minor inversions mentioned already.
Inversions are spectacular for helping to address your orientation to the world around you.
While physically entering into a state that turns your world upside down, you may find that your mental awareness of the world around you shifts as well.
This is particularly beneficial for patients with thyroid disease because, often, in order to find healing and wellness in your condition, you need to buck the standard and conventional advice.
In a sense, this requires you to think outside of the box.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time in inversions to get this benefit, either, but I would recommend trying some sort of inversion daily.
In addition to its benefits on your mental state, inversions move blood from the veins in your legs to your head and neck and, by extension, your thyroid gland.
The more blood flow that makes it to your thyroid gland, the better.
How to do supported headstand:
- Find a sturdy wall for support. Having a wall nearby will help you to enter into the inversion and will provide both mental and physical support.
- Starting on your hands and knees, with your head facing the wall, place your forearms on the ground.
- Pushing against the ground with your feet, move your hips up into the air while keeping your forearms on the ground. This will place you into dolphin pose.
- From here, slowly inch your feet closer to your forearms as far as you can go. Your body will be in an A shape.
- When you reach the point that you can no longer make it closer to your forearms, kick one leg up at a time until it is over your head. If necessary, find the support of the wall to keep your balance.
- Bring both feet above your head (resting against the wall if needed).
- Interlace your fingers behind the crown of your head for support. The weight will be on your forearms and the crown of your head.
- To exit the pose, lower your feet back to the ground in a controlled fashion.
#11. Corpse Pose
Corpse pose is the pose that is typically practiced at the end of a yoga flow series and it’s designed to let the body relax, adapt, and activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
The parasympathetic nervous system antagonizes the sympathetic nervous system and it promotes resting and digesting.
This is the system you want to activate as a thyroid patient because it promotes reduced anxiety, lower blood pressure, and relaxation of the muscles!
Here’s how to do it:
- Lay flat on your back with your arms by your side and your feet about hip-width apart.
- Find a position that feels right. You can keep your arms straight by your side, or move them out into an X shape.
- Close your eyes, take several breaths, and allow your body to sink into the floor.
- Release tension from your limbs, and muscles, and calm your thoughts.
- You can stay in this position with your palms up if you feel you need more energy, or with your palms down if you feel you need to get rid of energy.
- Rest in this pose for as long as needed.
Putting It All Together
While you can just do one or two poses each day, you will get the best results by combining multiple poses into a yoga flow.
A yoga flow allows your body to adapt, move, and take advantage of multiple poses.
You can find all sorts of yoga series and yoga flows on the internet or you can make your own.
If you want to make your own series just make sure to end with corpse pose and incorporate at least 4-5 different poses that promote thyroid health.
Spending even 5 minutes each day can do a lot to promote better mobility of the head and neck which will positively impact your thyroid.
Have you tried yoga to support your thyroid before?
Did you feel that it helped you?
Why or why not?
And, by the way, you can find some additional FAQs about yoga and thyroid below if you’re still looking for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yoga is not considered a curative treatment for thyroid problems.
Having said that, it can certainly be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan which may serve to help improve your thyroid function and reduce your need for thyroid medication.
Possibly, but probably not without additional changes to your lifestyle.
Recent studies suggest that up to 30% of thyroid patients may be able to get off of their thyroid medication.
Based on my research and experience, thyroid patients can increase the odds that they fall into this category by adjusting their diet, replacing micronutrient deficiencies, managing stress, and getting enough sleep.
You can learn more about how to improve your thyroid naturally here.
Possibly! I wouldn’t count solely on yoga to help you lose weight but it can definitely help if it’s combined with other changes to your diet and exercise routine.
Yoga may indirectly help with weight loss by helping to balance cortisol levels, reduce stress, and promote better thyroid function.