I’ve been wanting to write a post about yoga for some time now. It’s a passion of mine, something I really enjoy to do and I am such an advocate of practicing yoga and meditation when you have a thyroid disorder.
The sad reality is that when your thyroid is under-active your energy levels are low, you want to lose weight and get some movement in your life but you just don’t have the energy to go for a run, or a walk even. Yoga, and particularly Yin or Hatha yoga, is gentle movement that you can take at your own pace which gives you some movement. Yes, you aren’t going to see quick results like you would with weight training or running, but you do see subtle changes as you continue to practice.
Yoga is also very good for the mind. Whilst not easy at first, with time yoga is known to quieten the mind while you concentrate on the breath as you move. This has been great for me with anxiety – I find my thoughts are so busy and the build up can feel as if I am about to explode so the calmness of yoga is great for both anxiety and depression.
This brings me on to meditation.
Some people have the connotation of meditation meaning you are clearing your mind of any thoughts. This isn’t the case – if you can do that though, a massive well done! Meditation is more commonly meant when you focus your mind on the now. This could be your breath, the sounds around you or how your big toe feels right now.
Again, this is something that will take time to master and you will have bad days and good days, however with practice it is amazing for anxiety and I even use it to help me get to sleep.
I believe by focusing my mind, both yoga and meditation combat my anxiety and depression more than anything I have tried. I practice yoga most days at home and try to go to a hot yoga class once a week. I’ve been to a couple of yoga retreats and one in particular where we had a digital, meat and alcohol detox left me feeling like a whole new woman! From this regularity I’ve found my body has changed shape, slightly more toned, and I know I am in a better frame of mind for the day if I’ve done yoga in the morning. I’m guessing my colleagues can tell too!
I have found that I can’t meditate by myself, I need a guided meditation so I use an app or there are podcasts which have guided meditations. I tend to listen to these in bed as they help me sleep – calming my mind!
Give it a go
You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga, if you have back troubles or can’t get down on the floor you can adapt the pose to suit you. I would recommend going to a class but if you can’t get to one try watching a class online if you’re new so you can get tips on how to get into the poses and not damage yourself.
Yoga can be good to release hormones with different postures. Some examples of postures which can be restorative for the thyroid are:
The cat stretch…
For more see here – one of many sources on the benefits of certain yoga poses for the thyroid.
If you can’t get to a local class, youtube have many free yoga classes. I usually go for ‘Yoga with Adriene’ who has a few 30 day courses and range in length from about 12-35 minutes for a session. All you need is a mat!
As for meditation, I have to recommend the app ‘Insight Timer’. It has so many guided meditations based on what you need encouragement with, from stress/anxiety to sleep. I usually listen to the guided meditations but there are also meditations to sounds too.
And on that note – namaste and good luck trying it out.
If you have anything you would like to add from your experiences, drop me a line or feel free to comment on here or any of my social channels.