Yoga and Thyroid Conditions Matt Fass RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) "There are ways in which Yoga can positively effect the different systems of the body. The endocrine system, which is responsible for secreting hormones into the bloodstream, is made up in part by the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland controls the rate at which our bodies use energy, make protein, and it also controls the body's sensitivity to various hormones. So to sum up, it's got a pretty important job. With thyroid disorders more in the public awareness, we see a role for Yoga in the balance and regulation of the thyroid gland. In one sense, practicing Yoga for stress reduction can help make the symptoms of thyroid disorders more tolerable and daily life more easeful. In another sense, there are certain Asanas or physical poses that when practiced regularly can help treat thyroid disorders. Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) is the most well known pose for thyroid treatment, directly stimulating the thyroid by putting pressure on the base of the throat (where the thyroid gland is located). Fish pose (Matsyasana) is a great counterstretch to Sarvangasana, as it stretches out the area where the thyroid is located. Others poses that can have a positive impact are inverted pose (Viparitakarani), plow pose (Halasana), and bridge pose (Setubandhasana). It is also a great idea to finish a session of these poses with Pranayama (breathing practices) and Savasana (corpse pose). While these Yogic practices are a wonderful way to achieve optimal functioning of the body and mind, consult your physician first for a diagnosis before incorporating these practices as a treatment for thyroid disorders."