Photo: My recent visit to Jamaica.
Before you continue reading this post, please speak with your doctor prior to participating in any physical activity such as yoga. For some Gravesters, exercise may be dangerous. This is recommend only to those who have underwent thyroid ablation via RAI, thyroidectomy and are no longer experiencing hyper symptoms, or for those who are in remission.
Here are a few reasons why you should practice yoga if you have Graves’ disease.
- Opportunity to tell your brain to STFU -Let’s face it, Graves’ Disease can come with a serious case of the crazies. The anxiety, the sleepless nights, the hopelessness one feels after being diagnosed just truly SUCKS! Yoga is a great way to change your perspective and will teach you to be in the moment instead of worrying about the things we cannot control.
- Where the breath goes the mind follows – Yoga is about focusing on your breath. And well, you can’t really think about two things at once, so it’s a great way to put the Graves’ anxiety on the back burner.
- Rewire your brain – Yoga has been scientifically proven to help rewire the brain by changing dysfunctional behaviors. Those of us with Graves’ can really benefit by cutting out unheatly habits and thoughts. This article explains this in more detail see the part on “Neuroplasticity.”
- Say “hasta la vista” to stress – Yoga can activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) through the awareness we draw into our body with our breath. PNS is part of the nervous system that controls our body’s involuntary processes, such as our heart beat, digestive movements, etc. By exercising the PNS, we can train our body to recover more efficiently from stress.
- Boost your immune system – By reducing stress through yoga, you’re also building a strong immune system. Check out more information here.
- Sense of community – Yoga gives us access to a set of new friends. Join a yoga studio that fosters a strong sense of community.
- Something positive to think about – If you’re like me, you’ll become addicted to yoga immediately. . . You’ll want to eat breathe and live yoga. It’ll be the only thing you’ll think about, which beats thinking about other things with Graves’ – like, are my eyeballs going to pop out of my head.
- New perspective – As you begin to practice yoga, you’ll soon learn that each pose or asana has a visual focal point or a drishti. As you’re twisting and turning, you’ll literally begin to see the world from different angles. And well, sometimes, the solution to a problem is simply to change your perspective. I became very depressed after my Graves’ diagnosis. I thought it was the end of my world. However, I decided that I needed to change my perspective. I now think Graves’ was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me, because of all the lessons I’ve learned.
- Sense of accomplishment – Yoga is not about doing each pose perfectly. It’s about working towards it, even if it takes us two years to finally do a headstand. The little victories we see each day in our practice, feel great!
- It will change your life – ‘Nuff said.