Sadhguru looks at the reason behind the widespread manifestation of thyroid imbalance in the world today.

Questioner: Sadhguru, these days, many people are diagnosed with thyroid problems, either hypothyroidism or… hyper or hypothyroidism. Even though we are consuming iodized salt, still thyroid problems are prevalent. What is the cause for the increase in these problems? Is it stress-related like diabetes or hypertension? Can we overcome these conditions with hatha yoga, or kriya, or being in a consecrated space like Isha Yoga Center? What are the things we can do to come out of it?

Sadhguru: I think a whole lot of people have come out of it with hatha yoga practice, no question about it. Being in a consecrated place definitely adds to it. But, this pretty widespread manifestation of thyroid imbalance. See, we must understand this. What you’re calling as thyroid - in yoga, we don’t look at the glands like that but medically, what you’re calling as thyroid is that secretion within you, which is trying to calibrate your system on a daily basis. It’s just calibrating how much digestion should happen, how much energy should be produced, how much fat should be produced, how much muscle should be built, everything, it’s trying to calibrate your physical structure.

Your physical structure is very closely related to your psychological structure. Today, there is substantial evidence to show you that if you sit here and think of the mountain, your glandular function will happen in a certain way, if you think about a tiger, it’ll happen another way, you think about a ocean, it’ll happen another way, you think of a man or a woman, it’ll happen another way. Just a thought – nothing, no contact with mountain, no contact with tiger, no contact with man, woman or ocean – just a thought will fluctuate the glandular function. I’m saying that is how fine the system is that it is trying to calibrate everything to keep you in a good place.

The problem with you is you need a bullock cart because you are the missing link (Laughs). You need a bullock cart but they gave you a fine spaceship, tch. Every little thing will do a world of things. Simply if you touch it, it’ll go boom, waves of stuff happening in the system. Simply if you look like this (Gestures) and make one conclusion about the tree, this (Referring to oneself) will go into many varieties of chemical and other kinds of variations. Glandular functions will change.

Wherever you may be, whether you’re in Mumbai, or New York, or London, wherever – just look at the situation in which you’re walking. Maybe socially, you’ve gotten used to those things. But look at the kind of atmosphere you’re walking in, the number of things that are happening. None of them are conducive for this life (Referring to oneself). You might have gotten adjusted to it, maybe now you can’t live out of those cities, that’s another matter but the life that you are, is not seeking that kind of atmosphere. So the number of variations that are happening within you are not in your favor. Glandular dysfunction is just one manifestation. A very highly calibrated function of glandular function, one thing is the thyroid. It’s easily noticeable, the first thing, your physiological and psychological parameters get thrown off a bit, simply because disturbance.

And another dimension is what’s the disturbance that’s happening from within you – your own psychological patterns. Another dimension of disturbance is what kind of food is getting into you. There is no way you can eat anything today, which is not chemically infested. If you’re eating very organic food, it’s little organic chemicals they’re using. It’s come to that place. It’s very difficult to eat something that’s just grown in the wild forest, you can pluck out something and eat. That’s very, very little. Not even a small percentage of people are capable of eating that anymore. It’s all from the marketplace. And what goes into the marketplace is all about more, not about what.

And also this, in this country (Laughs)… All these things are gone now, don’t worry. My grandmother… Every day the vegetable-seller… You know, they used to come home with a basket, just then in the morning they would have plucked, by 7:30, 8:00 they are at the doorstep. When they come and she will look at this. When she wants to buy it, she won’t allow the vegetable-seller to touch the vegetables. They plucked and brought it, it’s fresh, just now it’s come off the plant but if it has to go into the balance or if she has to choose one, two, three, four, like this, she won’t let them touch it. “You don’t touch my vegetables.” This is not to keep bacteria away. She doesn’t want that woman or that man to touch the vegetables that her children and grandchildren will eat. She will touch it in a certain way, tch, she will fondle it, she’ll caress it, she’ll look at it like this, like this (Gestures) and then she will cut it and make it.

Don’t think this is all funny. If all these things are missing in your life, you have to take pills to manage your glandular function. And there is no way by popping a pill, you can get it into balance. You can suppress it, you cannot get it into proper balance, no way, because every day it’s different, every moment it’s different. This is calibration, a very active calibration that’s happening. You kill it and just take a pill and somehow manage – you are a little dysfunctional machine. With this dysfunction, this dysfunctional machine will manifest in so many ways. And you will only know it when you stretch it. When you’re living with minimal stuff, it won’t show up.

It’s like this. See, even if you have a flat tire on your car, at twenty kilometers you can drive home, you know (Laughs). Some things will crack up, some things will tear up but still you can drive. Only if you’re hitting two-hundred kilometers per hour, then if the tire goes flat, then you know you fly off the road. So, that’s all it is. If all these things are taken care of well, now when you rev up your life to function at a much higher level, simply it’ll go. Now you rev up your life without bringing that balance, then you see it’ll freak. You will see this happening all around you every day.

So, to invest that much into our lives, well, you can’t leave your city and go and live in the jungle. You can’t leave the atmospheres and go away. At least you must equip yourself, so that those things don’t have too much impact on you. It’ll anyway have impact but how much is the question, how much impact? At least within your home, surround yourself with some plants. If there is no space, fill your room. This is going to have some freaky bedrooms. Open up half the roof. “Oh, but there’s another floor above, Sadhguru” (Laughter). Okay, open up the damn wall, so that some sunlight comes into you. Yes. Not everything is closed and just one air conditioner is going brrrr all the time.

This is one thing. The reverberations around you are freaking this body completely. All the time brrrr… Particularly when I’m outside the country, particularly in United States – even in Europe, it’s little better – in United States, all the time something is buzzing, hmmm, endlessly. When I come here, it’s like (Gestures), you know just still, which makes you alive. Everything is buzzing, you are like poof (Laughs). Most people are not conscious of it but it’s happening to them. The very fact that they’re sleeping eight hours a day is just that, that they’re not living in their natural habitat. They are trying to protect themselves by sleeping.

So, to protect yourself from disease, to protect yourself from mental illnesses, to protect yourself from all kinds of imbalances, you sleep eight-ten hours a day. This is half your life, you’re dead. Death is always a good fix but that’s not the fix we’re looking for. We’re looking for a life fix, not an end fix. If you end something, it is fixed, isn’t it? Hmm? Fixed or no? Fixed, but not the way we want (Laughs). We want to be here, alive and be fully fixed.

So if this has to happen, you can – I know you may look freaky, even I will think you’re freaky - but you can bring some plant life into place where you sleep. When you walk, you must always be conscious of the life other than human life. Most people are not even conscious of the human beings, so I am reminding you, you must be conscious of everything that is alive. A tree, a plant, a blade of grass, a grasshopper hopping and the people that you don’t like are passing by (Laughs), all kinds of things. You must be alive to everything.

Don’t need to do any “Oh, I love the tree”! You don’t have to love the tree, you (Laughs)… you have to be nourished by it, that’s the only way to live. You like it or not, it’s nourishing you right now. Consciously if you do it, everything will work better. Something as simple as being alive to everything around you indiscriminately may regularize your thyroid problems. Tch, of course, morning hatha yoga is there, kriyas are there, all these things will definitely help. And the consecrated… powerfully consecrated spaces are there, many things…

One of the main reasons is, human beings are becoming less and less active as technology grows. In a day, on an average…average human being, how much activity, physical activity, they used to perform in the past, previous generations of people and how much physical activity all of us are performing right now, is abysmally low. With such a low level of activity, keeping the balance in the system is difficult. So a little imbalance, don’t go to bed. If you feel little imbalanced, you must get… jump into activity. Wherever activity is happening with some vigor and joy, you must jump into that activity, and do more and more of it if you’re feeling sick – really because the moment you go back, you are empowering that. Well, if you’re very ill, that’s a different thing but otherwise, you must… For… We’re talking about essentially glandular dysfunction of various kinds, activity is a simple solution for everything.

And don’t make activity – for those of you in New York, I’m telling you – don’t make activity… You have that health band on your thing (Gestures) (Laughter). Ten steps (Gestures) (Laughter), twelve steps (Gestures) (Laughter) – don’t do this, that’s not the way to do activity, you may get more sick by doing that. Simply, joyfully doing something… Being joyfully alive… Activity is… If you do not know how to sit here and be exuberantly alive, just go and play…play a game, run around simply. Just imitate the grasshopper when you’re walking (Laughter). Try. Why not? You never did this? This’s the problem with you. When you go now, I want to see you (Gestures) (Laughter) because you’re going to walk on the grass (Laughter), you better grow like a grasshopper, chuk, chuk, chuk, chuk, chuk (Gestures). You will see how much aliveness will happen with you (Laughs).

Essentially, your fundamental problem is you have become bloody serious about your life. So, we have to again remind you, you will die anyway, don’t be so serious about it (Laughs) because it’ll get over in no time. You must loosen the grip. Now if you loosen the grip, that last scene can be different. Otherwise, people see you (Gestures)… That’s a great thing that happened to you – you loosened the grip. Now itself if you loosen the grip, you will see life will happen wonderfully well for you.