Yoga Practice for a Healthy Digestion
Your digestion is responsible for ensuring many other parts of your body function correctly. Digestive problems are amongst the most common health problems around the world. Chronic digestive issues can lead to nutrient malabsorption, malnutrition, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome or worse. Rather than rush to the chemist for over-the-counter medications (which only add to the problem and weaken your digestive strength) there are alternatives for improving the performance of your digestion.
Yoga for Digestion
Too much over-cooked and processed food combined with stress and lack of exercise, often leads to constipation. Constipation holds toxins in your body and undermines your entire system. Typically yoga is practiced daily with a full set of poses, or asanas, that focus on the breath while you move into a position. Many of these asanas are designed for various health benefits, with the digestive system being one of the benefactors. So how can yoga improve your digestion? Listed below are five specific yoga poses that can boots your digestion and improve your health.
5 Yoga Poses to Improve Digestion
Setu Bhanda (Bridge Pose).
This pose is a great start for improving your digestion. You move your body into a bridge pose with your neck flat on your mat, arms completely to the mat, and hands almost touching your heels. From here you extend your hips towards the ceiling and hold. When you hold in this pose and breath throughout, your digestive organs are compressed (only slightly), which allows for fresh blood to enter the heart. The compression on the digestive organs allows for toxins and other harmful compounds to exit your organs while allowing new, fresh blood to enter this area after completing the pose. This is a great perk on your digestion as these organs thrive off freshly oxygenated blood. Hold this pose for 10 slow, full breaths and return the hips slowly back to the mat.
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose).
This pose generally is a more experienced pose, but anyone can certainly practice it regularly. If you experience constipation then this may be a good pose to do on a daily basis. You start this pose by lying prone on your stomach. With an exhale, bring your heels towards your glute muscles and at the same time grab ahold of your ankles (not your feet) with both hands. If you are successful at reaching for your ankles, you will then extend your feet and hands towards the ceiling and raise your head as if you are looking at the ceiling. Hold in this position or about 30 seconds with slow, calm breaths throughout the entire pose.
Holding in this position helps to gently compress the digestive organs, not to mention it stretches the entire front part of your body as well. If you are unable to reach for your ankles, a yoga strap or stretch strap can assist you until you are able to successfully perform the pose.
Pavanamuktasana (Wind Relieving Pose).
The name may be quite a mouthful, but the pose is great if you have belly bloat, or air trapped in your digestive system, which is typically caused by a slowly performing digestive system. This is a common condition for a number of adults who chew gum, drink carbonated beverages, or have a slow digestive system. To successfully complete the Pavanamuktasana pose, start by lying supine on your back with all limbs on the mat. Exhale and bring your right knee towards your chest and hold in this position for about 30 seconds while breathing. When you are finished with the right leg, inhale and let the leg return to your starting point and switch legs. Consider this position a few times per day as part of your regular yoga practice and let the digestive rewards come into play. Be mindful that it is likely you will pass wind during this pose; however, just know that it is common and it means it is working.
The cat-cow pose is a great pose for your digestive system, as well as your spine. You start on all fours and move into your cat pose while inhaling. Bring your spine up towards the ceiling for about two or three breaths. Next, move into cow pose by lowering your spine and stomach towards the mat; exhale as you move into this position. Hold here for about two or three breaths as well and continue in this sequence for about two to three minutes. The cat-cow pose is great for gently massaging your digestive organs as well as returning freshly oxygenated blood directly towards your digestive organs. Perform this pose daily for best results for your digestive organs.
Savasana (Corpse Pose).
It may seem odd that Savasana can aid in your digestion, but it serves many valuable functions for your health. One of the most common causes of poor gut health is due to high levels of chronic stress hormones. For this reason, a successful Savasana can help to alleviate stress and help to bring balance throughout your entire body. A successful Savasana should be performed for at least five minutes, focusing on your breath throughout the entire pose. Try to avoid negative thoughts and emotions as this only leads to stress that decreases the efficiency of your digestive system. Consider this pose daily for best results.
Daily Yoga for Improved Digestive Health
Yoga is a holistic practice that has many proven benefits on your health. Your digestive system is a vital part of your health and vitality. Improving its performance can help to boost your energy, and nutrient absorption. It can even help to even keep you healthy during cold and flu season. For best results, consider daily yoga for your digestive health.
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