According to yoga gurus, good digestion is the essential for a healthy body and mind. Certain yoga postures are said to address specific body ailments and some such postures can be practiced for better digestion. Often digestive disorders are psychosomatic symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression and nervousness. Hence, treating this one ailment can address many other issues for healthy body and mind.
Food, Yoga and Body
Food and digestion play a very important role in defining the body’s responses. What we eat plays a big role in maintaining the efficiency of the digestive tracts. Yoga raises self-awareness in the practitioner and they began to understand the relationship of healthy food and healthy body. Over time, practitioners start making a conscious choice to select foods that will bring a sense of balance, harmony and well-being. One will prefer natural and fresh foods to refined, processed or fried foods.
Yoga Postures to Aid Digestion
It is important to practice yoga on an empty stomach so keep a time gap of 3-4 hours between the last meal and your practice.
- Yoga exercises begin with abdominal breathing, whichstimulates the bowels and intestines, pushing food and fecal matter. It can be performed in Sukhasana or Vajrasana. Begin the exercise by breathing deeply through your nose while keeping your mouth closed. When you inhale, expand your abdomen, and contract your abdomen as you exhale. As your practice progresses, try to equalize the duration of inhalation and exhalation and lengthen the breath.
- The seated twist posture squeezes the internal organs and encourages the flow of oxygenated blood while expunging metabolic wastes and toxins from the body. They also help in reducing abdominal bloating and digestive discomfort. To perform this posture, sit cross-legged or in Vajrasana, create a length in your spine and inhale as you raise both your arms up close to the ear. As you exhale, place your right hand behind you on the right side and your left hand on your right knee. As you exhale, twist to look over your right shoulder.
- Paschimottanasana is another highly beneficial pose, which looks easy, but requires much practice to master. To enter this pose, sit down with your legs stretched out in the front. Raise your arms and lengthen your spine as you breathe in, slowly exhale and bend your body forward with arms outstretched and clasp your feet. Use your breath to go deeper into the posture until your face touches your knees.
At the end of the practice, relax your body by practicing Savasanaby lying on your back, placing arms in 45-degree angle and feet hip distance apart for 5 minutes.