Yoga Poses For Digestion:
In general, emotional issues (like stress), food sensitivities, and poor diet choices can cause problems with digestion. Some of the resulting digestive symptoms you could experience include bloating, constipation, and even diarrhea. If you have some of these symptoms, we’re sure you have wondered, what things you could do (naturally) to support a more consistent digestive tract. Today we explore the work of yoga poses for digestion.
Yoga may be a daily intervention that can help with digestive issues. In this post we’ll specifically explore yoga for digestion! A way in which to “re-calibrate” your gut and get yourself feeling calm and relaxed.
Yoga has potential to support many issues related to your health. This can include symptoms of stress or anxiety. In addition, helping to improve flexibility (with certain positions and slow breathing, which help warm up the muscles), reducing risk for injuries, and even weight loss.
Yoga for digestion, might not seem like the obvious fix to your stomach issues. Most of us are aware of over-the-counter medications. However, let’s explore the potential of how this ancient practice can help support healthy digestion.
How Yoga Helps With Digestion:
1. Yoga Reduces Stress and Promotes Emotional Stability
Your digestion could be impacted by your emotional and mental state. For example, think of the last time when you were extremely nervous or anxious. Have you ever experienced an “upset” stomach, as a result? Oftentimes, stress and anxiety can be the culprit of preventable stomach issues.
If your digestive issues are related to stress and emotional turmoil, yoga is one natural intervention to try. Yoga can aid in calming your mind, decreasing nervousness or stress. Thus, potentially aiding in digestive health.
The concept that the gut influences brain and behavior and vice versa has been studied. This idea indicates that not just physical stress, but psychological stress can influence gut activity. For example, cramping, aches, and nausea.
In fact, there is a growing body of evidence that support safety of mind-body therapies, even in pediatrics, as well as helping to reduce symptoms of anxiety in children and adolescents.
Hence, it’s logical to think that activities that help lower stress and support how you cope with stress, can therefore have some influence on gut performance. Yoga has been studied extensively to help support things such as mental health.
2. Yoga Encourages You To Take Better Care of Your Body
Digestion issues can be set off by a number of factors. Food choice is one of the more obvious culprits.
This is not the case with every individual. Can yoga in help to making better food choices? Indeed, yoga has been linked to healthier eating behaviors and higher levels of physical activity in practitioners, as opposed to non-practitioners.
In personal experience, yoga (as well as exercise in general), has a way of making you feel energetic and healthy. This potentially, do to the “feel good” hormones released during bouts of exercise.
Oftentimes, when we feel good, and work hard, we become more cognizant of the foods we put into our bodies. Hence, foods that often, lead to digestive issues.
Yoga may just create a cascade effect on your health, as it helps to heal your mind, maybe your body follows suit. In turn, you’ll want to start actively helping yourself by eating right and living a more conscious life.
3. Yoga Presses On The Digestive Tract To Relieve Gas And Tension
The effect that yoga has on digestion may stem from the pressure of certain postures. Deep breathing techniques, coupled with abdominal focused stretches, helps to massage this area and relax smooth muscle.
Twisting poses and forward bends may be especially effective in relieving individual digestive issues. Specifically, when coupled with focused breathing, and on pulling your belly in toward your spine at the end of exhalation.
Some poses also enhance the compression and lengthening of the intestines. Thus, potentially helping better blood circulation to the gut.
Yoga Poses For Digestion
You might not know which poses are best for your digestive health. So, we’ll introduce you to some yoga poses specifically, that may support digestive health.
Grab your yoga mat and let’s go!
A Short Yoga Routine for Bloating/Digestive Health
Seated Forward Fold
Seated forward fold is a simple, beginner pose, done in a sitting position. It stretches muscles and focuses on the upper and lower back, as well as the hamstrings and hips.
To perform this pose, it’s much like it sounds. Furthermore, from a seated position on your mat, stretch your legs straight in front of you, legs together. Begin by taking a deep breath inward, and then as you exhale, reach your arms down toward your feet, grasping the heels if possible.
This position puts pressure on the digestive organs, pelvic region and thorax. It is said to promote and improve blocked gas, alignment of the vertebral column, as well as help improve respirations.
Child’s pose is similar to a seated fold, in that you fold your body over your legs to create sufficient stomach pressure, touted to stimulate your bowels. However, instead of staying seated on your bum, you are kneeling.
To begin Child’s pose you want to be kneeling. Your legs and feet should be tucked under your butt, securely. Then, you should lean forward and extend your hands in front of you. Child’s pose in one of the more popular yoga poses. Oftentimes, part of a restorative yoga session. It benefits the lower back (stretches’ the spine), upper back, hips, knees, and neck.
This pose is said to massage internal organs, calm the mind and body, and relax the shoulders and neck regions.
An intermediate standing yoga pose that offers a great side-bend and stretch, the triangle pose differs from the two previous poses. However, may still offer aide to your gut issues.
This standing pose can benefit your arms, shoulders, back, biceps, core, hamstrings, chest and quadriceps.
Firstly, spread your legs wide (3 feet apart). Inhale, placing your arms out and above your head. Then, reach down and twist to one side. Turn your right foot outward, keeping your left foot/toes pointing straight ahead. Switch to the other side, once you’ve held the triangle pose for several breaths.
This pose places pressor or compresses the side of the abdominal muscles closest to the floor, while the other side of the abdomen/hip area, is stretched. It is said to help with stimulating your bowels.
A reclined twist is touted as another beneficial posture for gut health and digestion. Touted to strengthen not only abdominal muscles, but improve the function of various organs and the digestive tract. Other benefits include flexibility of the spine, hips and shoulders.
To preform this maneuver you’ll need to be supine, with the back straight. Then, bend both your legs upward. Slowly lower both your legs to one side of the body. They should be stacked, and your arms should be shaped like the letter T. Attempt for both shoulder blades to make contact with the mat.
Pay attention to your breath as you sink into the reclined twist, and hold the pose for a least one minute.
Seated spinal twist is the final pose we’ll talk about in our post. It also involves a twist like maneuver. An intermediate type yoga pose, that can benefit and stretch muscles in your back, biceps, core, hips and neck.
Twists, in general, are said to hit many of the body’s organs, providing even-pressure throughout the torso region. The pressing of the lower abdomen simulates the internal organs for better digestive functioning. This pose also helps to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles with longer holds.
A seated twist is done, just how it sounds, however does have multiple variations. Begin by sitting, having your legs out on your mat, straightened. Then, you’ll want to choose one leg to cross-over your other. Cross this leg so that your knee is bent and your foot is near the kneecap of your straightened leg.
In conclusion, you’ll put your arm around the bent knee and twist your body. You’ll want to twist on both sides.
Yoga can have many positive health benefits. However, many of the benefits are about determination, consistency and believing you can change your life through exercise, stretching and creating the right mindset.
If able, start with these basic asanas, and progress to more advanced postures and poses.
Please share your experiences with yoga and any other additional exercises that you feel can provide digestive support in the comments section of this blog.