Digestion is the cornerstone of our overall health. It affects our energy levels, our ability to absorb nutrients, and our ability to tolerate food. We can look at taking care of our digestive system like we’re taking care of a car. If we don’t put the right fuel in and the engine isn’t running smoothly, a breakdown can happen. Poor eating choices, lack of water consumption, and a hectic fast paced lifestyle can leave us with constipation, bloating, and tummy troubles. There is scientific evidence that many diseases start with insufficient digestion and elimination.
The practice of yoga activates our parasympathetic system which helps manage our stress and is responsible for all relaxation and digestive function.
Yoga also benefits our digestive system with twisting poses, inversions, and forward folds. These poses massage our digestive organs and increase blood flow and oxygen delivery. They also promote peristalsis, allowing for increased movement of waste products through our digestive tract.
- Poses such as revolved prayer twist, revolved triangle, and revolved crescent lunge stimulate the organs by applying gentle pressure, increasing circulation, stoking our internal digestive fire, and creating the movement of energy.
- Floor bow and locust pose stimulate the belly and large intestine.
- Seated twists get the energy of the body flowing and help release blocks.
- Wind releasing pose, which does just that, also massages the ascending colon. To come into that pose, lie on your back and draw your knee into your shoulder with the opposite leg extended, then switch sides.
- Child’s pose and malasana (a wide leg squat) open up the pelvic area and hips by allowing gravity to create space and relaxation.
Practicing yoga daily is beneficial for a strong and healthy digestive tract, especially when you're feeling sluggish and blocked up. No matter what poses you try, remember to breathe calmly and deeply and don’t skip the final resting pose of savasana. A peaceful mind and body go a long way in relieving the maladies of digestion.