How Yoga Can Improve your Digestive System

Yoga – as the ancient science of creating unity- has the power to transform. It can transform you mentally, spiritually, emotionally but also physically. Many individuals nowadays suffer from high levels of stress due to a fast-paced lifestyle, culture and career. 

Stress -according to yoga- is an impact that is by itself not harmful, can lead to many diseases once it accumulates in the body over a period of time. Stress can be stored in various parts of your body as subtle energy blockages, majorly in the legs (calves and back of the thighs), arms and back. 

It also impacts our nervous system and tends to tighten the digestive system. People with high levels of stress are very prone to experience constipation, poor digestion, malabsorption of nutrients, cramps and aches. If not treated or simply ignored, this can lead to various food intolerances as well.

But how can you change this and on improving your digestive system without taking allopathic medication

-Yoga is the answer!

If practiced correctly and under the guidance of an experienced teacher, you can practice a few simple techniques (Pranayama) and postures (Asana) that work directly on the digestive system and improve its function.

Let’s differentiate here between two types of problems: 

  1. The digestive problems are caused by an unhealthy diet, insufficient exercise and access oily and processed foods

  2. The digestive problems are caused by stress, tensions, tendency or anxiety/depression

  3. (For number 1) it is important to look as the root first and make some changes in terms of diet, water intake, dietary restrictions. If the individual doesn’t change his diet and movement levels, no yoga in the world will cure him. The digestive system is a very powerful system of the body that is linked to all other important bodily functions. When the diet is poor and artificial, less prana (energy) comes into the body which means all organs and cells turn weaker and age faster. 

  4. Yoga suggest a simple and easily digestible freshly cooked diet that consists of cooked vegetables (not raw), pulses and grains. Its best to avoid any processed, frozen and conserved ingredients.

Once some general changes are made, the following techniques and asanas are recommended:

Nadi Shodan Pranayama – Energy Channel Cleansing (5 minutes in the morning)
– Pawanmuktasana – Energy Releasing Poses (10 minutes)
Surya Namaskar (4 rounds) in case of no hypertension, anxiety, menstruation/pregnancy
or menstruation imbalances / Alternatively: Chandra Namaskar (4 rounds)
Santolanasana – Balance Pose (as long as comfortable)
Ardha Matsyendrasana – Half Lord Fish Pose (2 minutes)
Dhanurasana -Bow Pose (10 seconds, repeat twice)
– Shava Udarakarshanasana – Stomach Spinal Twist (2 minutes on each side)
Shavasana (8-10 minutes)

(For number 2) it is important to work on both nervous and digestive system as these are closely related especially in terms of stress. It is advisable to make some changes in terms of lifestyle and find more breaks and gaps for rejuvenation. It is good to do Abhyanga (Self-Massage) with almond or mahavishgarbha oil especially on the calves, thighs and lower arms.

The following techniques are recommended:

–  Power of Transformation Breathing or Bhramari Pranayam (5 minutes)
Pawanmuktasana – Energy Releasing Poses (10 minutes)  
Parvatasana – Mountain Pose (1-2 minutes)
 – Garudasana – Eagle Pose (as long as comfortable, use a support like wall or bolster if needed)  
Vrksasana – Tree Pose (2 minutes on each side)  
Padahastasana – Hand to Leg Pose (30 seconds)
Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose (1 minute)  
Supta Udarakarshanasana – Stomach Spinal Twist (2 minutes on each side)  
– Shavasana (8-10 minutes)  

Especially when there is weakness and indigestion, it’s important to integrate twisting asana that increase the digestive fire (pitta). However, it should be understood to add other techniques as well to create a balancing practice. We hope that this article gave you some useful insights and tips about yoga can improve your digestive system!

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