Have you ever wondered what happen to the food and drinks that you put into your mouth?
Ok, fine. I know you know somehow or rather, it will come out. From there. *rolls eyes* But do you know what happens during the process?
The process whereby food and drinks are broken down is called Digestion. Food and drinks must be broken down into their smallest forms so that the nutrients in them (for example carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, water and salt) can be absorbed by the body in the small intestines.
Fiber (a type of carbohydrate) on the other hand is indigestible. The main functions of fiber are to regulate the body’s use of sugars and help food move through the digestive system (in order for the waste to be dispelled out).
The digestive system is made up of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestines and large intestines.
In the mouth, digestion of starch starts here with the help of saliva secreted from the salivary glands. Gastric juice in the stomach starts digestion of protein. From here, the resulting thick liquid (chyme) enters the duodenum (first part of the small intestines) and mixes with digestive enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the gallbladder. The bile acid dissolves fat. After fat is dissolved, it is digested by enzymes from the pancreas and the lining of the intestine. 95% of absorption of nutrients occurs in the jejunum and ileum (small intestines). The wastes continue its journey down the colon (large intestines). Water and minerals are reabsorbed back into the blood here. Waste material is eliminated from the rectum during defecation.
So what has practicing asana got to do with this sh*tty issue?
Asana can be sub-categorised into standing, seated, restorative, inversions, backbends, forward bends, stabilizers, hip openers, arm balances and twists.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) (forward bends) calms the nervous system and pacifies adrenals in the kidneys to compress the abdominal area to aid in digestion.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) (forward bends) allows for the traction of the spine and creates space in the torso for digestion to occur.
Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle pose) (standing) – Side bending opens up the obliques, and the twisting motion tones and energizes abdominal organs, especially the intestinal tract and liver.
Dhanurasana (Bow pose) (backbends) creates a lot of space in the abdomen and lengthens the torso, core and digestive cavity. Lying on your belly creates pressure in the abdomen, and by extending arms and legs upwards there’s room for oxygen to flow through.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes pose) (twists) allows blood to flow through the digestive tract and by the motion of the twist new blood will enter the digestive system. As the spine twists, you really feel that “wringing out” motion in your abdominals.
Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-wall pose) (inversions) – This is a restorative pose and aids in digestion by moving the body from resting mode to digestive mode. By alleviating pressure from standing, the pose helps relieve congestion and stress in the legs as well.
The above are just examples of some asanas that help in the digestive system. The list goes on and on and on.
The movement in bends puts pressure on the abdominal organs (think massaging them), thus decreasing gas, reducing acid, strengthening the digestive muscles and eliminating waste more efficiently. The movement in twists reduces blood flow to the digestive organs, so when you release, you are letting in “new” blood to the digestive organs (think wringing the toxins out).
Practicing asana (all types of poses included) relaxes a person and in turns the digestive system as well. Blood flow and oxygenation to the digestive organs improves too.
With regular practice of asanas, the digestive system can work more efficiently, thus improving the overall health of a person.
~ What goes in must come out ~
200hr YTTC Sept 2015 (Weekend)