Yoga and the Digestive System

When we think yoga, the first words that come to our minds are ‘calm’, ‘relaxation’ and ‘peace’. Yes, yoga indeed does lead to the attainment of those words but beyond that yoga does even more.
Yoga is beneficial to every aspect of the body and now, we are going to look at a few yoga asanas that aid the digestive system.
One asana that helps the digestive system is the Mayurasana (peacock). In this pose, the weight of the torso is balanced on the arms. By doing so, the blood supply to the digestive organs is cut momentarily. Upon release of the pose, fresh and oxygen-rich blood now flows to the digestive organs and improves the organs’ functions. It also aids in the movement of stuck particles.
Also, generally any asana that involves the twisting of the torso is good for the digestive system. An example would be the Marichyasana. Twisting compresses the colon and it aids digestion. It also allows for the movement of stuck particles and toxins.
Even simple yoga poses such as the Balasana (child’s pose) and aid in the digestion. Balasana is a relaxing pose and it thus, relieves gastrointestinal symptoms which are induced by stress.
Other poses which help the digestive system are the Apanasana (hugging knees to chest while lying on back), Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold), and Trikonasana (triangle).
Another form of yoga which assists the digestive systems is the Kriya, especially the Agnisar Kriya and Nauli.
The technique for the Agnisar Kriya is:

  • stand with legs slightly apart
  • inhale through the nose
  • while exhaling through the mouth, bend the knees slightly
  • place the arms on the thighs and straighten the arms (without hyper extending the elbows) and the back should be straight
  • look straight ahead with the head upright
  • let the abdominal muscles relax
  • without breathing, move the abdominal wall in and out quickly about 10 to 15 times
  • inhale through the nose and stand upright
  • to repeat 3 times

The Agnisar Kriya activates the digestive fire, stimulates metabolism and strengthens the immune system.
The Nauli is a rather advanced form of kriya that is done. It usually takes about 3 months to 1 year to master and is best learnt from an experienced practitioner.
Nauli can aid in the recovery of constipation, and it cleans the small intestion by moving any stuck particles and also, gets rid of any digestion issues.
Though we have looked at some ways that Yoga helps the digestive system, it does not mean that we can stop being mindful of the food we consume 🙂
200hr YTT – Weekend

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