‘Always trust your gut instinct’. Almost each of us has thought, heard, said and even followed this at some point in life. If trusting the gut instinct is considered so helpful, then we owe a lot to our gut, don’t we? The practice of yoga to improve digestion has been very beneficial to a lot of people.
Gut or the digestive system as it is called is one of the primary foot soldiers of our body system. Therefore it is very important to take good care of the gut. The digestive system is under constant pressure to absorb, assimilate and distribute essential nutrition to all other organs of the body. Any stress on the gut can dampen the overall digestive functions and in turn affect many other body systems. There are several yoga poses for digestion which helps in enhancing gut health.
Impact Of Irregular Digestion On Health
Sometimes we just know there is something wrong with us, but we fail to pinpoint the exact cause. It could be a feeling of generalized discomfort, low energy levels or something more. If this happens recurrently there is a high probability that some underlying digestive disorder is the root cause of it.
Some of the health problems occurring due to faulty digestion include:
- Weight fluctuation
- Disturbed sleep cycle
- Aphthous ulcer
- Recurrent eruption of acne
- Lowered energy levels
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Specific disorders related to various nutritional deficiencies
- Psychological or emotional distress
Seemingly minor health issues often stemming from digestive trouble have the potential to flair into something alarming if they are neglected. Practising yoga asanas for digestion is one of the ways to care for your gut.
How Does Yoga Help In Treating Indigestion?
The ancient art of yoga is among India’s greatest contributions to the world. Yoga is not only an excellent form of full-body workout but also has therapeutic effects on several disorders. There are many benefits of yoga for digestion improvement. Here are some ways in which yoga helps to improve gut health.
1. Muscle Strengthening
Performing certain yoga poses helps in strengthening of muscles of the abdominal wall as well as intestinal muscles. Well-toned intestinal muscles have superior functioning, which enhances digestion.
2. Intestinal Massage
Yoga poses for digestion offer a massaging effect to the intestines. This helps in rejuvenation and detoxification of the digestive tract. Performing regular yoga asanas ensures the maintenance of digestive functions.
3. Improved Blood Circulation
The benefits of yoga for digestion are numerous and one of them is enhanced blood circulation to the gut. Practise of certain yoga poses promotes blood circulation of the intestines and other parts of the digestive tract.
4. Improved Peristalsis
Peristalsis is the controlled motion of intestines from above downwards which forms an essential part of digestion. Disturbed peristalsis causes problems like bloating, constipation, acidity. There are certain yoga poses for bloating which help in resuming normal peristalsis, thereby reducing the strain over the gut.
There are several other benefits of yoga asanas for digestion. Those who practise these asanas are less likely to be affected by digestive troubles than those who do not perform yoga.
5 Must Try Yoga Poses For Indigestion & Improving Gut Health
Yoga has an instrumental role to play in the maintenance of healthy digestion. Many people practise yoga for indigestion and other digestive troubles with great results.
1. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This asana is rightly named as the bridge pose, because of the shape one’s body assumes while performing the asana. This yoga pose helps in stretching of intestinal and abdominal muscles. It provides relief from flatulence and constipation.
- Lie on your back with arms and legs kept straight and relaxed.
- Bend both knees and with a distance of one foot between the two.
- The feet should be touching the ground and arms lying at the side with palms touching the floor.
- Take a deep breath and while exhaling, lift your pelvis and back upward.
- Shoulders, neck, head and feet support the weight of the entire body.
- Without bending the elbows interlock fingers of both hands for additional support.
- Stay in this pose for sometime before returning to the previous relaxed pose.
Paschimottanasana is also known as seated forward bend. This yoga pose will have a massaging effect on your intestines and help in improving peristalsis. While performing this asana, bend forward only as much as possible without putting excessive strain on your muscles.
- Sit on the floor with your back erect.
- The legs must be kept straight with feet facing forward.
- Elevate your arms while keeping them straight. Fingertips must point toward the ceiling.
- Gradually begin to bend forward without bending elbows or knees. Try to touch your toes with your fingers.
- Keep your neck straight and your belly should touch your thighs.
Uttanasana is known as standing forward bend. This asana has a positive effect on intestines, liver, spleen and all other parts of the gut.
- Stand straight on the floor with an erect back and arms kept at the side.
- Take a deep breath in while raising your arms upward towards the ceiling.
- Gradually lower your arms and shoulder as you bend your back. Exhale while bending down.
- Try to bend forward as much as possible without straining your muscles a lot.
- Touch the floor with your palms if possible.
- Remain in this position for a while before returning to the previous relaxed position.
Vajrasana is known as the indestructible pose. This is one of the easiest Yoga asanas. It can be performed on a full stomach as well. It is recommended to sit in Vajrasana after every meal for healthy digestion. It helps to relieve constipation.
- Get into a kneeling position and sit in the same way such that your buttocks are touching your feet.
- Both your knees should be parallel to one another.
- Shift the body weight from your knees to the thighs.
- Keep your back erect and place each palm on the corresponding knee.
The word bala is derived from a Sanskrit word which means child. Balasana is named this way because the shape one’s body assumes after performing this pose resembles a fetus. Balasana distributes equal pressure over the intestines and other digestive organs. It stimulates intestinal blood circulation thereby preventing flatulence, bloating and constipation.
- Kneel on the floor and lower your buttocks till you seem to be sitting on your heels.
- Gradually turn your knees externally so that they point away from one another.
- Bend your back forward and stretch your back till your tummy is resting between your thighs.
- Try to touch your forehead to the floor.
- Stretch your arms forward so that your palms are touching the floor.
- This is a resting pose, therefore one can remain in Balasana for as long as a minute as well.
Yoga is like a huge treasure chest, with something for everyone. There are many beneficial exercises for everyone who is keen on becoming a student of Yoga. Other than the above-mentioned Yoga asanas, there are several other poses in yoga to improve digestion.
5 Helpful Tips To Perform Yoga For Digestion Correctly
Unless you are performing yoga under expert supervision, a little advice always comes in handy. Here are some useful tips to follow while doing yoga asanas.
- Avoid performing yoga after a heavy meal.
- Wear comfortable clothing which will not restrict body movements while performing Yoga.
- If you feel thirsty while performing yoga, avoid drinking large gulps of water. Sip very small quantities of water.
- Consult with a yoga trainer to know about the frequency with which various asanas may be safely performed without hampering the health.
- Refrain from performing yoga if you have recently undergone abdominal surgery or medical procedure for any digestive disorder.
Doctors also advise the practice of yoga to patients complaining of recurring digestive disturbances. However, it is advisable to learn yoga from a certified and experienced trainer before beginning practising various yoga asanas independently. There is something in yoga for everyone irrespective of age and gender. Unless you have been advised not to perform yoga due to any pre-existing health issue, there is no harm in it.
Yoga is one of the few forms of exercises offering therapeutic benefit as well along with a good physical workout. Yoga is also known to have beneficial effects on mental health. Embrace yoga for a healthy and happy lifestyle!