YOGA HELPS WITH DIGESTION


After you’ve gobbled up a delicious meal your body gets to work. Namely, your digestive system which breaks down food into fuel and lets go of any waste that’s no longer necessary. When problems with this important system arise a host of symptoms rear their ugly heads as well. Symptoms like constipation, bloating, diarrhea, heartburn, and excessive gas are all attributed to a digestive system that finds itself a bit out of whack. Not fun! Now, these are all fairly common symptoms and you will no doubt experience them at some point in time or two in your life. The body is ever changing and adapting, but that doesn’t mean you must suffer in silence with no cure in sight!

Now I know the effects of these symptoms can be uncomfortable, even painful, but that doesn’t mean we should feel the same way when discussing them. Understanding, and talking about our body is paramount to taking care of it. So, let’s discuss the symptoms of a malfunctioning digestive system a little more in depth.

Constipation is a condition which makes it difficult for the body to properly eliminate waste, sometimes accompanied by hardened feces. Bloating causes the body to swell with retained fluid or gas. Diarrhea is characterized as frequent and excessive discharge from the bowels, usually in a liquid form. And excessive gas in the body can lead to an increase in flatulence. All of these symptoms can cause a feeling of pain or physical discomfort. They can lead to moodiness, disruptions of daily life, and even stress.

As a result, it is important to train ourselves when it comes to food consumption. We must learn to eat the right foods, in the necessary quantities, and at appropriate times. A good, healthy diet and lifestyle is key. All things in moderation is certainly the secret to a healthier digestive system. But you can take additional strides as well! Adding yoga and pranayama to your life can help keep your body and digestive system healthy and running smoothly.

Did you know? Even the most difficult cases of constipation and bloating can be relieved using yoga techniques alongside a diet of sensible foods and plenty of fluids.

There are a lot of poses which specifically affect the digestive system and help rid the body of waste and keep you free from related diseases. If you’re suffering from the effects of a destructive digestive system, give these poses a try…

 Yoga poses and movements for better digestive system

  • Always warm up with Sun Salutation

(Disclaimer: Yoga is not a substitute for medical attention, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. Yoga is not recommended and it is not safe under certain medical conditions. Please consult with a physician prior to practicing yoga and ask your doctor if it is okay.)

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Twisting Chair

1. Stand with your feet together, with your big toes touching. Beginners stand with your feet hip-distance apart.
2. Inhale and raise your arms above your head, perpendicular to the floor.
3. Exhale as you bend your knees, bringing your thighs as parallel to the floor as they can get, typically at a 45 degree angle. (Chair pose)
4. Inhale, bring your palms to prayer and turn your upper body to the right.
Repeat step 1-3.
4. Inhale, bring your palms to prayer and turn your upper body to the left.
-Hold for 10 breaths (30 seconds) each side

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Bridge

1. Lie flat on your mat. Bend your knees, heels close to your buttocks.
2. Exhale, press down through your feet, push your middle body up. Raise your hips as high as possible.
3. Move your shoulder underneath your body. Join or clasp your hands under your body, or use them for support until you're strong enough.
-Hold for 10 breaths (3o second) up to a minute.

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Plow

1. Lie flat on your mat. Tighten your abdominals and lift your legs off the floor.
2. Exhale, press your arms into the floor or use them to support your lower back while you lift your knees higher so that your buttocks and hips come off the floor.
3. Inhale, straighten your legs back towards your head. Your torso is perpendicular to the floor.
*Challenge
4. Exhale, Squeeze your legs and bend at your waist until your toes touch the floor.
-hold for 1-5 minutes.

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Boat

1. Sit on your mat. Slightly lean back, bending your knees, support yourself with your hands behind your hips. Your back should be straight.
2. Lift your feet off the floor as your lean back. Find your balance between your sit bones and tailbone.
(AVOID ROUNDING YOUR SPINE)
3. Inhale, slowly straighten your legs, so that they form a 45 degree angle. Lift your arms to your sides.
-Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.

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Bow

1. Lie face down on the mat, chin on the mat. Reach your arms behind you, grasping the outside of your ankles.
2. Lift your chest off the mat, try to simultaneously lift your thighs by pulling your ankles up with your hands.
AVOID HOLDING YOUR BREATH and KEEP YOUR KNEES hip distance apart.
-Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.

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Twisting Warrior

1. Step your left foot back, align your left heel with your right heel, and turn your left foot out to 45 degree angle. Keep your right foot facing forward.
2. Raise your right hand up toward the ceiling while keeping your left hand down near your right foot. Gaze up your right hand.
Or your can bring your palms to prayer and twist without supporting yourself with your left hand.
-Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Make sure to do both sides.

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Garland

1. Feet shoulder-width apart, heels on the floor, palms together, bend your knees, fold down by dropping your pelvis.
2. Separate your thighs wider than torso (upper body area).
3. Press your elbows against the back of your knees and join your palms together.
-Hold for 30 second to 1 minute

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Revolved head-to-knee

1. Separate your legs wide, bend left knee, place your foot on your right inner thigh.
2. Lift through your spine and stretch toward your right leg. Flex your foot and make sure your knee is pointed toward the ceiling.
3. Try to gently grasp the ball of your foot with your right hand and lower your elbow to the floor while rotating your upper body toward the ceiling.
4. Stretch your left arm up and over your head. Try to grab your right foot, gaze toward the ceiling.
-Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat with your left leg straight and right leg bent.

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Reclining hero

1. Kneel down, feet slightly wider than your hips, knees together, sit on the floor with your buttocks in between your heels.
2. If you are comfortable in this position, gradually lean back putting your hands behind you for support, lower yourself until your elbows.
Challenge-
3. Recline all the way back, move your arms to the side or over your head. Squeeze your knees together.
(AVOID FORCING or letting your knees slide beyond the width of your hips.)
- Hold for 30 second to 1 minute.

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Locust

1. Lie face down on the floor, point knees directly unto the floor.
2. Squeeze your buttocks and lift your head, chest, arms, and legs up simultaneously.
(AVOID HOLDING YOUR BREATH.)
-Hold for 30 second to 1 minute.

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Full Lotus

Level: advanced
Avoid forcing or straining your knees. If you try it and experience discomfort practice half lotus pose or butterfly pose.

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