Yoga is unity, and its ultimate goal is to unite the body to the mind and to the spirit. Although you can enter into a yogic practice purely for the physical benefits, the other components of this ancient art, including its mantras and its philosophical teachings, are important in bringing balance and vitality to your existence. There are a variety of great reasons for any individual to practice yoga. Not only does it improve your flexibility, balance, strength, and stamina, but it can also realign and open the chakras, or energy centers throughout the body that have an effect upon your physical and emotional wellbeing. To learn more about chakras and how they impact your state of health.
On top of all of the physical and spiritual benefits that can be derived from a dedicated yoga practice, you can also tap into your own body’s self-healing abilities through the execution of specific poses or series of poses. You can stimulate the lymphatic system to detoxify your system naturally, calm down the nervous system to relieve tension and stress, clear your mind to improve focus, and improve your digestive health so that you can reduce or eliminate the symptoms associated with conditions like constipation.
How Yoga Works on Improving Various Systems Throughout the Body
There are numerous poses within yoga that work the digestive tract in different ways. For example, some poses stretch the stomach and the organs within the abdominal region. Twisting poses literally wring out the body, promoting movement and pushing out waste for natural detoxification. These poses, in particular, can be effective when it comes to relieving bloating and gas, which are often associated with constipation, because they tone the abdomen and massage the organs inside the body to stimulate them. Other poses that help relax the nervous system and bring the body into a total state of relaxation and inner balance also assist healthy digestion (you’ve probably already noted how your stress levels can adversely affect your bowel movements). You can get a head start on relieving your stress through yoga with this course.
Consider Your Diet
When it comes to improving digestive health, what you eat every day also has a big impact upon how healthy your bowel movements will be. If you eat a lot of processed, fried, sugary, and fatty foods, for example, your body probably isn’t receiving adequate levels of fiber and other nutrients, such as magnesium, that stimulate digestion and keep everything moving smoothly through the intestines.
Incorporating more whole foods—particularly fiber-rich whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, fruits, and vegetables—can have a dramatic effect upon your overall health and improve your digestion. Make sure you eat foods that are easy to digest, so consider cooking, mashing, and blending your food, if necessary. And incorporating fresh fruit and vegetable juices that are packed with nutrients that the body can readily absorb without having to work hard will also give your digestive system a much-needed break.
Supplementing with probiotics, which are naturally found in the gut and assist digestion, may also help, especially if you’ve been on a lot of medications, particularly antibiotics, that could deplete your body’s natural store of probiotics, resulting in difficultly breaking down foods and absorbing nutrients.
You can even try taking a class on healthy cooking, such as this course on delicious vegetarian Indian dishes that contain spices that promote digestion and detoxification naturally.
Yoga Poses for Improved Digestion and Relief from Constipation
Below are just a few of the many poses that can be used to stimulate digestion and improve the way your body absorbs nutrients and eliminates waste. If you’re a beginner, read this blog post first for some helpful tips that will help you enjoy a safe and effective practice.
One-Legged Seated Spinal Twist
One of the most popular poses in yoga that helps wring out the body is the One-Legged Seated Spinal Twist, which is easy to execute if you take care to properly position the spine. Be gentle throughout this posture, especially with the twist, in order to avoid injuries.
To enjoy this pose, begin by sitting with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend your right leg and place the right foot on the outside of your left knee. Your right knee should be pointing up to the ceiling, and your left leg should still be extended forward along the floor or you can bend it in towards your body.
Next, use your right arm to lift your torso as straight as possible. Bring your left arm up and rest your left elbow on the outside of your right knee. Use this arm as leverage as you slowly begin to twist your body to the right side and as far back as you can get your gaze. It doesn’t matter how far you go, as long as you’re feeling a gentle twist and your torso remains tall. Stay in the twist for a few breaths before releasing and following the same technique on the other side.
Twisting Triangle pose is a lot like Triangle Pose except it involves a twist that stimulates your entire digestive tract and the movement of wastes out of the body. It also stretches the body in many directions, opening up the energy centers throughout, while promoting flexibility and balance.
Begin standing straight up and then spread your feet about 4 feet apart from one another. Point your right foot to the side and keep your left foot pointed forward, turning the toes slightly towards your right foot. Line the heels up in one line.
Stabilize your core and keep your hips stable as you begin to hinge towards your right foot until your torso is parallel to the floor. It’s important to hinge from the hips instead of the waist. When you’re ready, you can lower your right hand to the floor on the outside of your right foot, using a yoga block if necessary. Lift your left arm up in the air to execute Triangle Pose, opening up the body and gaining stability.
Once you establish Triangle Pose, you can bring your left foot in a bit to give you more stability as you push your hip back. Take your left arm and bring it to the outside of the right foot, twisting to the back while lifting the right arm in the air. If you can’t get your left hand to the outside of your right foot, keep it on the inside of the foot at the beginning while still twisting to the right. Once you get stronger and more flexible, you can move the hand over to the other side of your foot.
Extended Child’s Pose
Extended Child’s Pose is a posture that anyone can master, regardless of your experience in yoga. As you crouch with the knees pressing into the abdomen gently, you’re applying just enough pressure to the organs in the digestive tract to stimulate them and relieve pain.
Begin by kneeling on the floor. Bring your buttocks down towards your heels and then extend your torso down over your legs. Extend your arms straight out in front of you. Relax the head and neck, bringing the chin slightly towards your chest so that there is no tension there. Breathe normally, relaxing the entire body while stretching the back.
You can even bring your big toes together and spread your knees out a little wider than your torso. Bring your upper body down between your legs again and breathe deeply, allowing the stomach to expand and touch the inner thighs.
Knees to Chest Pose
Knees to Chest Pose is another super easy pose that beginners can enjoy, and it’s a favorite of even the most experienced yogis because it promotes relaxation while stretching out the lower back. This pose is also referred to as the wind-relieving pose, which means it can help you eliminate gas, bloating, and pain.
Begin by lying on the floor on your back. Gently bend both legs and begin to bring your knees toward your chest. Grab your knees with your hands and pull them in as far as you can. If this is too difficult, you can do one leg at a time while keeping the other leg extended straight out on the floor. Once you have your knees pulled into your chest, hold there for a few relaxing breaths.
Mantras and Meditation
If you’d like to expand upon your yoga practice, you can begin incorporating meditation and mantras into your daily life. Some mantras are known to heal the body by stimulating certain areas of the brain that then awaken various organ systems. And meditation is a great way to calm and clear the mind and relieve any stress that could be leading to your digestive issues.
When it comes to yoga poses for digestion, it’s important to remember that, especially when it comes to intense twists, you need to warm up the body properly and establish your flexibility and range of motion before jumping in. Every yoga pose is meant to build strength, open up the body, and promote relaxation, so even if you’re just starting out, this practice is sure to give you the results you’re looking for. And the longer you stick with it, the more you’ll be able to execute challenging poses that really get into toning and stimulating the organs and muscles in your entire abdominal region. To get started, take this course on short yoga sequences that will strengthen your practice and boost your confidence.