Indigestion may seem like just a casual inconvenience, but it's no minor issue. That sour feeling in your gut could be trying to tell you something important. It's not normal to consistently feel bloated or experience a burning sensation in your stomach after a meal despite what you might have heard. Although it's a common issue that we will all experience at one time or another, these are symptoms you want to avoid dealing with regularly. Fortunately, various yoga postures can aid digestion, and incorporating one or more of them into your practice can do wonders for improving your gut's health.
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How does the digestion process work?
For your body to enjoy the benefits of the nutrients in your food, the complex process of digestion has to take place. The GI tract is where much of the work is done. Once you take a bite, chew, and swallow your food, it moves through the GI tract, where the digestion process breaks it down into small molecules. These small molecules are then absorbed into the bloodstream by way of the small intestine. Those molecules, which contain all of the nutrition your body needs to survive, are then distributed throughout the body. This process produces wastes that you expel from the body through the large intestine.
How can yoga help with digestion?
While it's true that our health starts with the gut's condition, it's the mind that makes the smart nutritional choices that help maintain that gut health. Yoga engages the mind and promotes calm and serenity, which will urge you towards a properly balanced diet. This, in turn, promotes proper digestion.
Digestive yoga helps reduce stress, which can be a destructive influence on your life and overall well-being. When we're not worried or stressed, we refrain from reaching for foods that may comfort us in the moment but are bad for us in the long run. Stress can also lead to digestive problems.
What else can yoga help with?
Yoga has a wide range of benefits that go beyond helping with digestion. A regular, well-rounded practice can also help maintain your metabolism, weight loss, cardiovascular health, and better respiration. Feeling down? Low energy? Get into a yoga class for some fast pep and vigor!
If you're looking to build muscle and tone your physique, yoga is a great choice. You will also improve your flexibility and overall athleticism with yoga. Stress levels are significantly reduced through even some of the most basic postures. Above all, your yoga practice will help keep your body properly conditioned to avoid injury and improve your overall health.
What yoga postures will help with digestion?
The following are some ideal yoga poses to aid digestion. Each one brings certain benefits for both mind and body while giving your body the delicate assistance it needs to ensure your food is processed correctly and receives those critical molecules for nutrition.
Corpse pose incorporates compression and breathing to pinpoint two of the essential components for aiding digestion. When you bring your knees tight into your chest, you target the transverse portion of your colon, the area that takes in water and salts. Once you straighten your legs back out flat, with your arms to your side and palms up, your breathing becomes a critical part of the pose, which helps to ease the mind and the nerves.
Many of us will turn to child's pose as a way to relax or even take a much-needed breath if the class is getting too challenging or you need a minute to yourself. But this can also be a highly beneficial yoga pose for digestion. It places pressure across the abdomen and helps massage the internal organs conducive to successful digestion. Much like the corpse pose, child's pose can also be a great way to center yourself and relax both the mind and body. This can help drive out any stressful feelings that may interfere with your ability to think clearly and digest properly.
The thing that's most advantageous about boat pose is that it offers two important benefits at one time. When it comes to doing yoga for indigestion, you want to incorporate postures that are doing double-duty, so to speak. Naukasana is one of those poses as it helps to build up the abdominal muscles, so you're gaining tone and strength while also giving your intestines a much-needed boost. The digestive process requires digestive juices to help break down food, and boat pose will get those juices flowing.
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The cat-cow posture can be quite enjoyable because it not only feels good when you're doing it, but the work you're doing in stimulating the internal organs through compression and stretching is very useful for improving your digestion. As you arch and curve your back, you are massaging your organs while also flushing the epithelial cells with fresh blood. These cells are located along the intestine walls, making them a vital part of the digestion process.
Seated poses are some of the best options for aiding indigestion. The seated forward bend pose targets the abdominal area by helping to reduce fat in this region but also by massaging the internal organs that are located there. This pose can also help with bloating, gas, and constipation that might come about due to poor digestion.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
That's right, something as simple as a downward-facing dog can do your digestive system a world of good. You've done this pose a thousand times by now, and so you're most definitely well-aware of the benefits that it offers. But where your digestion is concerned, the breathing aspect of Adho Mukha Svanasana causes you to inhale deeply and keep your intestinal tract fully nourished.
Not only does the triangle pose increase digestion, reduce the effects of constipation, and stimulate the liver and intestine, but this pose can even help you boost your appetite. It's a great posture to incorporate into your yoga practice if you're looking to improve your digestion, as the compressions will even activate the kidney.
Simply put, getting in your sun salutations is all about promoting movement and flow throughout the body. This will obviously stimulate digestion as it warms the body up and keeps your internal organs active and healthy.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Backbends are some of the best poses you can do to help with digestion. They are ideal for stimulating the organs that play the biggest role in the digestive process while also pushing fresh blood through the circulatory system. All of these things combined are key for promoting good digestive health. This pose also helps by emphasizing strong measured breathing. You can modify this pose if needed by securing a block under your sacrum.
Last but not least is the camel pose. This posture focuses on stretching out the abdomen, including the stomach and intestine. In the process, you're promoting digestion and staving off constipation for more normal bowel movements and a reduction in pain, discomfort, gas, and bloating.
Poor digestion is something we all encounter at one point or another. But for those of you who are experiencing this type of discomfort regularly, practicing these poses will help you overcome this discomfort and allow your body to find peace and happiness before and after any meal. Remember, everything is connected, and so when your mind and body are on the same page, your health and well-being are in harmony. When you're suffering from indigestion, it can be hard to relax, so try these poses when you begin your day to help get your internal organs and systems operating at their full capacity. Your gut will thank you for it.
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