Bloating, indigestion, flatulence, heaviness, and cramps are common symptoms many people experience on a daily basis. These symptoms can occur because of many different reasons including (but not limited to) over- or under-eating, constipation, hyperacidity, or irritable bowel syndrome. Regardless of the cause, these symptoms are often unpleasant, embarrassing, cause anxiety and sometimes be painful!
What Could Help?
Ayurveda is apart of traditional Hindu medicine that is based on the idea that balance of bodily systems, is the key to health. Within Ayurveda, a healthy digestive system is referred to as the “foundation of our well-being”. This practice includes diet, herbal treatment, and yoga breathing methods to bring harmony and balance to the body. The metabolic energy of digestion, known as agni, is useful for discarding waste and toxins, breaks down the dense physical food matter, generates internal warmth, and produces a clearer mind. There have been many studies that have shown yoga can be used as an effective way to improve digestion. Studies have also shown that one could use yoga regularly to reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
How Does It Work?
Posture, also known as asanas, plays a critical role in the direct and indirect effect on digestion.
- Asanas helps increase the appetite and balance metabolism.
- Asanas helps stretch the body and massage the muscles of the abdomen region. Assisting the movement of food efficiently through the digestive track.
- Twisting poses in yoga stretch out the abdominal organs which increases peristalsis (contraction of stomach muscles) to potentially relieve constipation.
- Asanas can improve blood circulation to the organs in the digestive system, thus supporting healthy digestion.
- Yoga asanas helps keep the mind active, stimulated and happy and can potentially increase desire to eat a well balanced diet.
- Yoga asanas helps to reducing stress and anxiety which are common triggers for digestive disturbances.
- Yoga emphasizes deep breathing, that increases oxygen flow into the cells of different body organs, so that they work more efficiently.
- The increased awareness of mind and body have a positive impact on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for helping inner organs to relax, heal, and recover.
Which Yoga Poses Should You Try?
1. Cat-Cow Stretch (Marjari Asanas):
Strengthen and tones the vagus nerve, which plays role in digestion.
2. Camel Pose (Ustrasana):
Helps to stretch out the stomach, abdomen, and intestine.
3. Child’s Pose (Shishuasana):
Compresses the abdomen while massaging the internal organs, stimulating digestion. Also a great pose for reducing stress/anxiety.
4. Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottasana):
Assists in relieving constipation, flatulence, and bloating.
5. Boat Pose (Naukasana):
Helps to stimulate digestion by improving digestive secretions.
6. Wind-Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana):
Strengthens abdominal muscles.
7. Sitting Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana):
Can improve liver and pancreas function.
8. Revolving Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana):
Stimulates appetite, activates the kidney, and energizes the abdominal organs, especially the liver and the intestines.
9. Sun Salutation (Surya Nomaskar):
Creates a flow of movement to encourage digestion.
Food For Digestion
- Get plenty of fiber from leafy green vegetables, whole grains, lentils and beans.
- Eat freshly cooked meals.
- Eat fresh fruits such as apples, avocados, and bananas.
- Either take a probiotic supplement or include probiotic foods like Greek yogurt.
- Drink water to stay hydrated and to help flush out toxins.
- Avoid junk foods that are high in saturated fats and trans fats.
Other Tips For Digestion
- Eat at regularly scheduled times (if possible).
- Chew all your food well, because it helps reduce pressure on the digestive organs.
- Try not to lie down immediately after eating.
- Avoid eating heavy meals at night. Try to eat your bigger meals in the beginning or middle of the day.