Discover Holistic Yoga for Digestion
Raajnish (36-years-old) works as a marketing manager in a private company. He often eats outside due to the nature of his job. As a result, over the past two-three months, he is suffering from digestion problems like bloating, constipation, irregular bowel movements, etc. Though he consulted a doctor for his condition, still, he is having some issues. One of his friends advised him to practice yoga for digestion. Yoga is a traditional art that will connect your mind and body and promote a healthy life. Raajnish has joined a yoga studio where he learnt various yoga poses for digestion. Now, his condition is improving day by day and symptoms are also getting suppressed.
Digestion is a process where your consumed foods breakdown and provide your body with the required nutrients and expel waste products. Frequent digestion problems are gas, bloating, discomfort, irregular bowel movements, and many more. The gut-brain axis is a communication system of nerves and biochemical signals that travel in the blood. This system connects your digestive system to the brain. With the help of this system, your gut can react to psychological and physical stress with symptoms like stomach aches, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and changes in appetite.
General Gut Health
Many people think that yoga for the digestive system is very beneficial as it reduces stress, enhances circulation, and improves physical movement, or motility of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Yoga gives relief from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The experts believe that overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system and the stress system of your body are the prime causes of IBS.
You may suffer from an array of symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. In 2018 a study was conducted on 208 participants with IBS. They were either given a low-FODMAP diet or did yoga for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, both groups showed striking improvements in IBS symptoms. Thus, yoga plays a crucial role in treating IBS.
In 2016 a pilot study was conducted and it was revealed that there was an improvement in IBS symptoms after participating in 16 biweekly yoga sessions. The study also revealed that people got similar benefits from walking. So, regular movements along with stress management help you to overcome the symptoms of IBS.
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Yoga is also beneficial in managing symptoms of diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. But you don’t replace medications and treatment methods with yoga.
Some more studies are required to know which yoga poses will give you relief from GI issues and which ones are most beneficial.
Top Yoga for the Digestive System
1. Seated Side Bend (Parsva Sukhasana)
This is the perfect yoga posture for novice players who want to stretch their obliques, belly muscles, lower and upper back, and shoulders. This posture can be called yoga for stomach problems and will help you to get rid of bloating and gas.
- Sit in a cross-legged position on your yoga mat. Your hands should touch the floor at your sides.
- Elevate your left arm straight into the air and then, delicately incline to your right side.
- Now, place your right forearm on the floor, facing outward.
- Slowly breathe 4–5 times.
- Now, change the side and repeat the posture
2. Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
This twisting yoga pose improves your bowel irregularity by supporting the small and large intestines in peristalsis. This posture drives food items and wastes through the GI tract. This yoga position helps you to combat bloating.
- First, you need to sit on the yoga mat while keeping your legs straight.
- Curve your left knee and cross it over your right knee or thigh
- Now, keep your left foot on the floor. Fix your left foot throughout the whole movement.
- Then, incline on your right hip and bend your right knee in such a way that your right foot is facing towards your inner left buttock.
- Take your right elbow and place it on the outside of your left knee and rotate your trunk to the left.
- Now, keep your left palm on the floor towards your left buttocks.
- Turn your neck towards your left shoulder.
- Hold this position and breathe
- Then, switch the side and repeat the posture
3. Knees to Chest (Apanasana)
This delicate movement gives you ultimate relaxation and alleviates lower back strain. The experts believe that this posture massages your large intestine to promote bowel movements.
- Lie down on your back and keep your legs straight.
- Slowly crook your knees and bring them toward your chest
- By using your arms, drag them closer.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds
4. Cat-Cow (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)
These yoga poses combine two yoga positions: Cat Pose and Cow Pose. This yoga posture is beneficial for your back and belly muscles. This position enhances circulation and gently massages your organs to promote gut peristalsis.
- Start with a neutral spine (this means with a flat back and neck). Ensure your knees should form a line with your hips and your wrists are aligned with your shoulders.
- Start with the Cow Pose. For this position, you need to slant your pelvis in such a way that your tailbone raises and your belly moves down.
- Delicately, move your shoulders back and elevate your head by looking upward.
- Don’t overextend your neck.
- Hold this position for 10-15 seconds
- Now, get back to the neutral position
For Cat pose
- Keep the tops of your feet on the floor.
- Fold in your tailbone, draw your belly button towards your spine, and roll your shoulders forward
- Try to make a back arch
- Now, down your head slowly and allow gravity to control this move
- Hold for 10-15 seconds
- Now, repeat the position
5. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
By improving your posture, this yoga pose stretches your belly muscles. This position also aids your general digestion.
- Lie down on your stomach and keep a distance between your feet
- Your palms should be flat on the floor by your lower ribs, elbows bent.
- The top of your feet should touch the ground
- Press into your hands and slowly elevate your head and chest.
- Bend your elbows slightly as you slowly straighten your arms.
- Move your shoulders back and down.
- Ensure your pelvis should touch the floor
- Without overextending your neck, look upward slightly
- Hold this position for 10-15 seconds
The Bottom Line
Many experts believe that yoga supports some digestive disorder treatments, such as irritable bowel syndrome. This will help you to combat certain symptoms, including discomfort, gas, bloating, and constipation.
Though more studies are needed to establish how yoga is beneficial for your digestion. You should try yoga along with your treatments to get the best results.