Some people are blessed with a fantastic metabolism and amazing digestive system, but many of us, whose luck in the digestion department is challenged need not be disappointed.
Doing certain yoga poses can stimulate your digestive system and effectively reduce an inch or two on your waist.
The Importance Of Proper Digestion
First, let’s explore the duty of our digestive system.
The food that we consume is broken down into nutrients by our digestive system. These nutrients are then absorbed by our blood and carried to all the body’s cells.
Three main functions of the nutrients
- Give us energy
- For growth
- Repairing of cells
If your food is not digested properly then your energy levels will be low and you will constantly feel tired and fatigued.
When you are in a growing phase like childhood, teenage, and pregnancy your growth could be affected if you have digestion problems.
If your digestion is weak then the cells in your body might not repair themselves, which could potentially damage the DNA.
When your digestive system is functioning optimally, it will effectively break down the food into Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, and Vitamins.
If there is a lack of any of these nutrients in our body it could lead to a lack of energy, stunted growth, internal injuries, and make us prone to disease and infections.
Also, read our blog on 30 Types Of Yoga And Their Benefits
Benefits Of Yoga For Digestion
Let us see how practicing yoga can be a boon for your digestive system.
In general, there are two major functions of the digestive system:
- Break down the food into smaller nutrients.
- Eliminate unwanted food from the body.
Certain yoga postures can improve our digestive system by massaging the internal organs that are responsible for digestion.
Yoga also helps to effectively eliminate the waste of food from our bodies.
These asanas/poses can also help to reduce gas, bloating, constipation, and stomach ache.
Asanas For Proper Digestion
So you have had a hearty meal and the feeling of guilt has started to creep in. You don’t have to beat yourself up by feeling guilty.
Just grab your mat and do these yoga poses. It will hasten your digestive process and eliminate unwanted food quickly from the body.
1. Thunderbolt (Vajarasana)
After your meals sit in Vajarasana for 10 to 15 minutes. It will aid in digestion, prevent the formation of gas, and constipation, and relieves acidity.
- Kneel on your mat, and lower your buttocks gradually to your feet.
- Keep some distance between your heels and your toes should touch each other and point out.
- Place your hand on your thighs in Gyan mudra (touch the tips of your index finger to the tip of your thumb).
- Keep your spine straight, look forward, and breathe deeply.
2. Cobbler’s Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
It improves blood circulation and stimulates digestion. It also benefits your pelvic region and stretches your thighs.
- Lie on your back and keep your body relaxed.
- Now join the two soles of your feet together and keep your knees touched to the floor.
- Stay in this pose for a couple of minutes and breathe slowly and deeply.
3. Upward Extended Feet Pose (Urdhva Prasarita Padasana)
Stretches the muscles of the legs and pelvis. Also helps to keep abs flatter and aids in digestion. While doing this pose keep a gap of two hours after meals.
- Lie on your back, and keep your body relaxed.
- Take deep breaths and lift your right leg up.
- Make sure that your knees are straight.
- Your hands should be beside you with palms facing down.
- Do this for five to 10 counts and do it with the left leg.
- You can also simultaneously lift both your legs up.
4. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-bitilasana)
Perform this after 2 hours of meal consumption.
- Sit on the floor and cross your legs.
- Keep your hands on your thighs.
- Inhale, push out your chest, arch your back, stretch your neck, and look up.
- Exhale and round your shoulders and back and touch your chin to your chest.
- Do this 5 to 10 times.
5. Equal Standing (Smasthiti)
You can do this immediately after your meals.
- Stand on your mat.
- Keep your back straight.
- Relax your shoulders and allow your hands to hang loosely beside you.
- Keep your eyes closed and take deep breaths.
- Stay in this pose for 3 to 5 mins.
You might also be interested in reading our blog on Yoga For Meditation Posture
Pranayam For Digestion
Pranayam is an ancient breathing technique. It involves controlling your breath. ‘Prana’ means energy and ‘Yama’ means control.
It is one of the main components of yoga and it aids in physical and mental wellness.
It basically involves
- Purak (inhaling through nostrils)
- Kumbhak (retention of breath)
- Rechak (exhaling)
If you have any chronic issues like high or low blood pressure, heart problems, vertigo or if you are pregnant then consult the doctor before you start your practice.
If you feel discomfort or giddy while doing pranayam then immediately stop.
There are 8 types of pranayama and each of them follows a specific sequence of Inhalation, retention, and exhalation.
There are 2 pranayams that are specifically good for digestion. Let us check them out.
1. Abdominal Breathing (Uddiyana Bandha)
This is ideally practiced on an empty stomach. It strengthens all the organs of your digestive system, stimulated blood circulation in the abdomen, strengthens abdominal muscles and diaphragm, and purifies the digestive tract by releasing toxins.
- Stand with your legs apart. They should be a little wider than your hips.
- Toes should be out and heels should be in.
- Slightly bend your knees, place your hands on your knees, and slightly bend your spine so that you can draw your belly up and in.
- Inhale and then try to exhale as deeply as you can. Try to exhale all the air out of your body.
- While exhaling round your spine and suck your belly up and in. (if you are doing it for the first time you might take some time to get a hang of it)
- With regular practice, it will become easier.
- To check if you are doing it correctly, notice if there is any indentation in your collarbone.
Also, read our blog on the 5 Best Yoga Mat Holder
2. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
This can be done after meals but take care not to stuff yourself too much.
- Sit in a comfortable position, and ensure that your back is straight and relaxed.
- Place your hands on your knees with your palms facing up to the ceiling.
- Take your right hand. Make sure that your index and middle finger are touching bend them towards the palm and touch the tips to the palms.
- Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through your left nostril. You can inhale till the count of 4.
- With your ring finger and small finger close your left nostril and hold your breath till the count of 6.
- Now unblock your right nostril by lifting your thumb and exhale through your right nostril till the count of 6.
- Now inhale from your right nostril till the count of 4 and block it with your thumb.
- Hold your breath for 6 counts.
- Lift your ring and small finger and exhale from the left nostril till the count of 6.
- Now inhale from the left nostril till 4 counts and repeat the process.
These poses and breathing techniques will significantly strengthen your digestive system.
You can additionally Combine them with eating foods rich in fiber, drinking plenty of water, and chewing your food properly and I guarantee your digestive system will thank you for it.
GO ON!! and lubricate your digestive system with these amazing yoga poses and pranayama.