Ayurveda and Yoga both teach that one of the keys to a healthy life is through a healthy digestive system. Every moment of our lives our organs are working to keep us alive. Ayurveda and Yoga maintain and heal the digestive tract through specific food choices, how and where food is eaten, herbs, yoga postures, breathing, and meditation.
It’s not always easy to make life changes around food because we eat everyday and have grown accustomed to and created habits around foods and ways to eat food. However some of these habits have created daily digestive imbalances such as gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. To heal these imbalances, a daily yoga practice is a great place to start.
Yoga Postures that Promote Healthy Digestion:
This pose compresses the organs as the stomach rests on the thighs. Focus on breathing deeply into the hips to allow the breath to massage the organs. The compression and massage of the stomach eliminates toxins by removing gas and fecal matter that have been trapped in the cervices of the colon.
Upward Salute/Cresant Moon Pose:
Side bending poses stimulate the organs of the stomach by bringing fresh oxygenated blood. In Upward Salute/Cresant, while side bending to the left, breathe into the right side of the body. Feel the breath create extra space and bring upon fresh oxygenated blood to the right side. Come back to center. Take a full round of breath and notice the difference between the right and left sides. Then, bend to the right side.
Twists compress the organs of the stomach that move trapped gas and promote fresh blood, oxygen and nutrients. “Twisting to the right first and then the left will increase the movement of the bowels (good for hypo-digestion - slow metabolism). Twisting to the left first and then to right will slow down the movement of bowels (good for hyper-digestion - high metabolism).”
Final relaxation pose allows the body and mind to deeply relax, so the cells integrate all the benefits from the practice. Being relaxed allows the potent abilities of the parasympathic nervous system (rest and relax) of the body heal itself.
In order to digest properly we need to be relaxed. If the body is stressed, it taps into the sympathetic nervous system (flight or fight) and all the blood and energy goes to major muscle groups instead of into the organs to assist with digestion. The practice of yoga poses, breathing, and meditation assists with calming the body and flushing out toxins so fresh nutrients can circulate into the cells to create optimal function. Also, Ayurveda can provide stress management tips outside of the yoga mat through therapeutic foods, healthy eating guideline tips, self-care practices, colors, aromas, and sounds.
Inner Path in Nevada City is in the works of providing standard yoga class times. I will be teaching Ayurvedic Yoga for Digestion Class. Once the time slot is set, I will announce the day and time. Until then, please check out this digestive flow below!
Butera, Kristen. “Yoga Theory.” Yoga Therapy for Digestive Health, 2010.