A good digestive system is a key to good health. A large population suffers from a poor digestive system due to a multitude of factors. Yoga can greatly help have a good digestive system. Know all about science-backed Yoga poses and techniques that can help you have a good digestive system in this article.
Food is the factor that nourishes and supports the Dosha (body humors), Dhatus (tissue elements), and Mala (waste metabolic product), but correct digestion is dependent on Agni (digestive fire), and only then can Rasa, Raktadi Dhatu form (1).
When Agni returns to normal, food digestion improves, Rasadi Dhatu receives sufficient nourishment, and the Sara of the Saptadhatu is potent, illnesses are less likely to arise. The consumption of Ahita Aahara causes Agni to become vitiated, resulting in Agnimandya. Agnimandya is an Abhyantara Roga Marga illness characterized by Pachakagni activity that is suppressed, resulting in delayed or partial digestion or indigestion of food consumed in little amounts at regular intervals (2).
Our digestive system’s biggest enemies are a sedentary lifestyle, an unbalanced diet, and regular stress. As a result, we may develop one or more of the following symptoms: indigestion, gastritis, constipation, flatulence, diarrhea, and colitis.
Etiopathogenesis of digestive system disorders in general.
The majority of digestive system diseases are caused by psychological factors. The autonomic nerve system, which is assumed to be directed by the limbic part of the brain, has nearly complete control over the digestive system. Emotions and mental processes have direct effects on the limbic system of the brain, which then affects the stomach and digestive system via the autonomic nervous system (3).
The Digestive System and Yoga – How Yoga can help with Digestion
Yoga involves all ways for humanity’s higher progress, such as physical postures, ethical disciplines, breath control, and sensory approaches, among others. Yogasanas are beneficial to digestion in a number of different ways. Yogasanas induce the production of different hormones that are necessary for appropriate meal digestion (2).
According to data published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology (2004), constipation affects 63 million people in North America (under Rome II diagnosis criteria). Yoga has the potential to be a valuable leader in the fight against such indigestion, gastritis, constipation, flatulence, diarrhea, and other issues. Yoga has a direct beneficial effect on the digestive system since it is similar to an internal massage of the digestive tract, which includes the stomach, intestines, liver, and pancreas. This massage improves the flow of blood and oxygen to the internal organs while also strengthening the muscles that support them. Organs and tissues have metabolic processes active, which keeps them from becoming stagnant. A vast number of enzymes are produced to aid nutritional absorption, while intestinal peristalsis is improved, excretory activities are improved, and so on. Some asanas even have names for their digestive advantages (4).
According to another study on the healthy digestive system. A healthy digestive system is essential for both physical and emotional well-being. Indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are all prevalent gastrointestinal disorders. Yoga is a science that focuses on bringing body and mind into balance. It is a natural cure for digestive system disorders that is both safe and cost-effective. Stress and anxiety are prevalent in today’s lifestyles, resulting in impaired digestion. Yoga practice aids in the elimination of various disorders and the promotion of good health (5).
Yoga helps good digestion by moving the body in ways that allow food and waste products to move more quickly and efficiently through the intestines. Healthy digestion lowers the risk of colon cancer and digestive tract diseases (6).
According to a study, humans have the capacity to multitask in an efficient manner. Humans have been subjected to significant levels of stress in recent years as a result of pressure, time restrictions, and working environment conditions, both physically and emotionally. Yoga is a great way to manage stress since it has no negative side effects when done correctly. The impact of Yoga-Asana on the digestive process is investigated using electrogastrograms in this study (EGG). The frequency range of EGG data recorded from an aberrant patient before and after Yoga is also analysed using the fast Fourier transform (FFT). The rapid Fourier transform of an electrogastrogram obtained from a patient with a digestive problem before to Yoga shows that the frequency range of the EGG is outside of the usual frequency range. Additionally, the FFT of an electrogastrogram obtained from a patient with digestive abnormalities following Yoga is within the EGG normal frequency range. This stuff looks to be extremely important since Yoga-Asana can improve the human digestive process (7).
Some Facts On Yoga Diet & Digestive System Disorders
Diet is a health and healing factor. Yoga is incomplete without it. Fresh food is the greatest, according to yogis, because canned or processed food loses sprana or life essence. Yoga focuses on eating the right foods in the right amounts at the right times to preserve one’s health and vital resistance. Self-awareness is critical when eating. Mealtimes should be consistent, and eating in between meals should be rigorously avoided. Slowly chew your meal and masticate it well. Late-night dining is not recommended. Spicy and heavy meals should be avoided at all costs, as should smoking and alcohol. Yoga promotes a vegetarian diet consisting of fresh, complete natural foods in amounts that are well balanced. The yoga diet is ideal for detoxification of the liver and kidneys (8, 9).
In general, food should be consumed as complete and as simply as possible. It should be arranged according to the season and sourced as close as feasible to the source. It should ideally be devoid of chemical additives. Avoid fast food and pre-packaged foods.
Yoga is the most effective natural treatment for digestive system disorders. The digestive system’s main objective is to break down big molecules into smaller ones. It feeds the body and performs several bodily processes. Reduced stress and a balanced neurological system are two more significant benefits. Because the central nervous system is the primary controller of human function, nerve issues frequently influence the digestive system’s organs. The weakest spot is usually stuck during an imbalance, and many of the repercussions of these attacks are extremely difficult to treat. Yoga has long been regarded by academics and practitioners as a wonderful method for calming nerves and restoring happiness in the soul (10, 11).
Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises for Digestion
Some of the asanas that directly affect the gastrointestinal tract are (11) –
Twisting aids the body’s cleansing process by gently pushing blood out of the organs, carrying deoxygenated blood and waste materials with it. Before returning to the body, this blood is cleansed and re-oxygenated.
Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana)
Parivrtta Trikonasana is a yoga pose that promotes digestive health.
How To Practice
- Place your body in a comfortable position. Begin in mountain pose (or Tadasana) by spreading your feet about four feet apart and extending your arms parallel to the ground with your hands facing down.
- Starting on the right side, your right foot should be at a 90-degree angle with the mat’s end, while your left foot should be at a 45-degree angle.
- Bend your body to the side. Exhale as you bend your body at the hip joint, stretching to the side over your right leg (if you’re starting on the right).
- Keep your waistband long and not twisted. Stretch your tailbone all the way to your back heel.
- With your arms, reach out. Reaching down with your left arm to your right foot (or your right arm down to your left foot, if you have your left foot forward).
- Gently grip your ankle or big toe with a hand that reaches the ground (if your arm doesn’t reach, use a block). Place your second hand on your hips at the same time. You can raise your opposing arm up toward the ceiling or sky if you want to take the stance a step farther.
- Hold the position and repeat the process. Turn your head up to the ceiling with your shoulders aligned.
- Hold for a few seconds before returning to the beginning position and repeating with the other leg.
Sage Twist Pose (Marichyasana)
Marichyasana’s an excellent pose for runners who have tight hamstrings. It’s also believed to be a relaxing pose that can help with contemplation.
How To Practice
- Begin with Dandasana (Staff Pose).
- Bend your left knee, putting your heel close to your left sitting bone while keeping your foot flat on the floor and knee pointing up. Maintain a comfortable distance between your left foot and right thigh.
- Engage your thigh muscles and point your toes up to the ceiling to keep your right leg straight and active.
- Inhale, raise your left arm, lengthen your spine, and anchor your sitting bones.
- As you exhale, fold forward and reach your left arm forward on the inner of your left thigh.
- Turn your palm away from you to internally rotate your shoulder. Bring the back of your hand to the side of your thigh or hip by bending your elbow and wrapping your arm around your bent leg.
- Wrap your right arm behind your back and bring your hands together, grabbing the left hand or wrist if it reaches.
- As you exhale, fold forward even more, keeping your lower tummy engaged and your right leg active, toes pointing up.
Stretching your muscles is how yoga positions operate which can also assist you in moving more freely and feeling less stiff and weary. People’s flexibility increased by up to 35 percent after only 8 weeks of yoga, according to one research.
Shoulder Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
This pose stretches the abdomen area and aligns the digestive organs in the best possible positions, ensuring proper digestion.
How To Practice
- Lie on your back, palms facing down, with your arms next to your body. Bend your knees and place your feet hip-distance apart near your sitting bones.
- Take a deep breath and lift your hips high. Ensure that your knees are in line with your ankles.
- Tuck your shoulders under you and interlace your fingers on the floor. Bring your hands to your toes.
- Hold the pose for a few breaths, then release your hands and exhale to lower yourself.
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Although this pose slightly compresses the abdomen area, the pressure provides for massage of the internal digestive organs, which aids in proper elimination and hence jumpstarts the digestion process.
How To Practice
- Start in a tabletop position, with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees.
- Tuck your toes under and lift your hips toward the ceiling, pressing your hands firmly into the mat. The feet are hip-width apart.
- Allow your knees to bend and your hips to tilt upward, stretching your spine. Send your heels down, straightening out your legs without jeopardizing the hips’ upward tilting stance.
- Create room in your upper back by rotating your shoulder blades outward and up. The biceps are facing forward.
- Allow your head to hang heavy and your gaze to return to your feet. Engage the triceps by actively pressing against the hands with the middle fingers facing directly ahead.
- Continue to breathe while tilting your hips up and straightening your spine.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Practicing the intense powerful chair yoga pose can help you discover your fire side. Regularly performing utkatasana will help you live a life full of vigour, health, and strength.
How To Practice
- Stand with your feet slightly apart and your back straight.
- Straighten your arms in front of you without bending your elbows.
- As though you were sitting in an imaginary chair, bend your knees slightly. Check to see if your spine is straight.
- Take a few deep breaths. Continue to go down and repeat until you feel comfortable lying down straight, then relax your posture.
When you compress and release an organ using yoga asanas, such as your liver and gallbladder, you’re allowing old blood, bile, and lymphatic fluid to flow out while allowing new blood and prana (Sanskrit for “life energy”) to flow in.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
This pose is quite beneficial in lowering a person’s weight. It also helps with constipation, acidity, and other gastrointestinal issues.
How To Practice
- Sit on the ground with your legs spread out in front of you.
- Try to place the head on the knees by touching the thumbs of the feet with the hands, slowly breathing out.
- Then slowly raise your head and return to your original position. Repeat this Aasan at least 10 times per day.
Child Pose (Balasana)
This pose can lower the severity of IBS and stomach ulcers by relieving stress through its calming effect.
How To Practice
- Maintain an all-fours position with your feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your feet together and open your knees wide towards the mat’s edges. Return your buttocks to your feet.
- Rest your forehead on the floor or put one cheek to your mat by turning your head. Turn to the opposite cheek after a few breaths to keep things balanced.
- Stretch your shoulders and upper back by reaching your arms out in front of you. It also feels good to relax your arms back with your hands toward your feet if you’ve been doing a lot of work with your shoulders.
- Before getting back up, take as many breaths as can you.
Camel Pose (Uttanasana)
This is one of the most beneficial yoga asanas for the intestines and aids in digestion. It is also regarded as one of the most efficient yoga poses for increasing flexibility.
How To Practice
- Kneel on the floor with your hands on your hips and your soles facing the sky, maintaining your knees in line with your shoulders.
- Draw your tailbone towards your pubis as you inhale. Arrange your palms over your feet and arch your back.
- Exhale and return to the starting position. Try to do 4 sets of 3-4 repetitions total of 10-30 seconds of holding.
Wind-Relieving or Knees to Chest Pose (Apanasana)
This is a good yoga pose for bloating as well as one of the finest yoga poses for weight loss. This is also one of the best yoga positions for releasing gas.
How To Practice
- By resting on your back on a mat or a flat surface, you can extend your legs and arms.
- Exhale and bring both knees to your chest. Allow your shoulder blades to fall toward your waist as you relax. Increase the width of your collarbones.
- By laying down, slightly tuck your chin down and keep your face in the center line of your body. Hold for a few minutes till you’re satisfied with your calm breathing.
- Release your legs and arms, lengthen and relax for a minute while exhaling. Take a deep breath. At least six times, repeat the procedure.
- When you’re comfortable. Relax by slowly lowering your legs and hands to the floor.
It has limitations, just like any other science. Patients with heart disease, hypertension, chronic osteoporosis, pregnancy, and other associated conditions should avoid yogasanas. It is not recommended to overstretch or strain when practicing it (5).
The secret to glowing health is good digestion. Yoga has been shown to promote and maintain a healthy digestive system in a natural way, but it should be done under the direction and guidance of a qualified instructor. A number of clinical studies have been conducted to support the efficacy of yoga in the treatment of digestive system disorders. The primary goal of yoga therapy is to alleviate psychological issues while also activating and using the body’s natural healing potential. It should be seen as a necessary element of daily living in order to avoid the onset, alleviation, and reduction of the frequency of recurrence of various clinical illnesses. Yoga is an excellent way to enhance your health and quality of life.
- Acharya VY. Chikitsathana 15/5. Charaka Samhita – Ayurveda Dipika Commentary of Chakrapanidatta. 3rd ed. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Sansthana; Reprint, 2011.
- Acharya VY. Chikitsathana 15/42-44. Charaka Samhita – Ayurveda Dipika Commentary of Chakrapanidatta. 3rd ed. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Sansthana; Reprint, 2011.
- Singh, M. (2017). Role of yoga in the management of digestive system disorders. Environment Conservation Journal, 18(1&2), 159-162.
- McCall, T. (2007). Yoga as medicine: The yogic prescription for health & healing: A yoga journal book. Bantam.
- Kamble, U. P. (2019). Awareness of yoga develops human capital. Int J Physio Nutr Phys Educ, 4(1), 1348-1350.
- Paramasivam, A., Najumnissa Jamal, D., Emmanuel, C., Bhaskar, K. B., Mohit Jaisingh, M., & Kannan, R. (2021). Analysis of Influence of Yoga-Asana on the Digestive Process Using Electrogastrograms. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Computing and Communication Systems (pp. 423-429). Springer, Singapore.
- Ramos-Jiménez, A., Wall-Medrano, A., Corona-Hernández, R. I., & Hernández-Torres, R. P. (2015). Yoga, bioenergetics and eating behaviors: A conceptual review. International Journal of Yoga, 8(2), 89.
- Singhal, J. C. (2009). Yoga: Perceived and Practised by Sages of India. Abhishek Prakashan.
- Banathia, A., & Sharma, A. IMPACT OF YOGA ASANAS ON HUMAN BODY. INDIAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION, SPORTS MEDICINE & EXERCISE SCIENCE, 1.
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