Energy and nutrients are necessary for our vital organs to perform their functions for us to survive. One organ system that could provide nutrients and energy for vital processes of the body includes our digestive system. This system turns food into energy and nutrients that are needed by the body. So it is important to keep this system healthy and intact.
There are several ways to keep our digestive system healthy and one of them is doing yoga.
How Does Yoga Affect the Digestive System?
The gastrointestinal tract’s primary purpose is to break down food and absorb nutrients. Every day, the liver, kidneys, colon, and lungs eliminate waste products as part of the digestive process. The liver makes toxins water-soluble so that they can be eliminated from the body by the kidneys. The kidneys filter blood and help to eliminate the toxins through urine. The colon helps to get rid of the toxins via bowel movements. Lungs filter the air and eliminate toxins through breathing.
Yoga is more than just a workout; it’s a complete discipline that incorporates breathing methods, movement, and meditation. It helps with vital biological functions including digestion and has several physiological and psychological effects.
Several yoga postures (asanas) specifically aid digestion by massaging and conditioning the internal organs to perform properly. Certain yoga postures aid in the elimination of waste products from the body by engaging the muscles involved in the peristaltic activity. Padmasana (crossed leg stance), Pavanmuktasana (wind-relieving pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Shavasana (corpse pose), Paschimottasana (sitting forward fold), and Ustrasana (camel pose) all require stretching the abdomen, applying pressure with the legs, and massaging it in various ways. Stretching and contracting muscles alternately help tone muscles and enhance blood and oxygen flow. Upside down posture aids in the elimination of a sluggish colon, which causes constipation, as well as the reduction of gas buildup in the stomach.
Of course, the optimal time to do yoga exercises is in the morning, but not everyone can do so due to schedule and time constraints so we turn to alternatives that could be convenient yet also effective. There are yoga asanas that may be done at other times of the day, such as after dinner. Yoga positions after dinner are supposed to improve digestion and make the stomach feel lighter after eating. Furthermore, it enhances the condition and health of your organs while also assisting indigestion. However, when performing post-dinner asanas one should be more careful. These asanas include performing some hand rotations, finger and arm stretching, and ankle rotations. One can also do some quick basic neck movements by sitting in a chair facing the wall and imagining a ball between your chin and chest and squeezing the ball as hard as one can. But specifically, asanas that could be performed after dinner to aid in digestion include:
- Gomukhasana, also known as cow face posture, is an asana that helps in stretching the spine and stomach muscles, making digestion easier.
- Vajrasana, also known as Adamantine Pose, is the best yoga pose to do after eating dinner. After dinner, experts recommend any activity that helps stretch the upper body and abdomen while also relaxing your breathing. Although it is frequently recommended to practice yoga on an empty stomach, there is one particular asana which is Vajrasana that is much better when done after a meal because it aids indigestion.
- Another helpful yoga poses to attempt after a meal is Ardha Chandrasana or half-moon pose which is done by standing and side stretching to extend the stomach and belly and aid indigestion.
Yoga can help in overall gut health by reducing stress, promoting blood flow, and physical movement that also helps improve the motility of the gastrointestinal tract. A healthy digestive system is essential for a balanced and healthy lifestyle. The gut is involved in many functions throughout the body, and when it is undernourished and out of balance, it can lead to a variety of health problems. A healthy lifestyle can improve gut health and function as a preventative measure for a variety of diseases. Yoga, in particular, is an excellent way to start the healing process because it can help heal the microbiota by reducing stress, providing mild exercise, and aiding indigestion.
People have discovered a variety of health benefits related to yoga over time. Yoga is a workout that incorporates both the body and the mind, in addition to burning calories and building muscles. Several health benefits are:
- Improves posture – Practicing certain yoga postures can help improve posture while also preventing neck pain and lower back pain.
- Increases flexibility – Yoga can help increase flexibility while also allowing yogis to do complicated postures.
- Improves balance – Balance is necessary for simple tasks like picking something up off the floor, reaching up to a shelf, and descending stairs and yoga has been proven to improve balance.
- Builds muscle strength – Yoga may aid in the strengthening of the body’s weak muscles. It helps in muscular toning, reducing the likelihood of muscle tension.
- Boosts metabolism – Yoga helps maintain the body’s vitality while also keeping it fit. It encourages the yogi to eat healthily and enhances the body’s metabolic system.
- Helps in lowering blood sugar – Yoga not only decreases blood sugar levels but also lowers bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol. It promotes weight loss and increases insulin sensitivity in the body.
- Increases blood flow – Yoga’s relaxation exercises control blood flow to all regions of the body. Exercises like handstands aid in the return of venous blood from the lower body to the heart, where it can be pushed back to the lungs and oxygenated.
- Increases self-esteem – Yoga can help a yogi discover a new aspect of himself/herself. It will make him/her feel good and encourage him/her to live a positive life.
- Improves lung function – Lung function is reported to be improved by a variety of breathing exercises. Long-term use of these workouts may help to cure respiratory ailments.
- Reduce inflammation – Chronic or prolonged inflammation is connected to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and many other diseases, and yoga with varying intensity, styles and durations helps in the reduction of biochemical markers that induce inflammation across several chronic conditions.
Aside from the physical benefits, one of the most beneficial aspects of yoga is how it aids in the management of stress, which has been shown to have negative consequences on the body and mind. It could reduce anxiety and improve mental health. Yoga, which is a low-impact exercise has been demonstrated to reduce stress hormones in our body while also enhancing good brain chemicals like endorphins and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).
It is important to take care of your well-being and with these promising effects of yoga especially in digesting, one could care much more about herself and stay healthy by just doing these peaceful exercises at home.