Can Yoga Aid Digestion?

It’s not a secret that a walk after a big meal can aid digestion. It’s the mild exercise and movement that prevents gas build up and helps food pass through the digestive system. It’s one reason certain yoga poses can help. The gentle movements of yoga has been used for thousands of years to bring health benefits and connect the mind and body. It stimulates the rest-and-digest system known as the parasympathetic nervous system.

Digestion is the actual breakdown of food, sending nutrients to the body and expelling waste.

Even though that’s the true meaning of the term digestion, most people often think of something that aids digestion as something that helps prevent gas and bloating, eliminates discomfort and helps elimination. There are a lot of things that affect how you digest food, which include the microbes in your digestive system and how the gut communicates with the brain via nerves and biological signals. Stress can affect both, and yoga can help reduce stress.

Several serious conditions are improved with yoga.

Irritable bowel syndrome—IBS—can occur from over activity of your stress system—the sympathetic nervous system. That can cause many symptoms like gas, diarrhea, constipation and bloating. Studies have shown that yoga can help relieve symptoms as well as a low FODMAP diet—a diet low in certain types of sugar that can set off IBS symptoms. While studies showed yoga helped relieve symptoms after 16 weeks, similar studies showed that walking also helped.

Some yoga poses help stretch the body and abdominal muscles.

The seated side bend or Parsva Sukhasana is a gentle stretch that can help relieve bloating and gas, while supporting digestion. It’s done like a seated side bend, with one arm in the air, leaning toward the opposite side, then lowering that arm and raising the other arm and leaning to the other side. The Apanasana—also known as knees to the chest—may be a natural position for many who have severe abdominal pain. It’s a gentle massage for the intestines. Lie on your back with legs straight, then slowly bend at the knee. Bring your knees toward your chest, wrapping your arms around them to hold them closer and hold through five deep breaths.

  • The gentle movement of yoga is similar to other mild forms of exercise, such as stretching or walking. It stimulates the movement of food, reduces stress, improves circulation and Improves the body and mind connection.
  • The wind relieving pose helps relieve constipation, gas, strengthens abdominals and improves metabolism. You lay on your back, like the apanasana, but bring one leg up at a time and hold.
  • The cobra pose and cat-cow pose are better known poses that not only help massage your inner organs, they relax you and improve abdominal circulation.
  • If you’re pregnant, had back problems or injuries, abdominal surgery or a hernia, some of the yoga poses shouldn’t be done. Always discuss doing any exercise with your health care professional before beginning.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

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