Physiology

Yoga and the Digestive System

2 A sedentary lifestyle, imbalanced diet, and frequent stress are the main enemies of our digestive system. As a result, we may end up suffering one or more from a large set of ailments: indigestion, gastritis, constipation, flatulence, diarrhea, and colitis. According to research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology (2004), 63 million people in North America suffer from constipation (under Rome II diagnosis criteria). Let us see how Yoga can become our good helper in combatting such problems.

The direct positive effect of Yoga on the digestive system is that it’s like an internal massage of the digestive tract, including the stomach area, intestines, liver, and pancreas. This massage ensures the flow of blood and oxygen, and also strengthens the muscles of the internal organs. Metabolic processes are activated in organs and tissues, saving them from stagnation. A large amount of enzymes are generated in order to support the absorption of nutrients, while intestinal peristalsis is improved, excretory processes function better, etc. Some asanas’ even name their digestive benefits; for example, Apanasana is translated from Sanskrit as ‘Wind-Relieving Pose’.

The asanas that act directly on the gastrointestinal tract are:

  • twisting (Parivrtta Trikonasana, Marichyasana )
  • stretching (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Utkatasana)
  • compressing (Paschimottanasana, Balasana, Uttanasana, Apanasana)

Another very important effect is reduced stress and a normalized nervous system. The central nervous system is the main regulator of human activity, that’s why nerve problems often affect the organs of the digestive system. As always during imbalance, the weakest point is stuck, and many consequences of these attacks are quite difficult to treat. Both scholars and practitioners have already recognized Yoga as an excellent tool to calm nerves and to restore positivity in your soul. You can feel it after each session. When it comes to digestive health, you can also get help from Balasana, Uttanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Utthita Trikonasana and, of course, the favorite Savasana.




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