3 passive postures of Yoga to improve your digestion
Good digestion is essential to our overall health and well-being. Digestion is the core of our energy regulation. When we have digestive problems (bloating, burning, gas, ulcers, etc …), all our energy is affected. On the other hand, optimal digestion naturally leads to regular elimination, toxins and waste from the body.
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As a yoga teacher, I know how unpleasant it is to practice this discipline when you feel full, swollen, uncomfortable, constipated. Here are 3 yoga postures very simple to practice regularly to improve your digestion in general.
Apanasana is a posture also known as “knee to chest posture” or “air release posture”. Squeeze the right knee against your stomach to perform an ascending colon massage, while squeezing the left knee against your stomach to perform a descending colon massage.
Start by lying on your back. Ideally, sit on your yoga mat or on a floor blanket to protect your back. Place your feet on the floor, directly under the knees. On inspiration, rest your hands on your knees. On the exhale, bring your knees to your chest, then wrap your arms around your legs. You can choose to raise the head between the knees to stretch the spine as much as possible or simply leave the head on the floor. Keep the posture for 5 to 10 full breaths.
(Optional: If you wish, you can continue with one knee at a time by first keeping the right knee to the chest and bringing the left foot to the ground in a straight line with the left knee. 10 full breaths, then continue with the opposite knee and maintain the posture for 5 to 10 full breaths).
We have all heard our yoga teachers mention at one time or another that twists make digestion easier. I really only started to integrate these statements when I began practicing twists on a daily basis when I woke up and went to bed. Compromising the colon specifically (from right to left) can actually make a difference in the digestive system. The detoxifying twists have the effect of stimulating the movement of toxins accumulated in the body and helping to release them.
I invite you to go directly from the previous posture, apanasana , to a twist of the base spine. Lengthen your legs gently while taking a breath. On exhalation, bring the knees to the left on the ground, compressing the right side of the body. Turn your head to the right to stretch your neck. Keep the posture for 5 to 10 full breaths. On inspiration bring your knees to the center and repeat on the other side.
Balasana , the child’s posture, has the effect of compressing the abdomen while offering a massage to the internal organs. Similar to Apanasanathis posture stimulates the digestive system. To perform this posture after the other 2, we start with the position lying on the back. From there, once again grab both knees to the chest and then roll to your right, using the right arm as a pillow for the head. Take a breath and, on the exhale, use the left arm to push into the ground so as to find a sitting posture.
Then come on your heels. Spread your knees slightly to the width of the hips. When exhaling, lower the body towards the thighs. Extend the neck and spine by stretching the coccyx to the ground. Place the back of your hands on the floor near the feet or stack your hands under the forehead like a small pillow. Relax shoulders to the floor, create space between the shoulder blades. Place the forehead or the tip of the nose in contact with the ground. Inflate the belly against the thighs with each breath and hold the posture for 5 to 10 complete breaths. On the last breath, bring both hands to the ground under the shoulders and on the expiration push your hands to the ground to go up the upper body.
If you have already suffered from digestive disorders (heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, gastric reflux, ..), you can certainly benefit from the benefits of these yoga postures to improve your digestion.
Practicing yoga is a great way to increase our body awareness and overall awareness which can lead us to eat more consciously and therefore have better digestion.