When you’re having problems with your digestion, changing your diet is often the first step, but it’s not always enough.
Physical activity also plays an essential role in keeping your digestive system running smoothly.
The Health Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is a gentle, low-impact form of exercise that can provide many health benefits. In addition to increasing flexibility and muscle strength, yoga can help regulate blood glucose levels, reduce inflammation and joint stiffness, and improve coordination, balance, and posture. It also positively impacts blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors.
Yoga can significantly reduce stress, anxiety, aggression, and depression, and it has been shown to improve sleep quality, energy, and mood. These factors can contribute to a noticeable improvement in quality of life and overall health and happiness.
How Yoga Can Help With Digestion
The physical postures and breathing exercises in yoga help massage the digestive organs and stimulate metabolic processes.
Yoga also helps to improve circulation, which can deliver more blood flow to the digestive system, aiding the breakdown of food and the absorption of nutrients.,
Yoga can reduce stress, which is a major contributor to digestive problems. When we’re stressed, our bodies transition into “fight or flight” mode and divert blood away from the digestive system to the muscles, lungs, and brain. Yoga can ease your digestive troubles and promote overall gut health by bringing your nervous system back into “rest and digest” mode.
How To Get Started
If you’re new to yoga, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Be aware of your body. If a position feels uncomfortable, pause and rest at your own pace.
- Be mindful of your breath. Deep, rhythmic breathing in coordination with physical movements can help you relax even more.
- Be patient. Like with most things in life, the benefits of yoga won’t be noticeable overnight. With regular practice, you will start to see and feel the positive effects on your mind and body.
Yoga doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. A few simple postures for even a minute or two can make a big difference, and you can do them nearly anywhere.
Try a seated side bend:
- Sit cross-legged on the floor or in a chair.
- Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, reach your right arm overhead and bend to the left.
- Hold this stretch for 3-5 deep breaths.
- Repeat on the other side.
Also, try a belly twist:
- Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Lift your legs off the ground, with your knees and feet together.
- Keeping your upper body flat on the floor, twist your bent legs, bringing your left knee to the floor.
- Hold the stretch for 3-5 deep breaths.
- Gently rotate your legs to the other side, bringing your right knee to the floor.
- Hold for 3-5 breaths.
- Return to the starting position. Repeat as needed.
As you get more comfortable with yoga stretches, you can explore different styles and find what works best. There are hundreds of different poses and endless variations and modifications to suit every ability and experience level.