Reason number four to do yoga is it improves digestion!
Gentle yoga soothes and stretches the internal body. It can ease constipation, reduce water retention and create space in the body for comfortable digestion.
If you suffer from digestion problems, it is best to start your yoga practice gently and avoid inversions in the beginning. If you are laying down fold a blanket under your upper back and head to keep body slightly upright.
A few exercises to start with are knees-to-chest (laying down on back), then knee circles to give tummy a gentle massage/pressure, spinal flexes and circles (seated position), cat/cow and leg lifts (from hands and knees position), sphinx (lay on tummy), if it’s comfortable child’s pose is a gentle way to take pressure off bowels (however does have slight inversion through digestive tract so listen to body… if needed you could use a pillow or bolster under the body/head to ease inversion). Finish in sivasana, for at least 5 minutes of stillness/relaxation.
Through-out your practice focus on deep breathing to help detoxify the body, and flush the system of excess toxins.
When eating bring mindfulness to your chewing, swallowing and posture. Yoga can help train the mind to be present with they body, and some digestion problems start in the mouth! Meaning food may not be chewed thoroughly, which can be painful to break down in the digestive tract. Yoga will help improve posture over time as well, which can aid in comfort of digestion simply because you will no longer “hunch over” your plate while you shovel food into your mouth. When you sit tall as you eat, the body has more space to digest food with ease instead of clumping up in your stomach.
Good eating habits that yoga can help with are mindfulness when eating, taking the time to slow down the body and mind to be present with the taste and enjoyment of food, and the body awareness to sit tall and literally feel the process of digestion.
Remember these blogs are no substitute for medical advice! I am not a doctor, and if you suffer from any medical conditions it is highly recommended you discuss any new physical exercise with your medical practitioner.
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