Have you tried yoga? Do you think you need to be as bendy as Gumby?
I LOVE yoga! My body needs the variety of routines that include the restorative and restful, intense and strengthening, and even detoxifying.
Today I want to share the benefits of yoga for the digestive system. Wow! Did you even realize that your fitness routine could have an impact on your digestion?
Let’s get started! Put on some comfy clothes that allow you to bend and stretch, but aren’t too baggy. All you need is a yoga mat and dedicated time for your practice. Start with 15 minutes, increasing to 30 minutes when you feel more comfortable. My body likes 45-60 minutes the best for a really good routine. That allows me enough time to stretch and warm my muscles in the beginning and end.
I’ll share a couple of my favorite poses that anyone can do.
APANASANA: KNEES HUGGED TO CHEST
This pose is also known as “wind-relieving” pose.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie down, relax, and inhale, placing your hands on your knees. Exhale, and hug your knees to your chest. Rock your knees from side to side to maximize the stretch. Stay for 5 to10 breaths, and release your knees. Repeat this move a few more times.
Besides the digestion benefits, this is a great pose to stretch the low back. While you’re in the position, lie flat, stretching your arms and legs full length. Just feel the simple spinal adjustment you just gave yourself.
All contracting and twisting poses stimulate the abdominal organs, including the liver and digestive organs.
How to do it:
Lie down, hug your knees, and inhale. As you exhale, extend your left leg to the mat and bring your right knee across your body. Stretch your arms out to the side and then look the opposite way. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths. Inhale, and return your hands and knees to center. Repeat on the other side.
Besides the digestion benefits, this is a great pose to stretch the low back and hips.
NOTE:If you have a spinal disc injury, consult your health-care provider before practicing twists of any kind.
DOWNWARD FACING DOG
Do this all-over stretch to energize your mind and body.
HOW TO DO IT:
Start on your hands and knees with the entire surface of your palms pressing into the floor and your toes tucked under. Slowly lift the knees and straighten the legs. Press equally into the hands and feet, and lift your sitting bones up as you move the thighs back. Allow the head to hang. Stay for 5-10 deep breaths.
Getting the heart higher than the head reverses the pull of gravity and aids in the circulation of blood and lymph. It also gently tones the abdomen, which stimulates digestion.
These are 3 simple poses and there are so many more that any of us can do. Spend a few minutes every day stretching and deep breathing. You will feel more energized and your digestion will improve.