Come on yoga, light my fire! No, we’re not about to break into a classic rock tune from The Doors, but we are launching a discussion on how yoga helps stoke your agni or digestive fire. Over seventy percent of your immune system is in your gut and optimal digestion is key to improving and maintaining your vital health.
A direct connection exists between the brain and the gut, and many diseases start in the digestive system. Yoga can play a pivotal role, along with proper nutrition, in keeping you strong, healthy, and happy. Yes, digestion impacts your emotions too! Just think about how you feel after you’ve over-indulged in foods that make you feel lethargic, heavy, and bloated. Or, if you’ve received bad news and suddenly you experience nausea and cramping.
Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga and relies on the tenet that an efficient digestive system is the most important aspect of health. Agni, or digestive fire, helps us properly break down food and assimilate and absorb nutrients as well as encourage proper and regular elimination of toxins and waste. Yoga is an excellent way to improve digestion and maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract. By moving and breathing in deliberate ways, you can enhance your digestion and feel rejuvenated.
So which asanas (postures) have the biggest impact on your digestion? In general, twists, forward folds, and inversions offer excellent benefits. Twists help directly compress abdominal organs, which improves blood circulation, and stimulates the elimination of excess gas and bloating. Try a supine twist after a meal to encourage your system to process what you’ve consumed.
Forward folds apply gentle pressure on your belly, which encourages healthy digestion. Also, forward folds are cooling poses that help quiet the mind and soothe the nervous system, which assists in preventing stress-based eating that can mess with you digestion. A simple seated or standing forward fold does the trick!
Inversions are also soothing for the nervous system and help your inner organs relax and recover. Gentle poses like Vipariti Karani (Legs up the wall) will provide a soothing effect for your body, mind, and heart.
We’ve made it easy for you to translate theory into practice with this week's classes promoting good digestion. Your gut health affects everything, and yoga and assist your digestive system to peak functioning. Try these classes and see how rejuvenated you feel!
Twisted Detox Flow with Pradeep Teotia
Maria Garre - Digestive Reset for a Happy Belly
Katie Silcox - Belly Fire: Yogic Practices for Good Digestion
Guru Jagat - Cardio Kundalini 1: Digestion
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