According to Ayurveda, yoga’s big sister, healthy digestive system is considered to be a pilar of our well-being, and misbalance or ineffective metabolism is a cause of most of the diseases.
The metabolic energy of digestion called Agni, helps in eliminating the body wastes and toxins. It breaks down the dense physical matter into subtle energy the body needs, generates internal warmth and produces a clear mind.
Often in yoga you will hear about digestive fire or Belly Agni, The concept of agni is closely related to the digestion of food, which simply refers to the ability of your body to metabolise nutrients and food into energy that sustains life. Our organism is strong when we have healthy digestion.
Agni, comes from Sanskrit word for fire, and connotes to a Hindu god of fire. Agni is the one who is transforming and he is protector of the humanity and safe guard of the home. In other words, or Agni is protector of our home (our body) and transforming food into energy.
Along with the balanced yogic vegetarian diet, yoga couples exercises with rhythmic breathing. Breathing brings life force into the body and cleans the body of toxic materials formed due to wrong diet, unhealthy lifestyle & accumulated stresses. It improves Agni, creates body balance and longevity, rejuvenating the whole system.
Deep breathing stimulates parasympathetic nervous system and help us to deal with stress and anxiety levels, and poses like twists can increase increase peristalsis–the movement of food through the intestines.
Poses that can improve digestion:
• Child pose -Child’s pose actually compresses the digestive organs which helps stimulate digestion.
• Trikonasana (Triangle pose) - improves digestion, stimulates apetite and alleviates constipation
• Paschimottanasana (forward bending pose) - relieves digestive problems like constipation
• PavanaMuktasana - improves gastrointestinal movements
• Matsyendrasana -massages the abdominal organs and alleviating digestive misbalances
• Ustrasana (Camel pose) - stretches the stomach and intestines, alleviating constipation
• Supine spinal twist - Twisting encourages detox and movement. As mentioned above, any kind of twists increases mobility in intestines and helps with bloating
• Malasana (Garlan pose) -helps to release gasses and bloating
Pranayama for digestion:
Bhastrika pranayama is a hath yogic breathing technique. It aids in increasing circulation in the body as well as producing inner heat at a physical level. It aids in the removal of toxins, reducing inflammation as well as the buildup of phlegm
How to do it
In a seated position, with the back straight and extended take in a deep breath and then immediately breathe out. This can be done slowly at first with time building up the speed of breathing in and out. During inhalation, the abdomen moves out and during exhalation, it moves in. Do a round of 10-15 breaths. As you continue to practice you can increase the amount of breath in a round. Do 2-3 rounds of bhastrika.
The best time to practice this pranayama is in the morning on an empty stomach.
This breathing technique should not be performed by pregnant women, individuals who experience hypertension, heart disease or serious gastrointestinal issues.
Tips from Ayurveda for healthy digestion: