Yoga offers a multitude of benefits. In fact, consistently practicing yoga can help combat or manage a variety of ailments and complaints. Specifically, one may be surprised to learn how beneficial yoga can be to digestive health issues, such as bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
Yoga aids digestive health in a number of ways. Foremost, yoga increases blood flow to organs and extremities. While holding certain physical poses, blood flow is temporarily suspended to corresponding parts of the body. When the yoga practitioner releases the pose, blood floods the particular area, delivering an abundance of oxygen along with it. This is important because oxygen is paramount to healthy organ function. Yoga also encourages proper peristalsis, which is the series of muscle contractions that occur in the digestive tract to move food through the digestive system. Peristalsis can also refer to similar contractions that occur in the tubular organs. Lastly, yoga reminds us of the importance of taking deep and cleansing breaths. Yoga practitioners focus on the importance of prana, a Sanskrit word referring to breath and meaning “life force.” Through pranayama or the practice of breathing, yoga practitioners breathe deeply into the belly, transporting oxygen and its healing properties to the digestive tract.
Depending on which digestive problem you suffer from, you’ll want to practice a pose designed to help with your specific problem. For instance, inversions (classified as any posture in which the legs are elevated above the heart) ease constipation. Shoulder stands and head stands are examples of inversions. Standing postures, such as Warrior I,II,III or Trikonasana (triangle pose) help suppress acidity by lifting the diaphragm and expanding the esophagus and upper area of the stomach, reducing the reflux of gastric matter. Forward bends, such as Uttanasana (standing forward bend), should not be practiced when suffering from acidity, but they are helpful for other digestive ailments. These are only a few of the many yoga postures that will help ease the uncomfortable symptoms of poor digestive health.