Yoga is highly regarded for its benefits for body and soul. What some don’t know is that the benefits of yoga on the body go beyond fitness, building muscles, and improving flexibility: yoga can actually have a positive impact on your body. gut health and digestion.
In order to understand how it works, you need to be aware of the impact of stress on digestion. Notice how you get butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous? There is a direct path from the brain to the gut, and it’s called the vagus nerve. Swiss researchers find that stimulating the vagus nerve in certain ways can have a beneficial impact on certain psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression. One way to do this is to breathe deeply and slowly. And this is where yoga comes in.
“Yoga is a powerful tool that can help affect the components of the ANS [autonomic nervous system]”says Kelly Turner, yoga teacher and director of education for YogaSix.” If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, taking several slow, deep, and controlled breaths can help alleviate this stress response. help reset the “rest and digestion” function of the autonomic nervous system.
On the other hand, “when a person is in a state of high stress, he often feels his digestion [is] out of whack. Whether backed up or super loose, this is the SNS [sympathetic nervous system] fight-or-flight response in overdrive, “says Turner.” Yoga helps people return to a state of relaxation and ease, which often leads to positive changes in their digestion. “
Studies show that stress is one of the contributing factors to diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. According to a Chinese study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology: “Stress-induced alterations in the neuroendocrine-immune pathways act on the gut-brain axis and the microbiota-gut-brain axis, and cause symptom flares or exaggeration in IBS. a stress-sensitive disorder, therefore, treatment for IBS should focus on managing stress and stress-induced responses. “
RELATED: 3 types of low impact exercise that relieve stress while building strength
However, people with high levels of anxiety and stress are not the only ones who can benefit from yoga. The practice of movement is also good for those who need to move when they feel abdominal discomfort. “Certain yoga poses can compress and gently relax the stomach and colon, including forward twists and folds,” adds Turner. “This internal massage can help get things done, so to speak, which is why it’s not uncommon to hear occasional gas in a yoga class.” That’s right, it’s natural and honestly expected that certain yoga poses will help relieve bloating, gas, and / or constipation. Here are five yoga poses that often help stimulate the bowels and give you relief from unpleasant stomach aches.
RELATED: 6 simple yoga stretches that melt away muscle tension
Cat / Cow
How to do: Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders. Inhale and drop your belly while simultaneously lifting your tailbone and gaze upward (cow pose). Then drop your head and neck while exhaling and gently round your shoulders as you pull your stomach up to the sky, tuck your tailbone below and let your head hang down (cat pose). Repeat five to ten times, steadily switching from cow to cat inhaling and exhaling, respectively.
How to do: Lie on your back and bring one knee to your chest. Then cross that knee in front of you and drop it on the opposite side of your body. You can use the hand on the opposite side to gently press your knee or thigh to deepen the stretch, while keeping the other arm extended out to the side.
How to do: Begin in a plank position, making sure your hands are shoulder distance. Send your hips up and back and let your heels sink as close to the floor as possible. (You should make an upside down triangle shape with the floor as the base). Move your shoulders away from your ears, let your head hang down, and breathe deeply to stretch your whole body.
RELATED: How to get rid of uncomfortable bloating and feel so much better
Thread the needle
How to do: Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees aligned directly under your hips. Inhale and, on the exhale, slide your right arm into the opening between your left arm and your thigh, keeping the right palm facing the ceiling. Let your right shoulder drop and drop to the floor and your right cheek to rest on the floor. Your hips should not fall or move, keep them as horizontal as possible. Readjust to make sure your neck and head are not supporting all of the weight. Breathe deeply for several cycles, then repeat on the opposite side.
Half Lord of the Fishes (Seated Spine Twist)
How to do: Start by sitting on the floor with your legs bent (knees up). Thread your right leg between your left heel and left buttock so that the outside of the right leg is resting on the floor. Push your left foot even more towards your right hip (the left knee should always point up). Inhale and as you exhale, gently turn your upper body towards the inside of your left leg. You can place your left hand on the floor next to or behind you for support and cross your right elbow over your left knee to maintain the twist position. Try not to let your left buttock lift off the ground and keep your spine as high and straight as possible. Hold and breathe deeply for several cycles, then repeat on the opposite side.
RELATED: 8 natural remedies for stomach and digestive problems
Note: Not everyone will see the benefits of yoga, and if your symptoms persist, it may be time to see a gastroenterologist.
Mario Taño, MD, says there are some lifestyle issues that need to be considered. “The average American eats between 3 and 4 grams of fiber per day, while we need 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day,” he says, adding that we have become a population that does not like to drink enough. of water, which can also disrupt digestive flow.
“The gastrointestinal tract has two key components, the neurological and the vascular,” says Dr Taño. “So if you have neurological problems, it can make your stomach lazy. Another problem is vascular conditions like diabetes, or dehydration.”
RELATED: What to eat and what to avoid if you’re battling acid reflux, heartburn, or indigestion