Whether the culprit is a big meal, rich food and drink, or something more serious like IBD (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) bloating and indigestion never feel good. Did you know, yoga has a way of helping us with some of our digestive issues?!
The general factors that influence our digestive health are:
- Sleep and rest
- Chronic diseases
What we put in our mouths can have a direct influence on our digestion. Some examples of unhealthy eating habits are: overeating, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and eating overly processed food. Practicing yoga will help you tune into your body and not ignore it. From there you can start to recognize habitual thoughts that are getting in the way of healthy eating.
Sleep and Rest
Practicing yoga to improve the quality of your sleep will benefit your digestive system. A sound night of sleep provides a prolonged rest to your entire system, which means you spend more time in the Rest and Digest state.
In general, yoga as exercise is beneficial for your digestive system as it supports good circulation to the digestive organs, strengthens the muscular supports around the digestive organs, and stimulates good elimination.
Practicing yoga can help us switch from Flight or Fight mode to Rest and Digest mode. Digestion does not cease when we are in a state of stress, but chronic stress can lead to decreased peristalsis (movement of food through the digestive tract), halted absorption of food from the gut, and build-up of stomach acid, leading to indigestion and heartburn. Yoga can help turn these problems around.
For digestive conditions that are incurable and are progressing, such as Crohn’s disease or advanced gastrointestinal cancers, restorative or gentle yoga practices, combined with breath practices, meditation, and guided relaxation, can help to relieve or reduce pain, improve sleep and appetite, and lower anxiety and depression.