Yoga for Digestive Disturbance
Yoga, combined with medical and herbal remedies, can be of great benefit in reieving gastric symptoms. I’ve previously written about herbal remedies for food intolerance and disturbances in gut microflora. This article adds yoga practices to improve gut function. As with all areas of the body that become dis-eased, improved blood circulation, physical mobility and flexibility can dramatically improve health.
Basically, yoga poses (asana) and breathing practices (pranayama) that expand and contact the abdominal area and include a series of forward and backward bends can bring vitality to the stomach, intestines and other digestive organs, including the pancreas and liver. The aim is activation of Manipura chakra, the digestive fire.
Some examples are shown below. If you have digestive problems, please begin the practice of these exercises with moderation, carefully testing and extending your physical ability with time, rather than rushing in and over-extending muscles that are not used to the practice. Be aware of our body and take good care of it. The relaxing poses and pranayamas mentioned in the last news article are also very useful for relieving digestive problems, as stress is a major sourde of gut problems.
August September 2013 News
Stick Vinyasa. From 'Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy' by Mukunda Stiles , p123
The other practice that is of great benefit in digestive problems is to be very aware of what you eat and how it affects you. This turns mealtimes into a form of meditation. Always choose fresh, vibrant food if you can. Prepare it with concentration and care, being aware of the textures and flavours that attract you, and avoiding those that repel you. Take time to sit down at the table to eat. Do not drink before the meal or during it.
Do not talk to people or pets, on the phone, text or tweet, watch TV, read or work on the computer while eating. In many ashrams, visitors eat alone. Conversation is for before or after the meal, mealtime is for EATING.
Chew each mouthful until it is a fine paste (20-30 chews for dense food, such as bread). Note when you are satisfied (but NOT full!), stop eating, no matter how much is left on your plate. Ignore your mother’s voice in your head taking about Ethiopian* children and telling you to clean your plate! If you are hungry later, eat a little more then. If you are thirsty, drink after the meal.
Observe how you feel after eating certain foods. Does bread weigh you down? Does onion or garlic cause flatulence? Does fruit make you feel bloated? It’s good idea to keep a food diary for at least a week and note these changes.
Eating is a meditation. It pays to stay focussed and aware in order to get the most from the wonderful bounty of Earth’s food. Be grateful to the plants and animals that supply our daily needs and give thanks before and after each meal. Good food is wonderful medicine!