You know what it’s like when your digestive system isn’t happy. Stomach aches, bloating, constipation, IBS—these can all have you reaching for an antacid to get some relief. But if you haven’t also tried using yoga to soothe your symptoms or even just help get things moving after a big meal leaves you stuffed—you might be missing out on some really big benefits.
The Benefits Of Yoga & How Each Improves Digestion
While many of us associate yoga with increased flexibility, balance and stress reduction, its positive effects on the digestive system are often overlooked. Here’s how yoga can help improve your gut health & digestive system:
- Increases relaxation & reduces stress
- Improves blood circulation
- Massages internal digestive organs
- Increases mind-body awareness
- Enhances overall digestive function
Keep reading to learn how each of these benefits can help improve your digestive system.
1. How Relaxation & Stress Reduction Improves Digestion
Stress actually has a negative effect on our digestive processes. Have you ever been stressed at work or made a big life change and then found yourself spending more time in the bathroom? That’s stress having an impact on your digestive system.
Yoga provides a sanctuary for relaxation and stress reduction. Through deep breathing, mindfulness, and gentle movements, yoga helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and aids digestion. By helping to manage stress levels, yoga allows our bodies to enter a state of optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients.
2. How Improved Blood Circulation Improves Digestion
The deep breathing involved in yoga (pranayama) plays a very important role in improving blood circulation in your body. Pranayama helps to reduce stress levels by activating the parasympathetic nervous system while poses like forward bends, twists and inversions gently activate your abdominal area to stimulate blood flow to the digestive tract.
This improved blood circulation brings fresh oxygen and nutrients to your digestive organs, helping them function more efficiently. Improved blood flow also aids in the elimination of waste and toxins, leading to a healthier gut.
3. How Massaging Internal Organs Improves Digestion
Certain yoga poses provide a gentle internal massage to the organs involved in the digestive process—including the stomach, intestines and liver. Twisting poses are one of the best ways to increase the supply of oxygen-rich blood to these organs.
The twisting action helps release tension, improve flexibility, and enhance digestion by stimulating peristalsis (the natural wave-like muscle contractions that move food through the digestive system.) These are often the best poses to try when you’ve spent a little too long at the buffet and you’re feeling more stuffed than a turkey on Thanksgiving day!
4. How Increased Mind-Body Awareness Improves Digestion
While not necessarily as impactful as the other benefits, increased mind-body awareness can also play a part in helping you to avoid digestive discomfort. As a mindfulness practice, Yoga naturally increases this awareness which can help us to make more conscious choices when eating. So instead of eating until you’re stuffed or turning to emotional comfort foods that your body doesn’t agree with, you might eat in a more healthy & mindful way that is easier on your digestive system.
5. How Yoga Enhances Overall Digestive Function
Specific poses like Seated Forward Bend, Child’s Pose, and Bow Pose are great for helping to alleviate common digestive issues such as constipation and indigestion. These poses gently massage the abdomen, activate the digestive organs, and promote healthy bowel movements. The combination of stretching, compression, and relaxation that yoga provides is what helps to regulate digestion, prevent gastrointestinal discomfort and enhance overall digestive function.
Now that you know the connection between yoga and digestive health, it’s time to put it into practice!
- Whether you’re looking for help with bloating, constipation and other digestive issues…
- Or you’d like some help easing the symptoms of IBS, Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis…
- Or even if you just need some twisting poses to help get your digestive system flowing after a big meal…
Try “Yoga For Improved Digestion”. Your gut will thank you!