Importance of yoga for the digestive system

It is said that the stomach is the origin of most illnesses. We tend to over eat and as a result our body turns out to be rebellion; manifesting common digestive disorders like indigestion, flatulence, gas trouble etc. Our wrong notions about hygeine also cause problems like Gastritis, Diarrhea, Dysentery etc. Here is where we can try to achieve Natural Health with Yoga. Yoga proves very helpful in reducing digestive disorders.

Lifestyle also plays a very important role in Gastro disorders. Sedentary lifestylye, lack of exercise, wrong food habits cause acidity, vomiting, indigestion etc, Few drugs, like some of the anti inflammatory drugs corrode the inner lining of the Gastro Intestinal tract which results into problems like ulcers. Some of the Gastro Intestinal disorders are caused due to malignant cancerous growth. The cancers of G.I. tract, which were very rare once upon a time, are becoming common. Thought the exact cause of cancer is not known to science till date, the scientists believe that its roots are in the lifestyle.

The function of the digestive system is not only digestion but it also includes absorption of digestive food and elimination and elimination of waste products.

Yoga believes that the food that we eat is responsible for not only physical but also mental development, so working of digestive system in a healthy way is essential for our physical and mental growth.

Naturopathy believes that the cause of all diseases is accumulation of toxins. Waste products left after digestion can produce such toxins therefore elimination of waste products is very important function of digestive system. Chronic diseases are due to malfunctioning and abuse of digestive system.

Wrong eating habit consists of – over eating or eating in absence of hunger. Often overeating is to satisfy tongue rather than the stomach. Eating wrong & artificial food like refrigerated, pickled, fried, use of preservatives, aerated drinks affects our digestion.

Addictions also affect the Digestive system

Tobacco: Habit of chewing tobacco corrodes the mucus lining of G.I. Systems.

Alcohol: Alcohol damages the Liver and affects Autonomous Nervous System

Drugs: Antibiotics, a boon, according to modern medicine may also cause G.I. problems. Antibiotics not only kill the harmful bacteria but sometimes kill the helpful bacteria living in the colon symbiotically. These bacteria helpful in synthesis of vitamin B- comlex and Vitamin K in the colon, when killed causes digestive problems.

Addiction is not confined to drugs, tobacco, alcohol but excessive consumption of tea, coffee, sweets, pain killers, laxtives, steroid also habit forming.

Tea: Tea kills appetite and it is one of the causes for reflux.

Coffee: A strong link between the consumption of coffee and pancreatic cancer was identified in one study. It was found that more cups of coffee carried more risk.

Many ailments of the digestive system, starting from mouth to anus are traceable to stress. Stress either quick or constant, can induce risly body – mind disorders. Immediate disorders such as dizzy spells, anxiety attacks, sleeplessness, nervousness and muscle cramps. They may effect our digestive system, all this happen basically because of stress, aggressive behaviour, drinking, smoking etc

Effects of stress on digestive system according to the concept of Yoga

According to Yoga, we have five bodies,

  1. Annamaya Kosha – The Physical Body/sheath, or layer, the most grossest layer of the five koshas, in yogic physiology, this is also referred to as the food body, since the physical body is essentially constituted of the food that one consumes.
  2. Pranamaya Kosha – The energy body. Life energy that makes each and every cell carry on its function.
  3. Manomaya Kosha – The Mental body – Pertains to the ‘Manas’, i.e. mind.
  4. Vignanamaya Kosha – Pertains to the ‘Buddhi’, The inner mind that controls and guides the Manomaya Kosha.
  5. Anandamaya Kosha – Lit, Bliss body. The subtlest layer.

Mechanism of psychosomatic ailment and kosha

All the physical complains at the Annamaya Kosha. The problem of stress induced disorders begins in Manomaya Kosha. When this goes on and on for sometime and cannot be mended by the directives from Vijanamaya Kosha, the imbalance at the Manomaya Kosha gradually disturbs the balance at the Pranamaya Kosha. It resulsts in irregularities in supply of prana to different parts of the body. The prana quivers in the nadis and manifests as poor digestion. It is given in the Ayurveda text that the digestive system is the first target where the stress manifests. That is why Ayurveda would like to correct for any chronic illness in the digestive system.

Concept of Chakras

Digestive organs and glands are goverened by Manipura Chakra, which is responsible for digestive fire. Just like “Sun” is the source of all energy, Manipura Chakra is the Sun in our body that gives energy. Vishaddha chakra which is located at throat helps for swallowing food. Further the food is pushed down by Anahata Chakra located at heart which represents air element. Manipura Chakra that converts the food into energy. It is supported by Swadhisthan Chakra (Water element), which governs the elimination of liquid wastes by kidney and sweat glands and remaining waste material is thrown out by Mooladhara Chakra located at the perineum.

Effects of Yogic practises

Central Effect: The work of digestion is governed by Autonomous Nervous System. Central Effect of Yogabhyas is on mind.

Local & Associate Effects of yogabhays are more on physical level.

1.Yogabhyas helps to achieve proper muscle tone which helps to eliminate many functional G.I. disorders.

2.Venous Drainage is improved. Accumulated deoxygenated blood means accumulation of toxins in the body. Because of various forms of bend, pressure, stretch, compression, twist helps in better venous drainage around digestive system. i.e. more efficient elimination of accumulated toxins which means better health of that system.

3. Shuddhikriyas: According to Ayurveda, balance between Tridoshas means health and imbalance means ill health. Shuddhikriyas, origin of Yogic Therapy, help to remove excess Kapha & Pitta, thereby helping in removing and preventing digestive problems related to excess Kapha & Pitta. The effects of asanas and pranayamas are slow but that of shuddhikriyas are very fast and immediate.

. . . And Now, Yoga

  1. Practices creating pressure on abdomen : Removes blood congestion in the abdomen. e.g. Sulabha Shalabhasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Yoga Mudra, Hansasana, Pawanmuktasana etc.
  2. Practices creating abdominal stretch : Makes abdominal muscles elastic, improves tone. e.g. Poorva Supta Vajrasana, Dhanurasana, Hastaparshwasana, Parvatasana, Tadasan, Marjarasana ‘A’, Ushtrasana, Kapotasana, Sulabha Vrishikasana, Chakrasana
  3. Practices creating abdominal twist : Deoxygenated stagnated blood is removed from abdominal region which facilitates entry of fresh blood. e.g. Uttana Vakrasana, Su.Matsyendrasana, Sulabha Trikonasana, Dandavakrasana, Vakrakonasana.
  4. Practices creating sideward bends: Improves function of Liver, Pancreas, Spleen & Kidneys. e.g. Sulabha Parivartit Chakrasana, Sulabha Trikonasana
  5. Practices creating abdominal strokes/ Pressure manipulation: Improves supply of fresh blood to the soft organs in the abdominal cavity. Imroves muscle tone. e.g. Agnisar, Nauli, Shushka Gajakarani, Kapalbhatti, Ashwini Mudra, Tadagi mudra etc.
  6. Topsy Turvy Practices: Improves health of endocrine glands. e.g. Viparitkarani Mudra, Bhusirasana ‘A’ & ‘B’
  7. Practices stimulating nerves: Makes mind calm & balance emotions. e.g. Jivha Bandha, Simha mudra, Brahma mudra, Omkar sadhana, Bhramari rechaka etc.
  8. Meditative practices : Makes mind calm & balances emotions. e.g. Manas Chintan, Manodharana, Ajapajapa, Jagrut Vismarana etc
  9. Relaxing practices: Improves almost all body functions. Strengthens Homeostasis. e.g. Chaitanyasana, Makarasana

Please Note: Practise according to one’s capacity. Relaxation of the body & mind is the soul of Yogic Techniques.

Achieve Natural Health with Yoga