Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Yoga for digestion-Part 2

Get your digestion in tip top condition ready to cope with the Christmas feasting.  Yogis believe complete wellness stems from good digestion but the holidays can make our digestion sluggish resulting in indigestion, bloating and constipation. It is important to avoid constipation which can lead to build up of toxins in the bowel which can result in increased risk of bowel cancer. 

The following sequence alternately stretches and compresses the abdomen stimulating digestion and elimination.   You will need a block, bolster and maybe some blankets.

To start lie down and take a few moments to 'arrive' at your practice. Check in with your physical body and let your breath settle.

Apanasana - lie with your legs outstretched and draw your right leg tight  in, holding your shin or back of your thigh if you have knee issues.  This stimulates the ascending colon.  Hold for a few breaths then repeat second side to stimulate the descending colon.

Cat/Cow - come onto all fours.  Breathe in and lift your head and chest, breathe out tuck your chin and arch your back and continue working with your breath.  The movement alternately stretches and compresses your abdomen.

Child's Pose variation - come to the back of your mat, and sit back on your heels.  Make fists with your hands, place them on your abdomen and fold, bringing your forehead to the mat. This stimulates the digestive organs.  Stay here for a few breaths then come back to all fours.

Downward Facing Dog - from all fours, inhale tuck your toes, exhale lift your hips.  Stay for 5 breaths then walk your feet forward.  Downward Facing Dog is a half inversion - it brings blood to the brain which is calming for the mind.  Stress can affect the digestive system in a negative way and so calming the mind can help improve digestion. When you are ready, walk your feet forward, and when your shoulders come over your hands, breathe in and roll up slowly.

Triangle - another stress relieving pose, Triangle relieves stress by opening the chest encouraging deeper breathing. Stand in the middle of the mat in Tadasana.  Step your feet a leg length apart, turn the right leg out and the left foot in 45 degrees.  Ladies should align their heel, men should align front heel to back instep.  Bring your hands to your heart then on a breath in stretch your arms wide and lift your chest. Breathe out and shift your hips to the left and you extend over your right leg, bringing your hand to rest on your ankle, shin or thigh.  If you are very flexible you can bring your hand down to the floor behind the right foot.  Your gaze can be up at your right thumb if your neck allows, or down at your right big toe. If you have neck issues, you may also want to place your top hand on your hips. To come out of the pose, breathe in and windmill your arms up, breathe out turn your feet to face forward and your hands to heart centre. Repeat second side.

Seated Forward Bend-this pose stimulates the digestive organs and calms the nervous system. Sit with your legs outstretched and a bolster or rolled up blanket on your legs. Breathe out and bring your body and forehead onto the bolster.  If you need the bolster to be higher add a blanket on top.  Stay here for a few minutes then breathe in to come up slowly.

Other tips for good digestion this Christmas:-

Try to get out for a walk, even on Christmas Day.  Walking massages the bowels for better digestion and elimination.  It also helps avoid 'cabin fever' (and Christmas bickering!)

Take a little 'me' time - maybe a long relaxing soak in the bath or your yoga practice?

Eat mindfully - please see- 'Fun chocolate meditation'

You may also like:-
'Yoga for digestion-Part 1'


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