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Twist and Shout: How Yoga Poses Can Improve Digestion

May 18, 2023

Reducing stress and improving flexibility, balance, and strength – yoga has many benefits for our health and well-being. But one of the most important advantages of practicing yoga for our general health may not be immediately obvious: yoga has the potential to improve your digestive health. 

Yoga for digestion

A healthy gut supports most other functions in your body, including your immune system and your nervous system. Anyone who has ever suffered from disrupted digestion knows how much it can influence your energy levels and even your ability to concentrate. So, how can yoga help you improve your digestion?

Yoga in Dallas for Digestive Health

For centuries, yoga has been used as a practice to connect our bodies, minds, and spirits. Movement, breathing exercises, and meditation all come together to help us reconnect with ourselves and our surroundings. 

Put simply, there is more to yoga than fitness and flexibility. Our yoga practice stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system which is also known as our rest-and-digest system. This network of nerves signals your body to relax after a time of stress or a challenge, and it runs processes like digestion. 

When you’re physically or emotionally stressed, your digestive system doesn’t receive these signals and can’t work optimally. You’ll feel this disruption as bloating or constipation. Over time, temporary digestive issues can turn into chronic problems that may even require medical attention. 

Yoga in Dallas for Digestive Health

Practicing yoga can break this cycle and help balance your digestive system in several ways: 

  • Breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation help calm the parasympathetic nervous system. This enables your brain to signal the rest of the body to relax and digest.
  • Specific yoga poses apply pressure or help stretch digestive organs. This increases the blood flow around those organs and improves their natural function. 
  • Twisting movements encourage the movement of food through your digestive tract, relieving constipation. 
  • Breathing exercises deliberately move the diaphragm, which helps massage and mobilize digestive organs. 

Four Types of Yoga Poses to Support Digestion

Countless yoga poses support your digestive system, and we’re happy to integrate them into our classes at Uptown Yoga at your request. There are far too many for one blog post. However, to give you some inspiration, here are four groups of poses to consider:

1. Stretching Poses

Transitions between the cat pose and cow pose stretch both your back and your belly muscles. This is a great way to improve circulation to your digestive system and gently massage your digestive organs. Practicing your bow pose is another, more intense option to stretch your back and massage your digestive tract, encouraging circulation and easier digestion. 

Yoga Pose for Digestive Health

2. Inversions

Who doesn’t love practicing inversions? The good news is that it doesn’t matter whether you are choosing a mild inversion like a shoulder stand or a more challenging option like a plow pose. Either will support your digestive health. If your practice includes headstands and handstands, those can benefit your digestion, too. 

3. Twisting Poses

Twisting poses are some of our favorites when it comes to improving digestive health. Like with inversions, you have several options to choose from. They vary in intensity, but each is beneficial for your digestive health. 

Supine twists allow you to stretch your lower back and encourage digestive movements by crossing one knee in front of your body. Seated spinal twists tend to feel more intense as they not only activate your digestive organs but also stretch your hips. 

4. Relaxing Poses

Do you look forward to spending time in Savasana at the end of each practice? We do. This pose is ideal to help you let go of any remaining tension and prepare for meditation. It also encourages your nervous system to signal to your digestive tract that it’s time to relax and digest. 

Of course, everyone’s digestion is different, and these poses are simply meant to offer a little inspiration. If you’d like to spend more time using yoga to support your digestive health, consider booking a couple of private classes with experienced instructors. 

Supporting Digestion Beyond Yoga

Now, at this stage, it is worth pointing out that yoga is not the only factor that influences digestive health. Eating a balanced diet is the key ingredient, if you wish, for a happy, healthy gut. Establishing and following regular sleeping patterns is equally critical to allowing your body to relax and process every aspect of the day. 

Following these principles and adding gut-supporting poses to your yoga practice will go a long way toward maintaining healthy digestion. 

Yoga Classes Near You

Would you like to learn more about how yoga can support your overall health, including your digestion? The Uptown Yoga team of experienced yoga instructors is here to answer your questions in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Don’t hesitate and reach out to us!

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