Through yoga teacher training we learn of all the wonderful benefits to expect with a strong yoga practice. One of these benefits is that a regular practice of certain yoga poses will actually increase our digestive efficiency.
Some of the yoga styles that incorporate these kinds of poses are Hatha, Integral, Sivananda and Iyengar. There are more rigorous yoga styles that also use the poses such as Vinyasa or Bikram yoga where the rooms are heated and help to increase flexibility and detoxification at the same time.
The Basic Idea of Yoga
Yoga as we know through yoga teaching is an ancient Indian system that incorporates diet, exercise, breath, meditation and relaxation practices. The Sanskrit word yoga means “to yoke.” Yoga teacher training explains that with yoga practice you create a union between your body and mind which helps achieve a state of consciousness with movement, stillness and breathing. Yoga poses will help cultivate strength and focus while massaging your internal organs, increasing your circulation, improving your digestion and eliminating toxins that build up in your body.
We learn through yoga teacher training that nutrient absorption requires a lot of oxygen and that by practicing poses that require deep breathing will help with the digestive process of nutrient absorption. To begin a proper lotus pose you should sit cross legged on the floor. Make sure to straighten your back and relax both shoulders and neck so you are not straining your body. Put both hands on your knees and gently rest in this position with your palms open and facing upward. Close both your eyes relax and breathe deeply.
Seated Forward Bend
This type of pose will help provide a full and deep massage to all your organs that deal with digestion, assimilation and elimination. Any type of posture that affects the small intestine and help to stimulate the blood flow also help food to be absorbed.
For this pose begin by sitting with your legs together and stretched out in front of you. Slowly lift your arms over your head and straighten your spine through the back with the stretch. Inhale through your nose and hinge at your wait folding into a forward bend as you exhale out of your mouth. When you have reached your maximum forward bend with keeping your back straight, gently release your arms and head. You should lead with your chest not with your head and be cautious not to arch or curve your back. Avoid straining your neck and breath long and deep for up to 2 minutes.
This pose helps to stimulate the thyroid gland which is at the base of your throat and is in charge of processing iodine. Iodine is a nutrient that is essential to the thyroids production of thyroid hormones.
To begin this pose lie flat on your back with both legs together and straight up into the air to create a 90 degree angle. Make sure to support your back with your hands and point your fingers toward your head. Keep your elbows rooted on the ground and hugging the sides of your body. Then, point your feet up toward the sky while focusing on your breath. Hold this pose for up to 2 minutes and then release slowly by rolling down to rest flat on your back.
We have all heard that relaxation can help to reduce stress. When our body is fighting stress it releases a hormone called cortisol that will interfere with our nutrient absorption.
To begin this pose lie flat on your back and spread your legs out about hip distance apart. Close your eyes and let your hands naturally curve toward the ceiling. Start out with tensing all the muscle in your body, then release. Relax and bring your focus on your breathing. Your breathing should not be forced, let it just be natural. Lie still and quiet and focus on your breathing for at least 5 minutes.
These poses are designed to help your body relax and help you feel better. Yoga teacher training has many tools to teach you how to help certain areas in your body.