A static body is the body that can enter deep meditation, where the mind can separate and depart from the physical ; but the moving body is the one that exists in our visible world how ever you choose to perceive that. We can eat healthy, not consume any toxins and substances, meditate daily, and still find ourselves getting sick. A combination of movement and stretching is the quickest way to release emotions, trauma and developing illnesses in the body. Here is where the word balance makes sense. Achieving balance between stillness and movement is key.
I often mention to certain clients and friends how what we eat makes up 80 % of our physical health and therefore our
appearance, which is true when we consider eating a healthy and balanced diet as oppose to a processed unhealthy one. However, I've noticed people get attached to that as a means not to exercise or move which is far from my intention.
I usually aim this statement at people who exercise a lot yet continue to eat poorly or those who push themselves much too hard! I was that person once. Hot yoga 2 times a day was a normal occurrence - the motivation was outer appearance- when it should of been overall health.
So although our nutrition often plays the main role, for optimum health we cannot keep our body stagnant. Think about knee mobility or releasing tension in our back. People tend to stop moving as they get older which is exactly why movement becomes so difficult for them. More movement means easier movement and for the sake of Food & Freedom, more movement equals better digestion!
Movement is one of the best ways to de-stress, release, process and achieve good mental health. I believe for myself there should be about an even 50 / 50 balance between what I eat and how much I move but I also know this depends on my cycle, work load and more. This ratio is different for all of us! I encourage you to find yours. Focus on both tools without really prioritizing one or the other, simply allow the Nurturing Program to adjust the ratios as your body needs. A specific type of movement I love is stretching or better put releasing and processing, which brings us to YOGAS 3rd LIMB - YOGASAN!
I will not go on about how much I believe yoga asanas are extremely beneficial to us, especially in the way we live today! I will simply show you how it all ties in together holistically - in this case, how yoga can help our digestive system while benefiting the whole.
NO MATTER HOW HEALTHY WE EAT once in a while there is discomfort, whether due to our moon cycles, or the external factors we process through the belly. Whether we accumulated a lot of stress, helped a friend process, or are refusing to let something go, the belly fills and bloats and feels so much tension.
how do we quickly aid the process ? sometimes its activated charcoal or figs, other times it is daily practice of
The following are my absolute favorite yogic methods that get things moving and refresh the digestive system when it is feeling stagnant by stretching out the stomach area and creating more prana in the manipura chakra.
I suggest sitting on your mat while you read these and performing them. If you are unsure of what any look like simply ask google for help! Or you may ask me in the comment section!
I do not suggest following these poses simply through my text if you are a complete beginner in yoga. In that case I highly encourage you to contact me for a session, or simply take your first yoga class!
Kapalbhati is indeed not an asana yet a purifying Kriya that ties in nicely with pranayam practice; it expels toxins, negative thoughts and trauma . The quick abdominal movements consequently aid digestion that is already stimulated by the practice of purification.
If you have never done the kriya , here is a link where you can learn.
It is a quick forceful exhale through the nose that results in an automatic inhale. The focus is on OUT, and the belly is pulled in at each exhale.
The main difference in how people perform Kapalbhati is the speed of the breath. The most common speed and the one I recommend is 1 exhale per second, however some choose to do and teach a lot faster, yet for shorter rounds.
The way I have originally been thought Kapalbhati is done in 1 long round. At my childhood ashram we did it for a full 7 minutes, resting with deep breaths when needed.
You may also do it quickly if that feels right. Perform 3 rounds with breaks where you take a few deep breaths. If you are unsure when to finish a round, you can count 21 exhales for each round.
I suggest doing the fast version if you are a Pitta or Kapha Dosha, but I think Vatas will greatly benefit from having to slow down and control the breathe.
Doing Kapalbhati fast can be agitating when first starting out.
Both methods do the job, it's simply up to you what feels better.
Don't force the one that doesn't feel comfortable. only force the exhale! until that too becomes automatic.
Here are a few tips to get it right.
*start with a long inhale and forcefully exhale , you next inhale should come automatically without effort.
*go with the speed that feels comfortable until you really get the hang of it.
*relax and don't be tense, if you are tensing too much in the back and shoulders, slow down the speed.
*aid the motion by placing one hand on the belly and tapping the belly inward at every exhale
*stop when you need to , take 3-5 deep breaths and continue.
*treat it as meditation, focus on the kriya. Back is straight, hands can be in any mudra that feels good for you
or use the PUSHAN MUDRA for digestion and elimination. Thumb connected to ring and middle finger, index and pinky are straight
*practice Kapalbhati in the morning! it may wake you up in the evening.
*always practice Kapalbhati on an empty stomach.
LINK to a good demonstration. HOW TO DO KAPALBHATI
Here they're doing it quickly for 3 rounds. Remember, if you feel too much tension it is completely ok and beneficial to go slower.
Malasana or the yogi squat is simple to get into and a great way to trigger your digestion. The most important thing is a straight back and this time no locks / bandhas. We usually want to lock our pelvic floor and direct the energy upward however for the sake of digestion we want things to go down, so completely relax the area where the Muladhara or root chakra resides yet keep focus on the third eye to retain the Prana.
Stay in this one for a while. Ujjayi breath helps and may be necessary to relieve the hip opening. Straighten the neck and the back and pull yourself upwards with every exhale imagining you are creating space in the abdominal area.
This one may begin to feel intense as you're also releasing from the hips, but it may be what needs to happen - so keep going, or gently forward fold! You know your body best.
"Inner richness and outer beauty comes with yoga and meditation" – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
From Malasana, if you simply place you hands to the ground you will be able to straighten your legs, relax the head down and hang out in a slightly wide legged (hip distance ) forward fold. Of corse you can do this one on the floor but I prefer the standing option when targeting digestion and not working on my hamstrings as much, I suggest hanging out a bit then bringing your feet close together and performing your extent of the perfect pose.
Always get out of the pose properly lifting the hands and the body up with a deep breathe in and bringing them to the chest in namaste as you exhale.
#4 UTTANA SHISHOSANA
Here you may do any back bend that you like! Choose one that focuses on stretching out the stomach rather than creating a great arch in the back. My favorite for digestion is Uttana shishotasana or the puppy pose. Your chest is on the floor, arms are pointing forward and the bum is completely lifted with knees bent. This pose is absolutely excellent for releasing gas, hang out here and breathe. Have fun and see what kind of movement you can do with your stomach.
When performing this pose, try and bring the chest more to the floor and create a deeper stretch.
If this one is not for you , a great option for everyone is Urdva muhka svanasana or upward facing dog; not cobra for this specific purpose as were trying to really stretch out the abdoman rather than strengthen the core and back.
A more advanced stomach stretch is achieved with Dhanurasna or Urdva Dhanurasana. Two variations with similar effects, the bow pose or the wheel pose. For more experienced yogis, do these poses to help out your digestion!
Last suggestion the camel pose or Ustrasana, make sure to push the stomach out.
Choose one of those only!
*before moving on to the next pose, take a short seated forward fold to counter act the back bend of choice.
#5 ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA
After your forward fold you may sit up and do a twist! Any twist you love is absolutely great!
I will do Ardha Matsendrasana , this one twists the entire torso resulting in a deep spinal twist and a belly massage. There are a few variations of the seated twist. I encourage you to look these up if you don't already have a favorite.
This twist further stretches out the abdomen but in a few more directions! Imagine creating space between your digestive organs as you're in the pose. Ujjayi breath helps a lot here, every exhale - twist more.
Feel free to do any other spinal twist you like just make sure you are creating the same type of rotation in the solar plexus. You may do a laying down twist as well!
My favorite pose ever! anyone else? I reach out to this one all the time. It's relaxing and passive but so effective.
This one may be advanced for some, so if you want to skip it no stress, do another forward fold or backbend followed by a forward fold instead.
Halasana or plow pose starts laying on the back and is easily accessible by Sarvangasana or candle pose/ shoulder stand. Drop your legs behind your head and keep them straight, only once you're comfortable with straight legs and are breathing easily, attempt to-bend the knees fully and tasition into Karnapidasana .
Just writing about it makes my belly happy. I absolutely adore this pose. It's a personal thing but do let me know in the comments below if there are any other plow pose fanatics out there!
You can follow this one with another easy forward fold or fish pose if you feel any tension on the neck.
Tip #7 VAJRASAN
My favorite way to finish what I refer to as the digestive sequence, is to sit in Vajrasan. The ultimate pose for digestion. Sit here after meals and I promise they will go down smoother.
A great idea is to do a short 10 minute meditation in Vajrasana as it's a passive pose and may trigger the mind to do funky and unnecessary things.
Vajrasan is a simple seated pose sitting on your knees. Balinese women practice Vajrasan et every ceremony through prayer, whilst the men sit in lotus. I wonder if they have an easier time then men digesting the ceremonial food due to this simple variation!
let me know if you tried this and if it eased the discomfort!
Or If you'd like me to guide you through it :)
ANOTHER ONE! Sitting in lotus or with one leg stretched out bent towards one side or the side of the straight leg, support yourself with one arm on the floor and the other arm extended to further stretch out the abdomen.
Theres a few variations here but you get the gist of it.
You can also do this one standing up with legs straight, bending to each side with one arm up , the other reaching-down to your knee or further! If you are bending right your left arm is up the right is reaching down the right leg. Try bending each knee ever so slightly to deepen the stretch.
You may also do the same with legs slightly open, and if you are feeling flexy go for the triangle pose! The intended effects are the same. Not done yet? Revolved triangle is your next step.
If you have any questions at all, pls leave them in the comments section.
If you'd rather follow a "yoga for gut health" flow with me, you can find the option in the services tab or simply contact me any way you know how!
Have a beautiful evening healthy happy beings