Fast-paced lifestyles often lead to mental and physical burnout. It is common for this burnout to manifest in the digestive system, especially if we are not giving the body time to rest, digest, rejuvenate, and restore. Let’s explore why we need a slower pace to promote digestion and review some yoga postures that can help us enter this state of being.
What happens during digestion?
The nervous system of our body is split into two distinct parts: sympathetic (responsible for the “fight or flight” response) and parasympathetic (accountable for the “rest and digest” response). These systems collaborate to ensure that our body functions without conscious thoughts. In the state of “fight or flight,” your senses are activated as adrenaline begins flowing and the heart rate rises, allowing blood to flow to the muscles.
When the digestion and rest response is activated, heart rate and breath are slowed down. The body is able to focus on digestion–extracting and metabolizing food nutrients. Organs that eliminate waste are also functioning in this state, which allows your body to digest and eliminate.
Although the nervous system operates automatically, it is also prone to imbalance. Help restore equilibrium by performing the yoga postures listed below and holding them for 3 to 5 minutes while taking deep breaths.
Restorative Yoga Poses for Digestion
Before starting, keep in mind that the rule of thumb is not to do yoga with a full stomach. Avoid eating for 2 hours prior to your yoga session to allow your body to begin its digestion process.
Be aware that digestive issues are often complex and individual. Always consult with your physician in case you have concerns about your digestion health.
Child’s Pose Inward Fists
Child’s Pose or Balasana is an extremely well-known yoga posture that is restorative. When you are in the full-on version of the pose, the chest and belly are lying upon the legs, resulting in an easing compression. Intensify this compression to the abdomen’s lower part by making fists using both hands. Then, place each fist on the fleshy region that lies beneath the stomach. To increase the force of compressive force, raise the force that the hands exert.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana opens the chest, lengthens the upper body, and offers a gentle backbend. Using a block as a support transforms this usually active posture into a relaxing, refreshing one. As you enter the pose, put a block lightly under the sacrum. Yoga blocks offer three options based on how they’re turned. Therefore, you should take some time to determine the one that feels comfortable for you and allows you to relax. Once you’ve found the ideal block’s height, ease your muscles and take a deep breath.
Half Frog Pose
Half frog pose originates out of Yin Yoga. If you lie on your stomach, you can try this as well when trying to induce sleep. Letting your belly rest causes a gentle compression of the digestive system. Additionally, bending the knee activates the digestion and rest response. To help you relax, place the knee on a blanket. Do the same in each direction.
The squat in malasana’s lower squat is a great way to activate down energies (apana) and helps to eliminate them. This is a great pose in situations where you have to move things! If you require additional support, put the bones of your seat on a block and then hold the posture.
Twists help stimulate digestion and help to reduce stress. To begin the posture to form, bend your knee and wrap the arm around your shin. To extend the twist, cross your bent knee over your straight leg and raise the elbow to the side of your bent leg. Concentrate on breathing.
Reclined Baddha Konasana and Self-Massage
Supta buddha konasana is a way to open the hips while relaxing the back. Blocks should be placed under the upper back or thighs to give support. Pick up your middle and pointer fingers and press just a little below the navel. Continue to move in a circular motion for about 10 minutes.
Begin moving in a clockwise direction and massage each spot until you reach a complete circle. Take note of any areas that require more attention. Stay longer in these areas, if needed. Repeat the massage as needed.
Apanasana, also known as wind-relieving posture, is regarded as one of the best ways to let out ‘wind’ and gas that is trapped in your body when you are experiencing bloating. Reclining on your back, move your knees toward the chest. Place your hands around the shins, and then wrap them tight. Rock left to right to test the position while keeping your knees pointing towards the chest all the time.
A crocodile Pose With Heat Pad
Sometimes, the digestive system requires warmth and rest. Makarasana is a wonderful spot to do this. Please make your version of a heating pad (my preferred is rice that’s in a sock with a long length that can be heated by microwave) and place it under the navel. Relax on your stomach and bend your elbows, placing the cheek you’d like on the upper part of the hands. Concentrate on your breathing and let your body relax.
The digestion and rest response is a process that requires time and time and practice. To allow the body’s physical system to relax and for the rest and digestion process to kick in the mind, it is necessary to let it take place. Take time to rest, relax, and be in the moment.