Believe it or not but yoga gives sustained and long-term benefits from most chronic digestive problems except in acute flare-up of diarrhea, ulcer and irritable bowel syndrome yoga.
In just a few weeks doing poses, you will be able to control most common digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, constipation (both of which are extreme reactions to stress), indigestion, acidity, sluggish metabolism, diabetes, chronic tiredness (which results from inefficient nutrient absorption) or halitosis (bad breath, where it caused by indigestion).
Shameem Akthar, a certified yoga acharya with the internationally acclaimed Sivananda Yoga Centre, Kerala (headquartered in Canada) guides you through six poses designed pep your digestive system.
Interestingly, since these practices make you fuel-efficient you will feel hunger levels drop as your energy levels peak. This will help you attain your weight loss goals by making you eat only when hungry.
Following the session with a ten-minute meditative practice will further rejuvenate your entire digestive system by involving the parasympathetic nervous system -- the department dealing with repair and rejuvenation of the body.
Points to note
In extremely serious digestive disorders it is sensible to include yogic shatkarmas or purificatory processes, done in ashram conditions, to remove the cause.
The habit of treating food auspiciously is emphasised in yoga. Start the meal meditatively, avoid talking, eating while on the go or watching television during mealtimes.
Chew your food well.
Since our gut is also referred to as the 'emotional brain' (the stomach is known to change colours with our emotions!), stress can be a major, hidden cause for most of our digestive problems.
Some poses like supta vajrasana (lying thunderbolt) and navkasana (boat) may be tough for beginners. Use wall support, or props like bolster or do the pose only partially till you reach the full potential of the pose.
Text: Shameem Akthar
Also read: How to do yoga
Photographs: Saisuresh Sivaswamy
Catch more of Shameem's yoga writings and about her upcoming workshops at jaisivananda.blogspot.com