With upcoming Valentine's Day, I invite you to gift yourself a happy belly and healthier digestion. Being able to enjoy your meal and process it well without any unwanted side effects is linked to absorbing all valuable nutrients and therefore increasing immunity, energy, concentration and overall well-being. Whether you have a busy, sedentary lifestyle with not much exercise, ate too much food, had a heavy meal, or feel bloated, constipated, a digestive discomfort is never pleasant. Fortunately, with help of yoga and Ayurvedic medicine, there are techniques and tools to manage various unpleasant symptoms so feeling light and pain-free after your next bite does not need to be a dream.
With yogic diaphragm breathing, long deep stretches and spinal twists that gently massage abdominal organs, while purge toxins away, you will find yourself feel better with improved digestion, boosted energy and calmer mind.
Here are the yoga poses and other tools for you:
1. Revolved Side Angle Stretch
This pose stimulates the abdominal organs and lungs, which improves digestion, elimination, and breathing capacity. Twisting aids in cleansing the body by stimulating blood flow through the kidneys, liver, and spleen. Use a block under your hand for additional support if needed.
2. Skull Shining Breath.
Known as Kapalabhati, this yogic cleansing breath consists of alternating short, explosive exhales and long, passive inhales. Exhales are generated by powerful contractions of the lower abdomen, which expels air out of the lungs. This technique supports lungs purification, increases the oxygen supply in your body and boosts digestion. Beyond that you will feel energized, uplifted and you will strengthen your abdomen muscles. Make sure to clear your nose before this practice.
3. Abdominal churning
Or Nauli is known in Hatha yoga for its powerful morning exercise that strengthens abdominal muscles, massages internal organs and intensely stimulates digestive fire and improves digestive health. This type of practice should only be practiced on a completely stomach, so the best time is in the early morning before breakfast. It also should be avoided during the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
4. Seated Half Spinal Twist
Also known as Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, is a seated spinal twist, that lengthens, energizes and strengthens the spine and stimulates the digestive system and metabolism. The pressure of thigh against the abdomen massages the internal organs and that stimulation promotes their healthy functioning.
5. One Leg Wind Release Pose
A beginner friendly wind-relieving pose is an excellent posture for gas related issues as its name suggests. This pose gently compresses the ascending colon on the right side and descending colon on the left, which stimulates the nerves to aid elimination. Its other benefits include internal organ massage, strengthening of the core and lower back tension release.