You must have heard myriad times that bad digestion is the root of all evil. That is why it is important to keep your digestive system running. The other name for ‘Digestive Fire’, is ‘Digestive Agni’. Agni is what keeps all the body functions in progress. If the digestive fire is not powerful you will suffer from several diseases. However, Yoga and Ayurveda can give a boost to your Digestive Agni’. But before we venture to learn the poses, you must understand the digestive system.
The Digestive System
You can break the digestive system into three main parts. The first stage of digestion takes place in the stomach, which is followed by the small intestine, and then the colon. The main digestive juices are secreted inside the stomach. The nutrient absorption takes place inside the small intestine. The water absorption and elimination are aided by the colon.
So, you might think that the process is very complicated. However, in reality, it is not. In the first one hour, the food remains as it is inside the stomach. However, after one hour all the churning starts. The stomach secretes enzymes and hydrochloric acids, that aid the digestion process. The digestive process needs huge energy reserves. That is why, you should take some rest and perform hardcore exercises, just after that. Stress also shuts down the system, so you should try to abstain from it.
The stomach converts the food into chyme. The small intestine performs peristalsis and aids in the passage of the broken-down particles. If you perform some forward bending postures, in this state, your digestive system gets a rush of blood and the processing speeds up. You will be amazed to know, that the small intestine absorbs at least 90% of the nutrients from the food. In the preceding stages, the chyme enters the colon, where the balance water is absorbed. After the colon absorbs the water, the mass of broken-down food particles becomes denser and drier. This takes about ten hours. The stool that is formed, gets stored in the Sigmoid colon until you defecate. Now, that you have gone through the process, it is time to unearth Yoga’s benefits on this process.
How Can Yoga Increase Your Digestive Power?
If you have ever practiced basic yoga poses, you must be well-associated with the term ‘asana’. Asanas help in the elimination of waste material from the body. It does so, by increasing peristaltic activity. Some of the asanas exert pressure on the abdominal muscles, and leads to alternate expansion and contraction, and also improves the flow of blood and oxygen. If you practice headstand postures it can further aid the process. It also reduces gas build-up. You may be a bit surprised to know, that there is a strong connection between the gut and the brain. Yoga can relax your brain, and lead to proper digestion.
Yoga stimulates the ‘Digestive Agni’. It leads to an increase in hunger and metabolic activity as well. If you practice asanas on a continuous basis, the body can also get rid of fats. Yoga helps to flush out the toxins and detoxifies the body. Therefore, you should practice yoga to cure all digestion-related issues. Now, let us find out which poses benefit the ‘Agni’ the most.
Yoga Poses for Better Digestion
- Naukasana – is one of the best asanas for digestion. The word ‘Nauka’ means ‘boat’. You can overcome various physical problems, by practicing this asana. It also helps to strengthen the lungs, liver, and pancreas. In this asana, your body will take on the shape of a boat. The blood flow towards the abdomen also increases. If you want to reduce belly fat and improve your ‘Digestive Agni’, this is what you should do.
- Paschimottasana – is the second asana that we are going to talk about today. It means, intense stretch. You may also hear the term seater forward bend associated with the asana. Moreover, you can also lose weight through this asana. It is also known to control high blood pressure and blood sugar. If you refer to Hatha Yoga Pradipika, which is one of the most revered texts on Hatha Yoga, you will find its mention. It has the ability to stimulate your digestive fire. When you perform the forward bend asana, you are actually massaging the intestines and other abdominal organs. It can also help to clear out your bowels and also relieves bloating.
- Ustrasana – Is also called Camel pose, as your body will resemble a camel’s. It is a back- bending posture, which is known to open the heart chakra. Additionally, it improves digestion by stretching the body. Sluggish digestion can lead to various ailments like acne and also weight gain. You may also suffer from gastric issues and flatulence because of the same. To do this asana, you have to first sit in Vajrasana and ultimately you have to bend your body back and hold your ankles. You will experience a great stretch in your abdomen area. You can increase your ‘Digestive Agni’ with the help of Ustrasana.
- Pavanmuktasana – If you have problems with bowel movement every morning, something is surely wrong with your digestive fire. Doing yoga can affect the digestion process in more than one way. It enhances your mood, which leads to better functioning. Additionally, the postures help in stretching and also massage the internal organs. If your digestive fire is not strong, it can lead to various stomach ailments like gastric trouble, acid reflux, constipation, and IBS. So, you should practice the Pavanmuktasana. In this pose, you simply lie down and bring your legs towards your abdomen and fold them. Subsequently, you need to hold the legs close to your chest and abdomen with both hands. This pose creates pressure on the abdomen and helps to release gas.
- Ardha Matsyendra – This is a seated twisting posture, which has a huge effect on the abdomen area. It also stimulates the nerves. You have to sit with your legs stretched in front of you, in this asana. Then take the right leg over the left one, and place the left hand over the right one. Keep the right hand behind you. You have to twist the waist, shoulders and neck while keeping the spine straight. You can hold this position and then repeat it on the other side. The entire body including digestive organs benefits from this asana. The metabolism also improves to a huge extent. You can also call it the seated half-spinal twist.
These are a few yoga asanas through which you can increase and improve your digestive fire.