Does Yoga Improve Digestion?

Does Yoga Improve Digestion?
Yoga is a fitness that incorporates positions and breathing exercises into sequences, often including meditation. Digestion is the body’s breakdown of food and drink through mechanical and chemical processes. In general, fitness often benefits digestion because it promotes blood flow and circulation. But how about yoga specifically? Does yoga improve digestion moreso than other excises, and how?

Yoga is particularly helpful with digestion because it promotes blood flow and is a calming exercise that will not upset the digestive process. Yoga utilizes breathing exercises and meditation throughout practice and often uses a series of positions that is repeated in a sequence to create a flow of movement. Transitions to these poses are gradual and do not usually put too much stress on the body. When the body is digesting, it is breaking down food and drinks into glucose, that when not used is stored to fat. Food passes through the mouth for mechanical digestion then moves to the stomach and spends a large amount of time in the small and large intestine, where water is absorbed. This process is lengthy and can take 24 hours. For that reason, our body is constantly in some process of digestion.

Working out in the early stages of digestion is not recommended, as it often causes upset stomach. Roughly one hour after eating a very light meal, beginning a moderate workout is generally safe. In contrast to yoga, running would not be a helpful post meal work out because it is a high impact activity that and cause cramping and bloating. Athletes that train in high intensity running exercises often experience digestive disorders like nausea and diarrhea. Yoga involves less impact, less cardio vascular movement, but still incorporates blood circulation and aids in digestive processes. Yoga instructors often give their students the opportunity to choose the level of exertion or challenge throughout their poses by offering alternative poses at different levels. If a lower level is chosen, yoga can be a helpful activity after eating a light meal.

The benefits of yoga are also seen in digestion well after meals. While the body continues to break down glucose, yoga uses the glucose for energy and prevents it from being stored as fat. Yoga also focuses energy on building strength in muscles in the body. Many muscles are targeted in yoga. These muscles continue to support blood flow and aid with digestive processes throughout the day. There are specific poses that support the body’s digestion. Poses that fold the body inwards and compress the abdomen release oxygen to digestive organs. Childs pose is an example of abdominal compression. Yoga poses that incorporate twists of the abdomen can help with bloating. Seated twists help target the muscles in the stomach that are susceptible to bloating. In general, the repetitive nature of yoga movement and poses encourages blood flow and the movement of peristalsis, which moves the digestive process.

Yoga is also beneficial in relieving stress, which can be helpful for those that suffer from inflammatory bowel syndrome. Yoga assists in digestion in many ways. Those that suffer from digestive diseases would benefit from yoga, as well as those who would like to improve their digestion or incorporate moderate workouts after light meals. To get the most benefits from yoga, attending 1.5 hours twice weekly, at the same time after meals, is helpful in establishing a regular engagement of yoga for digestive processes. Toga alone can not relieve the symptoms of digestive disorders and so diet and exercise plans should also be considered when treating digestive disorders. Yoga is a great way to promote circulation, burn glucose, release oxygen and aid in digestion, making regular engagement in yoga an indispensable method of maximizing digestive benefits.