Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yoga for Better Digestion

While the tail end of the year is considered Holiday Season with Thanksgiving, Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza etc., it is a time when many people enjoy lavish meals.  Lately, I have been getting so many emails from my students who want to know How Yoga can help Digestion Problems.  The first thing each of us should examine is our food consumption because this is the initial cause of digestive problems. 

With many leading Western Doctors like Dr. Max Gerson (creator of Gerson Theraphy Treatment), Dr Fuhrman (author of Eat to Live), Dr. William Davis (author of Wheat Belly) stirring controversy by advocating the "Food is Medicine Theory", it is unanimous that dietary adjustments can lead to improved health and disease prevention.  Dr. Gerson's Treatment has helped many people cure and eliminate cancer and various other diseases with specific juicing and dietary changes.  Dr. Fuhrman has helped patients lose weight, lose psoriosis, lower blood sugar, lower blood pressure, lose migraines, and increase energy and encourages patients to use food as medicine.  Dr. Davis believes cutting out all wheat products will result in better health, weight loss, and disease prevention due to the GMO wheat that contains a protein complex that leaves people hungry and with increased insulin.  All three doctors have had incredible success stories, and only spark controversy in the Western World because of promoting food rather than pharmacy.

In the ancient practice of yoga, the sister science of Ayurveda examines the individuals unique constitution and first offers dietary adjustments for improved health.  This concept of consuming foods that improve your digestion like Vegetables, Roots, Legumes, Fruits, Seeds etc has been around for centuries.  Therefore, this new found research has ancient years of Ayurveda study to back it up.

Is it easy to adjust your diet?  Ultimately it is up to the individual.  Obesity, Disease and Dimentia was not as rampant decades ago, and if we analyze the food intake there is direct correlation.  Some will say that we all die anyways, but dietary changes is not for death prevention but rather for overall health & quality of life improvement.  These dietary changes provide the superficial benefits of a sexy body, glowing youthful skin, but also have proven to lead to reduction and prevention of today's leading diseases.

With regard to Yoga Asana, the best poses to help digestion are twists.  Often times twists are the yoga poses that help to "ring out the internal organs" and help the detoxification process.  One Beautiful Yoga Asana that is wonderful for digestion is Revolved Triangle Pose (Parvritta Trikonasana). 

Revolved Triangle Pose (Parvritta Trikonasana) with Ulrike and Ambria giving the Adjustment in Kerala, India.

Start your twist on the right side first. 
  1. Step or jump out to the right on your yoga mat.  With 3 feet distance between your feet.
  2. Point your right toes to the back of your mat, and angle your left foot 45 degrees.
  3. Keep both points of your hips pointing to the parallel side of your mat
  4. Turn to your back foot, right hand on hip and left hand high to the sky
  5. Root down in your back foot with a slight lift of the inner arch & engage * uddiyana bandah.
  6. Inhale, and as you exhale hinge forward at the waist with your left hand reaching down
  7. Depending on range of motion (beginner to advance) allow your left hand to float to the outside of your shin on a block, or flat on the floor on the outside of your foot.
  8. Inhale and continue to lengthen through the crown of the head, keeping the spine long.
  9. Exhale and extend the right hand up to the sky with the gaze on the right hand.
  10. Every inhalation lengthen, every exhalation twist a little deeper, allow breath to initiate movement.  Breathe comfortably. Lift the Corners of your lips (SMILE).
  11. To exit the pose, exhale and gaze to your foot, inhale and slowly rise up extending both arms out to the side, exhale hands to the hips.
  12. Step to the front of your mat and repeat on the other side.