By Seema Deshpande
What is the connection between indigestion and yoga? Indigestion or lack of sufficient digestion has become a common problem these days. Our fast-paced lives, faulty eating habits, love for junk food, taking meals at irregular times, and not chewing food adequately are some of the common causes of this problem. Apart from these common triggers, stress has also been a contributing factor. Other serious illnesses can also lead to indigestion, and indigestion in itself can be a cause of various ailments. Therefore, it is very important to treat indigestion. If left untreated, chronic indigestion can lead to several complications and can cause more serious health issues.
While the traditional route of medicines is available to treat most disorders, long term use of medicines often leads to various side effects. In this research article, we will study whether yoga practices can help aid digestion or strengthen the digestive system. Yoga not only benefits the mind and body, but it also helps to connect the mind to the body. A healthy mind and a healthy body can help you lead a healthier life.
A research article published in 2014 in the International Journal of Science and Research states that various yoga postures help in improving the bowel movements, and also improve the digestive function. Furthermore, yoga promotes emotional and psychological well-being, which can help reduce stress—a key contributing factor to various stomach and other health disorders.
Another research study published in 2006 in the Journal of the Canadian Pain Society studied the impact of yoga on adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a recurrent condition in which the patient suffers from abdominal pain accompanied with diarrhoea, gas, and bloating. The results of research study revealed that adolescents with IBS who participated in the research and practised yoga reported lower scores for gastrointestinal symptoms. The participants practised Hatha yoga exercises such as:
- Adhomukha Baddhakasana or the Seated Bound Ankle pose
- Balasana or the Child pose
- Baddha Konasana or the Bound Ankle pose
- Tadasana or the Mountain pose
- Tadasana with stretched arms and side bends
- Uttanasana or the Standing Forward Bend pose
- Pavanmuktasana (Holding knee to the chest)
- Badasana or the Bridge pose
The Indian yoga guru, Swami Ramdev, recommends practising pranayama (breathing exercises) to not only eradicate most stomach disorders, but also prevent them. According to Swami Ramdev, Prayanama, specifically the Kapalbhati pranayama, strengthens the digestive system and helps to keep almost all stomach-related disorders at bay. And the good thing about pranayama, among other things, is that it can be practised by anybody regardless of their age or physical stamina. Pranayama is generally considered to be the safest yoga exercise for people belonging to any age group.
The therapeutic aspects of yoga in healing or preventing stomach disorders are being widely researched, and research studies have started to reveal positive aspects of yoga in treating stomach disorders. As a good practice, we recommend you to include yoga as a part of your daily activities. However, when considering yoga to treat any disorder, be it stomach disorder or any other health problem, be sure to consult with your doctor before proceeding with yoga. Discuss your ailment and symptoms thoroughly with your doctor. If the doctor permits you to undertake yoga activities, ensure to see a qualified yoga teacher and learn and practise yoga only under the guidance of trained and qualified yoga instructors.
Kuttner, Leora, et al. “A randomized trial of yoga for adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome.” Pain Research & Management: The Journal of the Canadian Pain Society 11.4 (2006): 217.
Kumar, Ravinder. “Care and Cure: Power of Yoga.” International Journal of Science and Research, Volume 3, Issue 2 (2014).
© Copyright 2015 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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