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Here Are 3 Recommended Actions to Take If You Experience Digestive Problems

Practicing yoga can benefit various aspects of our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, including digestion. Yoga has been shown to alleviate stress, which in turn helps to regulate the connection between the gut and brain. Recent studies even suggest that yoga could serve as a therapeutic approach for managing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

During the festive season, many people enjoy indulging in celebrations and then seek yoga practices to counteract the effects. While bloat-relieving poses are commonly shared, it’s essential to remember that poses are just one component of the comprehensive practice of yoga. To fully engage with yoga, one must embrace its holistic approach, focusing on aspects like proper concentration and breath while moving through each sequence.

Yoga instructor Sara Sas,RYT, L.Ac., who is also a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, combines acupressure techniques with yoga poses to address digestive issues effectively. By integrating these two practices, she enhances relief and support for digestive health. Below, she recommends three beneficial moves to aid digestion.

1. Wind-Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana)

  1. Lie on your back, inhale deeply, and extend both legs straight out. Exhale as you bring your knees towards your chest, using both arms to connect your thighs with your stomach/chest.
  2. Take several deep breaths in this posture to allow your body to relax and release tension.
  3. While holding this pose, locate and massage the acupressure point (details below) for about a minute, maintaining deep and mindful breathing.

Acupressure point: Stomach 36

Location: Position your hand just below the opposite knee, aligning the side of your index finger with the base of your kneecap. The acupressure point supporting digestion can be found near the tip of your pinky on the outside of your tibia.

Why this technique is effective:

According to Sas, Pawanmuktasana effectively relieves gas and bloating by helping to release trapped air in the digestive system. By combining this pose with acupressure at the abdominal command point in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the stomach and spleen are supported for improved digestion, intestinal regulation, and gas expulsion.

2. Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)

  1. Start with feet wider than hip-width apart, toes turned outward as you sink into a squat position. Focus on maintaining core engagement and an upright spine with relaxed shoulders.
  2. Rise onto the balls of your feet, then lower your heels back down while shifting weight to the back of your feet.
  3. Hinge at the waist to reach under your toes, stimulating certain pressure points (refer to details below). Repeat this movement while staying mindful of the acupressure point.
  4. Repeat the sequence, ending with both feet flat on the ground.

Acupressure point: Kidney 1

Location: As described by Sas, locate this point at the center of the sole of your foot near the bottom of your metatarsals.

Why this technique is effective:

Goddess pose generates internal warmth and boosts circulation, aiding digestion. Incorporating acupressure at the Kidney 1 point can help center your energy and provide a sense of support and strength, promoting improved digestion by fostering a grounded and balanced state.

3. Easy Seated Twist (Parivrtta Sukhasana)

  1. Sit cross-legged with a straight spine, extending upwards. Place your left hand on the right knee.
  2. Maintain spine integrity as you twist to the right, positioning your right hand behind you near the hip. Keep the twist controlled to preserve your posture.
  3. Look over your right shoulder and deepen your breath within the twist.
  4. While in position, find and massage the acupuncture point using your left hand (refer to location instructions).
  5. Switch your cross-legged stance and repeat the process on the other side, focusing on deep breathing throughout.

Acupressure point: Spleen 21

Location: Known as ‘The Great Embrace’, this point is situated on the side of the ribcage. Stimulating this point aids in promoting better digestion, particularly around the diaphragm region.

Why this technique is effective:

Twisting poses, like the easy seated twist, are beneficial for supporting digestive health by stimulating the digestive organs. This particular pose targets the ascending and descending colon, aiding in the movement of waste through the system. Combining acupressure at Spleen 21 further enhances digestion by encouraging efficient energy flow and blood circulation.

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