Yoga for Digestive Health: Detoxifying the Body, Mind, and Soul

 yoga digestive health

by Holly Walck Kostura, certified Iyengar Yoga teacher

The sun is shining brighter and longer each day now, which always inspires me to go deeper into the cleaning of my home—probably because I can actually see the dust bunnies now. Your body lives in the physical structure called “home,” and it thrives when living in a peaceful, clear environment. The practice of yoga uses postures, breathing, and meditation to create that same benevolent environment for your body, the house for your soul.

In this sequence, we’ll be strengthening the digestive system using abdominal postures, twists, and inversions.

Each family of poses has its own special effects:

  • Abdominal postures alleviate gastric problems and stimulate a sluggish digestive system.
  • Inversions take the pressure off the stomach, liver, kidneys, and intestines; alleviate constipation; reduce hemorrhoids; and purify the mind.
  • Twists decontaminate the organic body (kidneys, liver, lungs) by wringing and rinsing then out.

In his book The Tree of Yoga, Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar says that if you are holding your breath, you are creating stiffness—mentally and physically.

Set yourself up for a successful practice that cultivates a quiet, receptive mind by beginning this way:

  • Sit quietly for a few minutes with your spine well lifted and your chest open.
  • Close your eyes and listen to the sound of your breath.
  • Notice the quality as well as the quantity of your inhalations and exhalations.
  • Adjust them so they are smooth, soft, and even.

Yoga for Digestive Health

  • Plough Pose into Intense Stretch of the West Pose (Halasana/Paschimottanasana)
  • Gate Pose (Parighasana)
  • Revolved Triangle with Cow-Face Pose Arms (Parivritta Trikonasana with Gomukhasana Arms)
  • Revolved Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Parivritta Supta Padangusthasana)
  • Revolved Stomach Pose (Jathara Parivartanasana)
  • Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) on a Brick
  • Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) with Bent Knees at Wall into Supported Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
  • Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Pose Videos:

Plough Pose into Intense Stretch of the West Pose (Halasana/Paschimottanasana)

Gate Pose (Parighasana)

Revolved Triangle with Cow-Face Pose Arms (Parivritta Trikonasana with Gomukhasana Arms)

Revolved Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Parivritta Supta Padangusthasana)

Revolved Stomach Pose (Jathara Parivartanasana)

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) on a Brick

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) with Bent Knees at Wall into Supported Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)

Always take some time for a deep Corpse Pose (Savasana). Try the one at the end of this video:

I wish you good health and abiding happiness,

Holly

HollyHolly Walck Kostura uses the healing practices of Ayurveda and Iyengar Yoga to secure her to the core of her being. Combining her bachelor’s degree in nursing with her certification in Iyengar Yoga gives her the ability to approach her students from a place of wholeness and infuse her yoga classes with a unique flavor. Find her online at yogawithholly.com.

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