Digestion Improving Exercises and Yoga Poses
The Holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but many of us also find ourselves guilty of over eat during this time of year! Many of us take a few days off from work to spend with our families, which often translates into us consuming much more food than our bodies are used to! Secondly, the types of foods that we consume during the Holidays are not always the healthiest, and can often cause indigestion or make us feel bloated. So to help, our kinesiologists have put together a list of exercises that you can do to help to improve your digestion, and prevent bloating.
Anything that will get your blood circulating will help contribute to efficient digestions. Lack of adequate circulation means nutrients will not be absorbed effectively in the bloodstream. This means that no matter how well you eat or even how food the combination of foods are, if there is no medium transport, digestion degrades.
1. Pelvic Tilt
Lie down on the floor and tilt the pelvis forward creating a space between the floor and the small of the back, then return the pelvis to the starting position by closing the same space. Allows blood to flow through the digestive tract allowing new blood to enter the digestive system.
2. Abdominal Hollow
Lying on the floor, draw in your abdominal muscles towards the navel and then release. Lifts diaphragm to take pressure off stomach and liver creating space for air to flow through the belly. Because the pose requires you to engage your core and lower back to maintain support, pressure is being placed on the abdomen to aid in digestion.
This exercise helps target abdominal muscles, and with practice deep tissues are activated, which helps to encourage adequate digestion.
The stretches involved in certain poses will target abdominal muscles, as well as organs which contribute to effective digestion.
1. Triangle pose
Bend knees and step (or jump) feet leg-length apart, placing right foot at 90 degrees and left foot is slightly turned in (heel to arch alignment). Inhale to extend arms out to the side reaching right hand over right leg. Bring your right hand down to the floor. Stack left shoulder on top of right. Lift left arm straight up and look up. Hold for 5 to 7 breaths. Switch and do the opposite side. The Side bending opens up the obliques, and the twisting motion tones and energizes abdominal organs, especially the intestinal tract and liver.
2. Downward-facing dog
Begin on all fours. Inhale and tuck toes under your heels. Lift your hips upwards coming to an inverted V shape. Spread fingers and allow your heels to lower as closely to the ground as possible. Let your head rest between your arms and hold for 5 to 7 breaths (or as comfortable). This pose creates space in the torso for digestion to occur. Since this is a full-body stretch and your torso is pulled in, downward-facing dog can help you become more aware of your digestive system and relieve any built up stress.
Please remember to not perform any of these exercises immediately after eating. We recommend to perform these exercises and poses at least one hour before or after consuming food.
Sources: 1. http://www.chatelaine.com/health/wellness/yoga-poses-to-improve-digestion/