Yoga therapy | Digestive disorders

How Yoga therapy can help with digestive disorders

Yoga therapy can help with digestive disorders in several ways:

Suitable exercise for the digestive system

YogaIt is important to have a specifically designed Yoga therapy practise that will soothe a digestive disorder rather than aggravate it. For instance for irritable bowel syndrome a practise would be designed that soothed and internally massaged the digestive system in order to release internal tensions and promote healthy digestive function.

How stress affects digestion

When the body is exposed to stressful conditions a complex series of reactions occur in order to prepare the body for action. One of these reactions is to close down the digestive system so that all available energy goes to our muscles to prepare our body to 'fight or flee'. Repeated exposure to stress can manifest in prolonged digestive dysfunction.

How Yoga therapy helps with stress

Yoga can provide relief from the effects of stress by inducing a calming affect on both the body and the mind so bringing the body back to overall balance and harmony. This can be achieved through simple breathing techniques, stretches to release tight muscles and deep relaxation. Over the longer term, meditation can help to strengthen the mind against unhelpful, repetitive thought patterns that can promote the stress response.

The importance of relaxation

Deep relaxation helps to reverse the effects of stress and tension by calming both the body and the mind and restoring a state of balance. When we are active or under stress the sympathetic part of the nervous system prepares our body for action and it is relaxation that switches on the parasympathetic part of the nervous system to restore homeostasis, the bodies' state of balance. In our modern mode of living many people lose this ability to relax with a consequential loss of health.

See associated information on stress and anxiety.

The importance of the diaphragm to digestion

YogaThe diaphragm is the primary muscle of respiration and is assisted by other primary muscles, the intercostals and the abdominals. Smaller, secondary muscles act as helpers in the breathing process but are often over-used.

When we breathe making proper use of the diaphragm, we effectively massage the principle organs of digestion, namely the stomach, the small intestine, the pancreas and the liver. This natural massage helps to keep the digestive organs healthy.

A yoga therapist can easily identify when the diaphragm is not being used effectively and can provide simple exercises to encourage its use. Such exercises will also promote a calming influence on the body and the mind, further promoting digestive function.

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