Let’s break down the basics and see why yoga is great for digestion.
Digestion is the process of extracting nutrients from food and preparing what is left over for elimination. This is done through absorption, assimilation, and elimination. When our digestion is rockin’, we go to the bathroom once or twice a day, feel good after eating, and our energy is level. When our digestion goes sour, we may experience poor bowel habits, feel better when we don’t eat, and often have trouble sleeping or wake up feeling tired and run down. A healthy, thriving digestive system depends on our ability to move through these three steps with ease.
What does it mean to assimilate, absorb and eliminate? Let me break it down for you.
Absorption: The process by which one absorbs or takes like a sponge or soaking up water. When your food crosses over from the threshold of the outside world (leaving the stomach in the form of chyme) and enters the intestines, it is absorbed in the body and bloodstream.
Assimilation: To assimilate means to take in information, or in this case food, and understand it fully. In the case of digestion, nutrients from the foods we eat are assimilated into our body, becoming one with our entire system.
Elimination: To let go and get rid of unwanted matter. Literally, getting rid of waste.
In relation to food and nutrition, this stuff is a no brainer! When you eat, your food gets broken down and is then absorbed into the body through the intestines, where nutrients are assimilated into the blood stream. The rest is eliminated as waste when you go the bathroom.
Yoga postures help to keep the digestive organs functioning.
Just like stretching your muscles, long deep side stretches help to lengthen and stretch the large intestines. Core strengthening helps to tone the digestive system. Forward folds, when done with proper breathing, act as a massage on the abdomen and digestive tract. Combined, these movements keep the digestive system healthy and full of fresh oxygen and blood, creating a happy, healthy gut, and allowing the digestive tract to function as it should. Assimilate, absorb and eliminate away!
Try this simple five minute yoga practice to get your digestion moving in the right direction.
There are lots of great moves to help your digestion, but here are my some of my favorites. Better yet, you can do them every day!
What are you favorite side stretches? Do you already include these exercises in to your routine? Share your experiences in the comments below and let’s get moving together!