Updated: Mar 28
Got gut discomfort? Pull out your mat, because deep breathing and twisting poses may ease the pain and promote good gut health.
You may not know this, but there is a two-way street from your gut to the rest of your body. In fact, your gut is constantly chatting with your brain, bones, and central nervous system. So, it makes sense that having good gut health is essential to your overall health.
Your gut does so much more than just digest yesterday’s lunch. It’s the core of wellness and when you put good gut health first, you’ll notice that you’ll sleep better, feel less anxious, and of course you’ll also have a flatter stomach to show off on the beach.
Ancient wisdom and modern day studies both show that yoga promotes good gut health. Try for yourself and add a quick flow to your daily routine that focuses on breathing, strengthening, and stretching. It might sound like a lot, but all you need is fifteen minutes a day to promote a better gut environment and a feeling of overall well-being.
Increase Good Gut Bacteria with Parivrtta Trikonasana
Twisting yoga poses have long been known to accelerate the body’s waste removal process. Scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign noticed that 30-60 minutes of regular exercise was enough to alter the gut microbiota and increase the removal of waste and fat within the bodies of lean and obese adults.
According to ancient Ayurveda wisdom, twisting poses gently massage the internal organs such as the intestines, colon and kidneys to encourage toxins to be flushed out. One Medical’s Daniel Dinenberg, MD. said, “Some movements increase peristalsis - the movement of food through the intestines.” Try Parivrtta Trikonasana (revolved triangle pose) to stimulate the movement of toxins trapped in the colon.
Get Stress Relief with Uttanasana
Good gut health means less anxiety and less anxiety means good gut health. That’s because, the gut sends information to your brain about which stress hormones it should produce. In turn those hormones have been shown to alter the bacteria in your gut. For instance, the stress hormone and neurotransmitter norepinephrine is released into the bloodstream during stressful situations to increase the feeling of alertness. It has also been shown to alter the good bacteria in your gut.
Yoga supports deep breathing through the nostrils and relaxing the mind. The National Health Interview Survey showed that 85% of people believed that yoga reduces stress. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) releases tension in your shoulders and hamstrings while promoting deep exhalations for a feeling of calmness.
Build Stronger Bones with Virabhadrasana
A healthy gut means better nutrient absorption. Alternatively, inflammation in the gut can inhibit the body’s absorption of calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium, which build healthy bones. Yoga has been shown to improve our body’s ability to send nutrients to our bones by strengthen the muscles through low impact movements.
Studies at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons have shown that a 10-minute yoga routine that included the pose Virabhadrasana contributed to bone growth in the spine and hip in patients’ suffering from osteoporosis or osteopenia. Loren Fishman, an assistant clinical professor at the college, said the pose was beneficial because, “The pull of muscle on the bone is the single major factor of bone strength.”
Enjoy A Good Night’s Sleep with Balasana
It’s a nightmare for your gut if you don’t get enough sleep. A study at the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University, Sweden showed that it only took two consecutive nights of insufficient sleep (less than six hours) before healthy adults experienced a 50% reduction
in the healthy bacteria that made their gut resemble those of obese adults.
Ayurveda wisdom states that our bodies are governed by the Pitta dosha during 10pm and 2am, which focuses on restoration, removal and renewal.’ The National Health Interview Survey showed that 55% of people believed that yoga helped them have a restful night’s sleep. The resting pose Balasana (Child’s Pose) is a wide-knee pose that focuses on slow and steady breathes that can help relax your body for a restful sleep.
Improve Your Posture with Salabhasana
Slouching and poor posture can cause bloating. When you’re hunched over there’s tension in the diaphragm (a muscle that separates the abdomen from the chest).
This in turn constricts food from moving through the oesophagus, which can cause acid reflux. If your digestion is constricted from poor posture for too long and food builds up in the digestive tract, you’ll also begin to experience gas, bloating, and constipation.
Promote good gut health by perfecting your posture through yoga poses that strengthen your core and back. Salabhasana (Locust Pose) and Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) can build the muscles that support the shoulder blades. If you sit for hours at a time, you could also benefit from standing pose and deep breaths throughout the day to prevent tightness in your lower back.