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YOGA POSES TO BOOST THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

December 10th, 2015 | Fitness, Lifestyle

by Emma Scott, Personal Trainer at Grace Gym.

One of the purposes of ‘asana’- the physical practise of yoga, is to activate and balance the seven energy centres within the body being our primary chakras. Each of these seven chakras relates to a major nerve ganglia branching from the spinal column. These chakras can be healthy or unhealthy and are usually described as being open, closed, blocked or out of balance. Each of these chakras can be read, healed, cleaned of injury and brought into conscious awareness.

In order to use yoga to boost our digestive system, we need to concentrate on our Manipura Chakra located at the naval. This chakra regulates the function of the pancreas and digestive organs.

Top 5 yoga asana to boost the digestive system:

  1. Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog
    Come onto the floor and move onto your hands and knees. Knees below your hips, hands underneath your shoulders.
    Spread your palms wide into the mat and tuck your toes underneath.
    Inhale, exhale and then lift your knees off the mat and send your pelvis up towards the ceiling. From the inner ankles draw your leg muscles up towards the hips.
    If your hamstrings are tight keep the knees soft and heels off the floor, otherwise push the top of your thighs back and ground the heels down into the mat.
    Draw your shoulder blades down towards your sacrum.
    Externally rotate the upper arms and press your hands down into the mat keeping them grounded.
    Weight should be evenly distributed between the hands and the feet.
    Look towards your naval but keep the head engaged and in between the upper arms.
    Hold for 5 breaths.
  2. Parivritta Trikonasana – Revolved Triangle Pose
    From Mountain Pose, step your right foot to the back of of the mat, turn your left foot to face the back of the mat, tuck your tailbone underneath you and lengthen spine to the crown of the head.
    Inhale and raise your arms to shoulder height, opening the chest.
    As you exhale, begin to twist from the waist and bring the palm of your left hand down to a block or the floor.
    Once you are grounded, lift the right hand up to the ceiling, extending through the fingertips with the right palm facing out. If that is not available to you, rest the right arm onto the base of the spine.
    Turn the head and gaze up towards the right elbow or palm.
    Make sure the weight is evenly distributed between both feet.
    Draw the abdominal muscles in towards your spine.
    Hold for 5 breaths.
    Return to Mountain Pose and repeat on the other side taking the left foot to the front of the mat.
  3. Parivritta Utkatasana – Revolved Chair Pose
    Begin in Mountain Pose, feet together.
    Inhale and raise the arms above your head.
    Exhale and bend your knees bringing the thighs parallel to the floor, knees slightly over the feet, torso at a right angle over the thighs.
    Lower your arms and bring hands together into prayer position at hearts centre.
    Inhale, exhale and slowly twist the torso over towards the right thigh bringing the left elbow to the outside of your right thigh.
    Shift your left hip back to square the hips and bring your knees back into alignment.
    Press the upper left arm into your thigh and draw the right shoulder blade back to open the chest to the right.
    Keep your weight in you heels.
    Hold for 5 breaths.
    Inhale and twist the body back to centre.
    Exhale, release the arms and return to Mountain Pose.
    Repeat on the left.
  4. Marichyasana C – Sage Pose Variation
    Sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose) by fleshing the sit bones, legs and feet together. Toes flexed back towards the shins palms pressing into the floor by your hips.
    Bend your right knee, place your right foot close to the sitting bones right beside your left thigh. Place your right hand behind you on the mat.
    Inhale and raise the left arm up.
    Exhale, twist to the right, place the left elbow outside the right knee palm flexed. Look over your right shoulder.
    Hold for 5 breaths.
    Inhale, release the left hand and return to centre.
    Exhale, Dandasana.
    Repeat on the left.
  5. Janu Sirsasana A – Head Beyond The Knee Pose
    From Dandasana, bend the right knee and bring towards sitting bones.
    Open the knee to the right placing it onto the mat. The sole of the right foot should be resting against the left thigh.
    Inhale and raise the arms up.
    Exhale, fold over towards your left leg holding either side of the foot. Imagine you are sending your chin towards your left big toe.
    Inhale, half lift open the chest, draw shoulder blades away from the ears.
    Exhale fold over your knee.
    Hold for five breaths.
    Inhale, raise the arms up.
    Exhale, Dandasana.
    Repeat on the left.

Always make sure your body is warm before doing these asanas. Warm up with some mobility work and 5 sun salutations. If you are pregnant or suffer from low blood pressure please do not twist.

For more information come and try Chakra Yoga with Grace’s personal trainer and yoga specialist Emma Scott on Sundays at 4pm at Grace Gym. Book online or call +44 (0)207 235 8900.