Digestive Complaints and IBS

A yoga practice combined with diet and lifestyle changes can strengthen and harmonize digestion and elimination to heal or reduce many GI complaints. Yoga is such an effective therapy for digestive complaints due to its ability to shut down the sympathetic nervous system and activate the parasympathetic nervous system to nourish and activate digestion and elimination. Yoga also has a regulating effect on the enteric nervous system which independently functions to digest, move and eliminate our food.

The most common digestive disorder is irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) effecting 30 percent of the world’s population. Yoga’s general ability to regulate and balance the digestive system is helpful for IBS and all digestive complaints, but yoga can also be used to address specific symptoms.

Yoga Postures
Use our strengthening digesion sequence as a general practice and adding or emphasizing from the following groups of poses:
Abdominal Cramps
Constipation
Diarrhea
Excessive Gas
Stomachache and Indigestion

Pranayama
With symptoms of diarrhea, bloating and gas practice Ujjayi pranayama. If this is a chronic condition practice Kapalabhati pranayama during times when there are no sysmptoms. If there are symptoms of constipation, acid reflux, and burning Sit Cari and Shitali Pranayamas can be practiced. If IBS or digestive symptoms become aggravated with stress, then use the calming practices of Dirga and Nadi Sodhana pranayamas.

Meditation
Meditation reduces stress, calms the mind and activates the body’s natural healing abilities. Use one of the following by itself and/or at the beginning and end of your yoga practice: Yoga Meditation, Root Chakra Meditation, Prana Healing Meditation.

Articles
Yoga Rx for Digestive Complaints
Gut Feelings
Yoga for IBS and Digestive Health

Books and Videos
Yoga as Medicine
Yoga Therapy
Yoga for Wellness
Yoga RX
Yoga: the Path to Holistic Health

Web Resources
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Health Center
NDDIC – Irritable bowel syndrome

Remember to always speak with a physician before beginning any type of physical exercise. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience bleeding, fever, weight loss, and/or persistent severe pain. If nausea or acid reflux is present avoid inversions and postures that compress the abdomen.

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