Most of us practice yoga on a weekly basis. But what’s so really, truly great about it? Is it the added flexibility? The new-found strength? Or the ability to find more balance, even off the mat, in daily life? These might all be great (superficial) layers of your acquaintance with a yoga asana practice. Yet, once you go deeper and unfold your relationship with your practice, you will find that a committed routine will aid your mind, as well as move your digestion!
In a world that is stuffed: with work, needs/wants, social media, constant availability, stress, food, general consumption, and over-stimulation, we tend to find ourselves more and more constipated. We are always busy and full, or running on empty and exhausted. We are basically substituting nutrition with stress, and ending up with an irregular digestive system. Under stress, our digestion either works too much or too little. In both cases, the big boss, the mediator—our brain—is overworked. The pressure is constant.
From my own experience, a solution to the constant pressure, stress, and constipation is yoga. Cultivating a form of healthy living is an indispensable way of acquiring healthy digestion. It's not only what we put through our mouths, but through all of our senses. The music and conversation we listen to, the TV and movies of daily living we filter through our eyes. It all goes into our tissues. The gossip we talk about or the uncomfortable working (and sometimes living) environments we put ourselves into. All of our actions affect our senses and that, in return, has an effect on our insides, our nervous system, our blood—and you know it’s coming: our digestive system.
When we focus in on the nutrition and digestion of food—and I am talking about real food, not made-up food, not liquid food—food that one actually has to prepare, chew, and digest. Food YOU process—similar to when you learn a yoga posture—that kind of food is so important for our digestion. Add that to your weekly yoga asana class (you might also be doing something in addition to yoga, like CrossFit or swimming). Your guts will thank you for it. Simple. There is no big BUT. Keep it simple, old school; eat healthy foods, sleep well, and do yoga. All in moderation and none in excess, simply forget the controlling aspect of it. Let it go.
Your weekly yoga class may soon follow you around during the rest of the week. The way you sit in your chair, breathe through stress, and the way you eat your food. We ought to give ourselves permission to rest, to stay still, and to digest—to process. And that permission to be at the end, will enable us to let go.
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