The holidays are a time for giving, receiving and showing your affections for the ones you love, but it's also a time when people tend to eat more and sway toward high-carb, high-fat foods. As people take their seats at the dinner table, they may not be thinking about their intestinal health, but working now to keep your digestive organs at optimal function can mean not only greater wellness in the long-term but also a more enjoyable holiday season. Read on to learn how yoga poses can promote gut health, and try Dahn Yoga's intestinal exercises.
How Does Yoga Aid Digestion?
Like the muscles in your back, legs and other bodily surfaces, the internal organs can benefit greatly from massage. Fortunately, yoga poses have the capacity to massage, stretch and tone the small intestine – the focal point of the digestive system. Ideally, the small intestine works with the liver, salivary glands, tongue, teeth and other parts to help you ingest food continuously throughout the day, absorb the essential nutrients and expel waste. However, sometimes the system becomes blocked, causing common yet chronic digestive complaints.
The twisting, bending and stretching motions of yoga poses help to loosen matter blocking or stuck in the small intestine. It can also help firm and enhance flexibility in this internal organ, thereby strengthening it and its ability to aid in the digestive process. Additionally, yoga poses improve blood and energy flow through the organs, which further enhance digestion.
Dahn Yoga Intestinal Exercises
One of the important components of Dahn Yoga classes is the practice of intestinal exercises. These techniques essentially strengthen the core – the abdominal and back muscles as well as those around the pelvis. But it also enhances another aspect of the core that many people tend to neglect: the internal organs of the lower abdomen. As experienced yogi Chungsuk Lee explained to Dahn Yoga in a May 2014 interview, it's not possible to exercise the organs directly, but these intestinal exercises provide an indirect solution.
"We do something different," Lee explained. "Instead of trying to move the intestines directly, you move your abdominal muscles. When the abdominal muscles move, the intestines follow. That is why we call it 'Intestine Exercises.'"
To conduct Dahn Yoga exercises for the intestines, follow these steps:
- In a standing position, place your hands on your lower abdomen.
- Push your abdomen outward, taking notice of the light pressure.
- Pull the abdomen back inward toward your spine.
- Repeat this pushing and pulling motion at least 100 times.
- Afterward, rub your hands clockwise on your abdomen.
Keep in mind that it's important to practice these exercises at a speed and intensity that's comfortable for you. Don't try to accelerate the speed of the motions to get done more quickly, and stop if you feel cramping or pain.
Have you ever tried Dahn Yoga's intestinal exercises? Do you think your family members may benefit from these techniques during the holidays?