Yoga asanas are most beneficial to the digestive system in a variety of ways. When one practices yoga we activate and contract specific muscle groups known as bandhas. The practice of mulabandha (the base lock) and Udiyana bandha (the abdominal lift lock) create pressure and heat against the digestive tract and abdominal organs. The pressure intern massages and creates space for these organs.
Forward bends also assist to compress the organs with greater intensity that encourages digestion and helps to reduce or eliminate constipation. The bladder floor/ prostate are toned by this also. Twists also help with the squeeze and soak effect which stimulates the organs that take part in the digestive process such as the liver. They receive revitalizing fresh oxygenated blood assisting in there function which benefits the digestive process overall.
Pranayama particularly when practiced with asana creates pressure on the diaphragm through the full breathe being taken into the lower lobes of the lungs. The pressure on the diaphragm works in opposition to the bandhas and helps the function of the pancreas, spleen and thymus all located around the diaphragm. The breathing also encourages a parasympathetic state for the nervous system which helps to relax the stomach and allows the process of elimination to occur with reduced restriction.
Nutrients are additionally easier absorbed into the lymphatic system through the increased flow of lymphatic fluid. The body is also more alkaline which is important for a healthy teeth, gums and generally the entire body and its interstitial fluids.
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