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Digestive System

An improved health is only one of the benefits that Yoga gives to those who practice it regularly for the improvement of your Digestive Health.

Background on the Nutrient Cycle

The body is the temple of the spirit, and we should take care of it as such. Ultimately, the health of your body depends on the health of its living cells, the building blocks of the tissues and organs whose diverse functions are vital to our well-being. Cells and tissues need a proper environment for health - free of toxins, rich in the necessary supplies of nutrients, and with an efficient communication system.

The urgent need of every cell is to obtain oxygen to fuel its works, and to get rid of waste carbon dioxide quickly. Healthy lungs and heart are the first essential for the cells to obtain the right nutrients. By eating the right food for you, at correct times of a day, you will have a healthy digestion, and the blood will absorb and excrete waste products thoroughly. The micro-circulation around the cells is the body's foundation of health and vitality.

Yoga and the Nutrient Cycle

When you press an area of the skin, it turns first paler, as the blood is pushed away and then red as it rushes back. This is how yoga asanas or postures work on your tissues, like a hand slowly and gently squeezing a sponge to remove all the stale, waste-bearing fluids, and then stretching the tissue to allow new life-giving nutrients and energy to circulate into the cells. Breathing deeply as you hold the asanas sends more oxygen to the cells, and removes carbon-dioxide. Increased venous return stimulates the heart to contract more firmly in response. The asanas also massage the vital organs, and stimulate the digestive muscles to increase their peristalsis.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The most common gastro-intestinal disorder is the Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS which affects about 30 percent of world population. This generally affects the large intestine and is characterized by cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. IBS is a functional disorder wherein the nerves and muscles in the large intestine (bowel) become extra-sensitive. This may either cause cramping and diarrhea during or shortly after meal, or cramping and when the bowel is stretched. Researches also show that women suffer more from IBS during their menstrual periods, creating a link between IBS and reproductive hormones.

Though IBS does not really cause any damage to internal organs, it causes great deal of suffering and anxiety. Stress is one of the factors that trigger IBS symptoms. Food, exercise, and hormones may also trigger IBS symptoms. Foods like milk products, chocolate, caffeine, carbonated drinks, alcohol, and food with high fat content can also trigger symptoms. Treatment for IBS includes diet changes, stress relief and medicine.

Right Balance

The body is being used everyday. Whatever work, may be it office work, sports, or just simply being at home, the body only rests when it is night time. Because of that, people tend to be conscious of their health so as to continue with their regular activity. The systems of the body should be well taken care of because they are the ones who help us survive.

Practicing Yoga has a lot of benefits for maintaining the right balance for our health. For the spirituality, it is a stepping stone for self – realization. For our mentality, it enhances concentration, determination and memory. Physically, it makes the body more flexible and able to adjust in changing environments.

Studies show that practicing Yoga helps in normalizing blood pressure. Since the movements have their full range of motion, it stretches the muscles and joints and may encourage strength and endurance. It also reduces stress, relieves pain, and increases the feeling of calmness and well-being.

Having a sound mind and body is essential in our everyday life. If you want to stay happy, healthy and strong, practicing Yoga is highly recommended.

Heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Another common Digestive Ailment is the Heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) which means acid indigestion. This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not close properly and the stomach contents reflux or return into the esophagus. This may create a burning sensation in the chest or throat when the refluxed stomach acid touches the lining of the esophagus. The burning sensation is the one called Heartburn. Occasional Heartburn does not necessarily mean that one has GERD, but Heartburns that occurs more than twice a week may be considered as GERD and may lead to more serious health problems.

Anyone can have GERD, including children and infants. Heartburn and acid regurgitation are the most common symptoms of GERD, though some people may have GERD without the Heartburn. They experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning or trouble swallowing instead. Bad breath and dry cough may also be a result of GERD.

Factors that may contribute to GERD include alcohol use, Obesity, Pregnancy, and smoking. Some food like citrus fruits, chocolate, caffeinated drinks, fatty and fried foods, garlic, onions, mint flavorings, and spicy and tomato based foods may also contribute to GERD. Like IBS, GERD dealt with lifestyle change, change in diet and the use of antacids.

Yoga, the combination of the Asanas or Yoga Postures and following the Yoga Lifestyle, is proven to be great help in coping with IBS and GERD. Yoga makes you feel relaxed, reduce anxiety and help you cope with stress. It also stabilizes digestion, reduces stress and Anxiety, and minimizes or completely eliminates Menstrual Cramps which usually aggravate IBS. Yoga also helps you gain control over you health and well-being, however, you should always bear in mind that Yoga is not the sole treatment for any ailment. Always seek your physician's advice before you begin any exercise.