During the summer months it can be hard to stay well hydrated. The body is constantly perspiring to regulate your body temperature, and even if you are drinking plenty of water you can still end up feeling a bit dehydrated. The recommended amount of water per day varies – depending on how much exercise you do, and if you have eaten enough fruit and veg. In general aim for a minimum of 2 litres per day, which is about 8 glasses of water.
THE EFFECT OF STRESS
Stress can also be the root cause of constipation. When the body goes into fight or flight mode all the blood rushes from the organs to our extremities ready for action. This means that the organs of the body, the digestive system included, have a reduced blood supply and are not working optimally. Yoga reduce stress by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system through breath awareness; slow mindful movement; and repetitive flows – which allows the mind to quieten and bring increases blood flow to all the organs of the body again.
There are many different reasons why you might be feeling bloated or constipated. This gutsy flow sequence will benefit you, regardless of the cause, if you find your bowel movements are a bit sluggish, or to keep everything moving and prevent getting constipated. As the saying goes ‘prevention is better than cure’. The specially chosen asana promote good gut health by stretching and compressing the whole digestive system.
Backends place pressure on your gut and stimulate peristalsis in the muscles of the colon which help to push waste food along. They also compress the blood vessels of the digestive system, and on releasing the backbend, bringing a rush of fresh blood flow to help remove toxins. Click this link to get a full list of backbends.
Twists wring out the digestive system and massage the digestive tract. In yoga we twist to the right first to stimulate the ascending colon first, and we twist to the left after to stimulate the descending colon – aiding regular elimination and toxin removal from the body. Similar to backbends, when we twists we constrict the blood flow, and on releasing a surge of blood rushes back – bringing with it a fresh supply of oxygen and flushes out the system. Click this link to get a full list of twists.
EXPLORING STAYING REGULAR IN YOUR PRACTICE
This sequence will help to stimulate the walls of the gut and bowels. It is best not to drink water during your practice so that the body is not trying to multi task. As soon as you have finished drink plenty of water to help all the good work you have done on your mat.
Print out the above sequence and have it at hand for those mornings when you feel your bowel movements have slowed down, or if you ate late and feel you’re digestive system is still struggling to process last night’s dinner:
Spend a bit of extra time in Anahatasana/Heart Chakra Pose and feel the stretch through the whole front body and gut.
Before you take your twists lengthen up through the whole extent of your spine to the tip of your crown.
Pause in Utkata Konasana/Goddess and let gravity do its work!
Ruth Delahunty Yogaru