Posts in yoga
Down Dog for Digestion
 
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The next time your stomach is bothering you, you may want to reach for your yoga mat.

Research shows that yoga can help boost your digestive system, not only for people with occasional issues, but also for people with more chronic ailments, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

It’s not just that when you twist your torso your yoga teacher says you’re “detoxing” your system. Yoga affects your digestion in more ways than one.

If your digestion is slow, performing yoga poses can increase your blood circulation, while also giving an internal massage to the muscles around your digestive system. This can help get your system back up and moving again.

A yoga practice can mean you get more out of the foods you eat, as results from a study out of India suggested that it can aid the body in nutrient absorption.

Put It Into Practice:

A twice-weekly Iyengar yoga practice helped patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) by alleviating their symptoms.

To get the biggest digestive benefit each time you do yoga, make sure to engage your core with every pose, which also massages, contracts, and stretches the organs responsible for your digestive system. When you stretch in certain ways you create more space for your organs to function.

Also be sure to focus on your breath. Abdominal breathing can aid your digestive system.

How to Power Your Practice:

If you’re going to a class, try to eat one to two hours before hitting the mat. If you’re working with this timeframe, opt for choices that have complex carbohydrates, protein, and fats--yoga teacher and nutritionist Jennifer Vagios, RD suggests cooking ¼ cup of eats and topping it with walnuts and plain Greek yogurt.

If you are rushing from the office and only get a chance to eat 15 minutes in advance, have something with easily digestible natural sugars and a bit of fat and protein, she says, citing a smoothie made with a date, ½ frozen banana, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and cinnamon as a good choice for this situation.

So, there you have it--the next time you hear your stomach rumble, take it to the mat.

By Hannah Woit

 
Om in the Office
 
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By Hannah Woit

When work’s a (physical, literal) pain, a look at how you move your body at the office is well overdue. We’ve covered the impact of sitting, but there’s more you can do to keep your body healthy and limber at work.

One easy way to do this is to incorporate small bits of yoga into your workday. Here are a few opportunities:

Bottleneck Neck: During your commute to work (not while driving, please!), practice some neck rolls, suggests Darrin Zeer in his book Office Yoga: Simple Stretches for Busy People. Drop your head to one side, rolling it around in a circle in one way then the other. When you come across a particularly tense spot, pause and take a few breaths.

Combat “Tech Neck”: Our devices and computers are not necessarily designed with our health in mind. How many hours a day do you spend looking down at your phone? Yoga Journal suggests a front chest opener: Facing a wall, put your right elbow and forearm against it a little above shoulder level (think “cactus arms”, putting your arms out like football goalposts, but a little higher). Switch sides.

Breathe in Good Energy, Release the Bad: You can even use this one in a meeting without anyone noticing. (They may notice your more positive vibes though!) Send oxygen to your brain by taking a few cycles of deep inhales and exhales. Breathe in what you think you need (a boost of energy, calm, etc.), and when you breathe out, visualize letting go of stress and tension.

Do the Twist: One of Zeer’s “Hang in There” stretches, this one is great towards the afternoon or end of the day after a long meeting. In your chair, cross one leg over the other and put the opposite hand or elbow on your crossed knee. Twist towards the leg on top and hold for a few breaths. Switch legs and repeat on the other side.

Namaste.

 
work, health, yogaHannah Woit