Most people, including non-practitioners of yoga, are these days aware that yoga may not be done immediately after a meal, especially a heavy one. But very few people know that there are some practices that are allowed because these actually enhance the digestive process.
These practices work on digestion at the muscular level, as does the supta veerasana (lying warrior pose). Some, like the pitta-kaarak mudra, are based on the ayurvedic principle of doshas, that enhance the pitta (fire) element in the body.
Seated, meditative poses like the vajrasana which is recommended for all as a matter of daily habit before and after a meal are based on the principle of acupressure points or marma points (energy nodes). Vajrasana's impact is near-miraculous. So, though it is initially rather difficult to practice, it is worth cultivating. The dradhasana (firm pose) works on the esoteric principle of swar yoga which is interpreted these days in the language of the body's biological clock.
In all these practices, the basic idea is to switch on the fire element (pitta) or the pingala nadi (also called the surya nadi) which is the active principle in the body.
Shameem Akthar, yoga acharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Kerala, shows you the four practices that will enhance your digestion if done after your meals.
Points to note:
These practices are specially for those who may, for some reason, eat their dinner too close to bedtime, or are obese, or suffer from chronic indigestion. Those who have extremely sensitive digestive tracts such as irritable bowel syndrome or any inflammatory conditions of the digestive system must refrain from such practices.
It is also very important to follow the exact suggestion in practices like dradhasana (where you must lie only on your left side) to ensure the right nadi is switched on.
Text: Shameem Akthar
Photographs: Jahnavi Sheriff
Catch more of Shameem's yoga writings and about her upcoming workshops at jaisivananda.blogspot.com
Harmony Foundation recently published Shameem Akthar's book, Yoga for Silvers. To place an order, please write to: email@example.com
This article only attempts to enthuse readers towards yoga practice and complement your existing practice. Yoga is best learnt under the personal guidance of a teacher.
Also read: 5 poses using a gym ball