This is a guest post written by Dr. Rita Khanna.
“Stop using your stomach like a dust bin and over working your digestive system. Un-digested food ferments in the stomach which can lead to disease”
According to Ayurvedic medicine all diseases originate from improper digestion. In our busy world its common for many of us to pay little attention to our stomach until we notice a colicky pain, abdominal discomfort, hunger or lost of appetite.
Digestive breathing is one of the ways to rest your digestive system after having eaten, especially afternoon food.
How digestive breathing helps:
Normally, whenever one takes heavy food, one feels sleepy because all the blood supply goes to the abdomen, and there is less blood supply in the brain.
At that time, if you do digestive breathing for 15-20 minutes, the working capacity of the various glands, connected to the digestion process, increases and adds digestive power. It also has a calming effect on the nerves – which, in turn, relaxes your digestive system and the mind; thus making it more effective.
Technique for digestive breathing:
1: To start – lie down in Shavasna….relaxing the whole body…keep breathing – about 11 breaths- (11 inhalations and 11 exhalations) to relax the internal organs of the stomach…
2: Then turn to the left side gently….. fold the knees… place your left hand under the head…right hand on the right leg…or you can adjust your posture the way you want to…lying down in this position, inhale and exhale 21 times, consciously. Count the numbers mentally….
When you lie down on the left side, the stomach gets compressed to the floor, and internal massage is happening inside the abdomen, which helps in digestion, because the shape of the stomach is in a ‘C’ shape.
3: Now, come on the back and lie down in Shavasana…In this position, do breathing, again, mentally 21 times (21 inhales, 21 exhales)
4: then turn to the right side and repeat the breathing 21 times (21 inhales, 21 exhales)
In the end, slowly turn to the left side and breathe 7 times. Then, slowly sit up. You’ll feel very light and relaxed.
What happens inside the body:
When you lie down and do breathing consciously, you are increasing the Prana Shakti. Prana is an energy within the Sukshma Sharira (subtle body) that gives rise to, and activates, the physical body or gross body.
We have 72,000 subtle channels through which Prana flows. The dominant flow of Prana occurs within the Ida and Pingala Nadis. Between these Nadis, lies the Shushumna Nadi, the ‘central’ channel that is located along the spinal axis of the body.
• When you lie to the left side, Pingala Nadi gets activated. It means flow of Prana is more in the right nostril. It indicates that vital energy is dominant and is producing heat for digestion.
• When you lie straight on the back, you are energizing the spine and balancing the flow of the other two channels. At that time, the third Nadi- Sushumna is stimulated. It is located at the base of the spine, and it travels directly up through the spinal cord.
• When you lie to the right side, Ida Nadi gets activated, and the flow of Prana is more in the left nostril. It indicates mental energy, coolness, and relaxation.
• To recharge the body, again, when you come back to the left side.
The co-ordination of these three Nadis gives health, strength, mental peace, and long life – and clears the way for the spiritual growth.
Food for thought:
After swallowing, food takes approximately three seconds to travel from the mouth to the stomach. It takes one to five minutes for the first mouthful to enter the duodenum, and twenty minutes for half the consumed food to leave the stomach.
In four and a half hours, it travels from the duodenum, to the end of the small intestine.
After five and a half hours, the first mouthful has reached the start of the large intestine – the caecum.
The first mouthful of food takes nine and a half hours to reach the end of the large intestine – the sigmoid colon. From start to finish, the complete process of digestion takes from twelve- to twenty-four hours.