Everything that we are, all that is in this world, is made up of energy! Yes I know, 'what's that got to do with digestion?'
Digestion – Yoga Lesson Ideas: Well a healthy digestion is a reflection of the energetic health in the body.
Whether we physically bring another energy in (with food), or swallow down energy in the form of our emotions and encounters, our energetic field will respond accordingly.
Now, I’m not going to go into detail about all the chakras and the energetic system of the body. But, what I will say is that when we try to digest anything (physical or emotional), several of the main chakras in the body are the most influential to the process.
- The throat chakra – as we mull or chew something over
- The solar plexus – as we try and stomach something and break it down
- The sacral chakra – as we try and harvest the goodness and eliminate what we don’t need
- And the root chakra – as we process what we need and release that which does not serve the body at that time.
The sacral chakra (located just below your belly button, and is is responsible for your sexual and creative energy), tends to work the hardest, and for a long period of time as it chooses what it needs. This is where problems occur. It might mull over something quite frightening which causes the digestive tract to freeze up in fear, it might even face resistance from your emotional and logical thoughts (subconsciously) to hold onto things.
This will inevitably cause costiveness (constipation), and if it is a belief/thought the body has had for a long time (maybe as a coping strategy), it will be a recurring problem. Also, if an individual is someone who finds it hard to let go of ‘things’ in general, chronic costiveness may be a known issue for them.
Obviously that could go the other way. If the body doesn’t like what it’s been given, or somebody instantly dismisses something emotional as they can’t face it, the bowel movement will be loose and quick.
So these are all aspects to consider when planning a class for digestion and sacral chakra balance. Obviously the sacral chakra governs and influences much more than just the digestive system (but we can cover that in another post).
Digestion - Yoga Lesson Ideas: A healthy digestive system is a reflection of the energetic health in the body So let's plan a lesson with this in mind...
The Fire Breath
A great way to start is sitting down with a breath sequence. This is very simple, it is a great cleanser for the lungs and helps to stimulate your digestive organs, metabolism, and energy movements in the body. A little warning for the students: ‘Do not continue if you begin to feel unwell, or have any underlying health conditions such as: hypotension, COPD and other conditions which also affect the heart, blood pressure, breathing and lung health.’
- Take a deep breath into the body for a slow count of four
- Retain the breath for a slow count of three
- Contract (snatch) the stomach muscles inwards towards the spine quickly expelling the breath
- Repeat 3 times
- Breath in sharply and exhale quickly (as before)
- Repeat 6 times
Repeat this full cycle 3 times altogether.
Because you’re bringing in to play the mouth and throat as you breathe, muscle control around the solar plexus, and massage of the sacral chakra as you exhale, you will be encouraging the students to warm up the whole energetic digestive system.
Ask students to rub the hands together to activate the chakras in the hands before encouraging them to massage their stomachs over the digestive tract with hand movements in an anticlockwise rhythmic pattern.
Bring in gentle spinal twists, using different breathing approaches whilst in a full position. Relaxing the stomach as they exhale and/or squeezing the stomach muscles back towards the spine as they exhale.
Ask them to raise arms up to the ceiling to open and give space inside the torso, then encourage a sway or movement with hands raised to stimulate the spine.
Introduce core conditioning such as bear or boat pose to help bring stability and balance to the lower chakras
Introduce core conditioning such as bear or boat pose to help bring stability and balance to the lower chakra.
Use hip opening poses to encourage the root chakra to let go of fear or emotional baggage.
Use techniques to open the feet to bring a grounding energy into the body, this way the students will feel safe and able to let go of emotional burden.
Use upward facing dog or cobra to help with opening the entire front of the body.
Do lateral stretches which will open up the sides of the body.
Warriors are always good here, because they bring stamina in and support the solar plexus. If there is better will power, there is security and willingness when making decisions, allowing students to recognise and accept only what is right for them.
This is a powerful class and it can often bring great shifts in the energy of the body. Always finish with soft tummies and stillness. Let the body ‘digest’ what has just happened.
Encouragement for students to rehydrate and flush the system with lots of water post session is advised. Also, encouraging them to have a detox day will help alleviate pressure from the digestive system and give the energetic body time to calibrate.
I mean a complete detox… don’t contact or respond to that negative person, avoid itching processed food, refrain from talking negatively about themselves and to themselves