Yoga to Promote Digestion, by Michelle Chua
It's important to remember that digestion is multi-faceted. We humans are constantly digesting life through all of our senses, consuming not only food but all kinds of news and media, and the situations that arise daily. How do you take in the nourishment, ie. nutrients or knowledge, from whatever you're currently digesting and shed the waste that no longer serve your well-being? This is a constant part of the yoga practice identified in the first limb of yoga and is called aparigraha, defined as non-attachment and ability to let life flow. (Read more about the 8 Limbs of Yoga here.)
In this article, you'll find three pre-recorded yoga practices of various lengths, in which I guide you through ways to promote digestion physically, mental-emotionally and energetically, and an additional resource that shares the perspective of a Colon Hydrotherapist.
First, here's a recent Guided 1-hour Gentle Yoga Session to Promote Digestion Mentally and Physically:
Secondly, here's a shorter 22-minute yoga practice, which includes postures, breathwork and a visualization meditation taught at a 2017 Yoga for Digestion Workshop I co-facilitated, called Nourish.
Lastly, through the understanding of the 7 Chakras, or main energy centers in your body, learn to balance energy through your solar plexus energy center, or manipura chakra. This is responsible for digestion and includes your inner fire of willpower to protect your core values and shed the unnecessary, releasing stagnancy in different aspects of your life to continue evolving and aligning with your life's purpose.
Here's a 16-minute guided Yoga practice with breathwork and meditation from our 28-day online class series, Daily Yoga Habit:
For additional holistic perspective on promoting healthy digestion, check out this interview with Colon Hydrotherapist Monisha Garner. In this two-part conversation, If Your Poop Could Talk, find out about the key role your digestion plays in overall wellness, especially immune system function, and learn daily wellness practices to optimize your health.
I hope you find these resources helpful in nourishing and purifying your mind, body and spirit. Remember, that digestion begins even before your mouth receives that first bite or your senses receive stimuli. Through the awareness that yoga cultivates, be proactive about the stimuli you choose to surround yourself with, including the foods you give yourself ready access to. May we all be nourished, release what we don't need to carry on this journey anymore and thrive!
About the Author
Michelle Chua is a lover of dance, delicious vegan food and nature. A Registered 500-hour Yoga Alliance Teacher, she has been guiding yoga retreats in California and abroad and weekly yoga classes in Los Angeles and online since 2010. LEARN MORE...
1. Develop a daily meditation practice. Meditation is a means of learning to befriend your mind, so that you have the freedom to choose your perception of life's situations. It’s a practice of witnessing the fluctuations of your thoughts and sensations while grounding through discernment of what you choose to feed your focus. Through consistently studying your mind, you can become more conscious of your needs underneath the push and pull of external stimuli. If you’re new to meditating, try sitting in silence for 5 minutes a day, and if you’re not new, invest a regularly allotted time period for it, perhaps first thing when you rise from bed before the mind becomes so active. Check out this playlist of meditations I've created for you on our YouTube channel!
2. Move your body daily at least 20 minutes per day, doing something you enjoy that challenges you playfully. It's imperative to create conscious healthy habits with an attitude of loving kindness to yourself. If you love to be in nature, hike, walk or run nearby trails 3-5 times a week. I enjoy the challenge of running up and down hills and the rewards of the higher perspective of the city and the fun feeling of soaring like a bird downhill. Or, try a slow walking meditation while earthing and forest-bathing to connect with the healing energy of Mother Nature. Check out these mindfulness practices here. If you enjoy dancing, perhaps invest in taking samba, salsa and belly-dance classes to share the energy with other dance-lovers, and you may also become part of a community of movers who inspire you to show up. Our yoga community meets several days a week on Zoom to practice all levels physical yoga, breath work and meditation, integrating valuable practices for keeping you healthy, feeling balanced and calming your mind. Consider joining us here and you'll also be part of a conscious community that cares about wellness and peace, surrounding yourself with positive influence.
3. Seek healthy delicious ways to re-create favorite holiday dishes and share them with loved ones. Be creative, resourceful and open-minded in revising your favorite meals and treats, as you can actually turn them into nutrient-dense fulfilling nourishment that satisfies your body and spirit without the need to overindulge. Paired with staying well-hydrated, feeding your body the nutrients it needs helps eliminate cravings for unhealthy comfort food, especially at late hours before bed. As you enthusiastically share your discoveries and their health benefits with friends and family, they may want to join you in the revolution to more life-enriching, rather than food-coma inducing, holiday feasts. Check out our blog for delicious and healthy vegan holiday recipes or practical tips for eating plant-based!
4. Fill your holiday gatherings with physically active interaction, with indulgent food out of easy access for mindless grazing. Have a designated time for a family meal, in which you eat mindfully and with gratitude. Consider putting the food away when it’s no longer meal time, so that you’re not tempted to stand around the dinner table and graze post-meal while chatting or out of boredom. Then, make space to enjoy each other’s company through games, like charades, dancing and playing music, by taking a family walk outside or playing kickball or ping pong in the backyard. And when it’s not during the holiday meals, have your healthy snacks more conveniently in sight and easy to reach. Let indulgent treats be rare occasions that require extra effort to access. Check out this simple superfood plant-based treat!
5. Practice gratitude daily and remember your why. First thing in the morning when you awaken, begin with a reflection of what you are grateful for. As you lie in bed before a good night’s sleep, reflect on what you appreciated the most in your day. Try this guided Gratitude Meditation to Attune to Abundance. Gratitude is a ripple effect of attracting more of what you appreciate and helps you feel fulfilled so that you may be less drawn to try to satiate a feeling of lack through less healthy measures. As you identify what you’re grateful for you also affirm what’s important for you to notice. This brings light to your core values as they play out in the circumstances of your day. Thus, you keep close to your heart and mind what is most important to you. As you focus on what you truly want in your life, you become less attracted to the obstacles, that is, delusions of happiness that may only bring momentary distraction from your true needs. You deepen your connection to your inner guidance. And if you're seeking more ways to practice gratitude, here's an article I wrote that was featured in LA Yoga Magazine, called Practical Ways to Infuse the Joy of Gratitude in Your Everyday Living.
I hope you find these reminders helpful! If you have specific yoga, meditation, mindfulness or other wellness resources you're seeking, send me an email and introduce yourself! I'd be happy to share what I can.
And if you're in the Los Angeles, CA area, check out our monthly community wellness events here or our upcoming mid-holiday wellness retreat in December 2022 here and join us live in-person, supporting and inspiring each other into a healthy holiday season!
Wishing you a peaceful and vibrant season,
A Collective Blog about Yoga Lifestyle & Inspiration
REviews of Root 2 Rise Yoga with Michelle chua:
Michelle truly lives out what she teaches. She is so much more than a yoga teacher - I learned this when I went on her exquisitely curated trip that she organized to Costa Rica this past June 2018...Hopefully like me, you'll be delighted by her effervescent love of movement, nature, and all people!
Michelle clearly stands out with her beautiful and bright energy. I love how her practice and teaching encompass body, mind and spirit. She not only teaches yoga but lives and exudes it.
Michelle not only teaches 'yoga', she embodies it fully with her heart and soul...
Michelle is by far one of the best instructors I've ever had, period. Patient, clear in her explanations and demos, and so encouraging...
My first yoga class was with Michelle years ago. You can have the best (yoga pose) sequence and not teach from your heart. With Michelle, I also feel her passion when I'm in her class. I can see she loves what she does, and she inspired me to want to teach yoga, too.
Check out our upcoming retreats here!
I'm so grateful to have met Michelle! Her kind energy opened up my interest in pursuing yoga and meditation. She is such an incredibly light and soul. She starts with grounding ourselves through mindfulness and breathing exercise. She brings the most authentic energy to the class by sharing the history and understanding behind poses, names, and techniques. I truly appreciate her work and impact on my well-being!
I’ve had dozens of instructors over the years, but Michelle is far and away the best yoga mentor I’ve ever practiced with. She epitomizes grace during these difficult times. Michelle has saved my sanity and my back while working from home, keeping me grounded with her sharing of yogic teachings and meditation techniques. Her repertoire of physical asanas is encyclopedic, and I’ve loved learning new poses and stretching my boundaries. Jump in, all. You’ve got this!
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