When practiced regularly, yoga can help to tackle a wide range of bodily problems. Some poses are specifically designed to stretch and exercise the internal organs to keep them functioning at the optimal level. When it comes to reducing or controlling cholesterol levels, the abdominal organs need to work better to be able to break down the food correctly. When the organs are working well and the food you eat is healthy, the body is able to function smoothly overall, and can keep diseases at bay. This doesn’t mean that you can replace medications with yoga poses, of course. Yoga is a holistic exercise, and can add to a healthy lifestyle rather than fix an unhealthy one. If you’re a long time yogi and are looking for specific poses that can improve abdominal organ functioning, try these poses in your next routine:
This literally translates to “the shining forehead”. When practiced regularly, kapalbhati pranayama can increase your body’s metabolic rate, which in turn can help to control and reduce your weight. It also stimulates the abdominal organs and improves the functioning of your digestive tract.
i. Sit comfortably with your spine erect. Place your hands on your knees, and keep your palms open and pointing to the sky.
ii. Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, pull your stomach in towards your spine as much as you can comfortably. You can keep a hand on your stomach to feel the abdominal muscles contract.
iii. As you relax your navel and abdomen, the lungs are filled with breath automatically.
iv. 20 such breaths complete one round of kapalbhati pranayama. You may continue with 2 more rounds to complete a set.
Shalabhasana, also known as the locust pose, is excellent to strengthen the lower back. The ardha shalabhasana is the half locust pose. It can help to reduce backaches, massages the pelvic organs, releases tension in the lower abdomen, and also tones the buttocks.
i. Lie flat on your stomach with your chin on the floor.
ii. Bring your hands under your thighs with your palms facing downwards, and stretch your chin slightly forward.
iii. As you inhale, use your back and leg muscles to lift your right leg as far up as possible as you keep your toes pointed. Make sure that your hip remains firmly on the ground, and your pelvis is in a neutral position.
iv. Keep this position for 30 seconds as you evenly inhale and exhale.
v. Repeat the same exercise with the left leg.
The sarvangasana, or the shoulder stand pose, is extremely helpful and tackles a wide range of body systems. It calms the nerves, reduces anxiety and stress, aids with digestive disorders, and stimulates the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary gland.
i. Lie on your back with your hands by your side. Make sure that your back is flat against the floor.
ii. Slowly raise both your legs up, and in one movement, raise your buttocks, hips and back off the floor.
iii. Your elbows and hands should remain flat on the floor, but in this way, you can use them to support your back.
iv. Move your hands closer to your shoulder blade, and press your elbows down into the floor. You can now use the upper part of your hands to support your back, but keep your elbows on the ground.
v. Keep your legs tight as you bring your heels higher, and bring your toes over your nose so you can see them directly above you. Hold this pose for 3o seconds.
vi. If you feel too much strain on your back, stop the exercise and start over again.