Hey all!

I’ve only been away for a day, and I miss you already.

Hope everyone has had a fabulous end to the weekend. I’m gallivanting about the Windy City right now, and probably still aglow from an incredible blogger meet up lunch, which I’ll give you the full report on tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m pleased and honored to extend a welcome to Averie, of Love Veggies and Yoga, who has graciously offered to do a guest post on that most beloved of physical and spiritual pastimes: yoga. I originally asked Averie to write about yoga for digestion; we all know that digestive health is just about my fave topic, and the last guest post I wrote for her was, in fact, about my top tips for digestive healing. As Averie and I discussed the post, though, it became clear that it ought to go beyond digestive health alone: Averie is a veritable fount of yoga knowledge, and I wanted her to share more than a few specialized poses.

I’ve written about my love for yoga a few times and gotten great responses, but it’s a topic I’d like to write about more often! I’d also love to write about it with more authority than I do now. Until the day that I add “yoga teacher” to the hats I wear, however, I can welcome writers who know their stuff inside and out. On that note, I’m proud to turn the mic over to Averie: yoga instructor, athlete, raw dessert impresario, and holistic Mama extraordinaire! _______________________________________________________________________________________

Hi Choosing Raw Readers!  I’m Averie of Love Veggies and Yoga. When Gena asked me to do a guest post on her blog, I was flattered!  I have so much respect, admiration, and appreciation for Gena and for all the knowledge she shares with us! Thank you, Gena, for extending this opportunity to me and I am so glad you asked me to post about a subject that I am passionate about: Yoga!

I have been a registered yoga teacher since 2001.  Finding yoga, or as I think of it, that the practice found me, has changed my life in so many amazing and wonderful ways over nearly the last decade!

I went to my first yoga class in the year 2000 wanting to tone up, get some exercise, and “get a good workout in”.  After my first class, I was hooked, but it wasn’t just because I was “getting a good workout in”.  Rather, I was drawn to the vibe, mystique, and the beautiful energy that is yoga.   Although the physical poses were very awe-inspiring to me, I loved how yoga made me feel.  Prior to yoga, I was no stranger to athletic endeavors from volleyball, basketball, track, running, hiking, swimming, you name it, but yoga was different.

Some of the things I have experienced in my life as a result of my yoga practice include:

  • Increased Physical Strength & Flexibility
  • Increased Overall Physical Fitness
  • Becoming more Patient, Calm, Compassionate, Forgiving, Understanding, Empathic, and Kind.  Not only to others, but to myself as well.
  • Increased Mental Toughness, Tenacity, and sense of Discipline & Dedication to something outside of and much larger than myself
  • Becoming more Humble
  • Seeing the Good in All People and Things even when it seems impossible
  • Finding the Balance between Strength and Surrender both on and off the mat; in physical pursuits and in interpersonal relationships and daily life
  • The breathing techniques and connection to breath awareness help reduce stress & tension
  • Improved Overall Health & Well-Being (Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual)
  • Being More In Tune With My Body, With My Health, With my Physical, Mental, and Emotional Wellness
  • The List can go on and on…But for me in a nutshell, Yoga is about looking inward, finding your true self, finding what works for you, not just on the mat, but off the mat and in your everyday life, too.

I don’t want to make it seem like I walked in to class one day and the next day I walked out a fully enlightened being.  No, quite the contrary! Anything worth having takes effort, patience, and perseverance, but the challenges inspire me to keep going, keep practicing, keep learning, and to stick with yoga.   Actually, I couldn’t imagine my life without yoga!

Gena asked me to Suggest some Yoga Poses That May Help with Digestion

What Types of Yoga Poses Can Help with Digestion & Why?

  • Twists and forward bends are good for massaging the internal organs, stimulating the liver and kidneys which are our internal toxic filtering systems, and engage the digestive fire (or tapas = heat) in our bellies.
  • Restorative poses and meditation help us to slow down and de-stress, bringing a conscious awareness to our bodies.

What Yoga Can Help With?

Certain asanas (poses) can help stimulate the stomach, pancreas and the intestines which will:

  • Increase gastrointestinal circulation
  • Increase food absorption
  • Reduce acid
  • Decrease gas
  • Reduce sluggish digestion issues

First, Twists are Excellent for Digestion. Note: start with your right leg or right side “up” first, then the left leg or side.  That ensures you will be working with the flow of digestion, and not against it.

Some Helpful Twists include:

Marichyasana A

Marichyasana D

Here’s a Link to More Twists To Try if these are too “pretzel-like” for where you’re at now

Here’s a Lying Spinal Twist that is excellent for digestion

Instructions & Source

Next, Forward Bends Are Helpful for Digestion, too.

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

And with the traditional ashtanga style toe-hold

Here’s a Link to More Forward Bends to Try

Finally, Here’s a Link to Restorative Poses

Such as Child’s Pose (Balasana) and Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani) which are great for digestion, too.

In short, all yoga is beneficial for our overall health and wellness.  There are some asanas which are better suited towards different goals, however, I encourage you not to get hung up on doing the “right” pose specifically for digestion or for another particular malady you are trying to spot-treat or target, but instead, just start doing any yoga! Only good things can happen from it and as your practice unfolds and deepens, and as you become more proficient, you can then begin to hone it more specifically towards particular issues you may be experiencing.

For those of you with Questions About Yoga including DVD Recommendations, How to Score Free Yoga Classes, What to Do if You’re a Total Beginner and How to Start, and tons of other information, please check out my Yoga FAQ’s Post.

Finally, thank you again, Gena, for this opportunity and thanks to all of you who read this post!

Namaste, My Friends!

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