Yoga for Digestive Disorders - Yoga Practice Blog

Yoga for Digestive Disorders – Colitis

about Yoga for digestive disordersBy Dr. Rita Khanna

Yoga for digestive disorders has been an adjunct therapy for centuries. Colitis is a general term indicating an inflammatory condition of the large bowel and, almost invariably, of the rectum. Two broad categories of this condition are usually seen – specific and idiopathic. The specific type of colitis commonly arises from protozoal and tubercular infiltrations, although the latter form is rare. Amoebic colitis forms the primary group of the specific type. The idiopathic variety cannot be traced to a specific cause and is often termed ‘ulcerative colitis.’


Today’s Viewpoint

Medical knowledge has advanced a great deal in all spheres of inquiry, but ulcerative colitis is one condition in which science has made little progress. The present management of this condition remains unsatisfactory. The physician is far more able to control the disease than cure it. Antibiotics, and intestinal disinfectants for the control of diarrhea, have been the chief medicine so far.

The introduction of cortico-steroids was thought to revolutionize the management of this disease. Still, the side effects of these drugs are as severe as the disease itself, while their control of the primary condition remains poor. The latest celebrated anti-inflammatory drug, salazopyrine, is claimed to have minimal side effects. Still, it has the drawback of creating dependency, and the condition worsens if there is no proper medicine supply.


Other Approaches

The surgical approach is total colectomy (removal of the colon) or proctocolectomy with ileostomy, in which the anus is removed along with the colon, necessitating the construction of an alternative opening in the abdominal wall. Both procedures cause permanent and severe restrictions on the patient’s lifestyle.

The psychological aspect of colitis is also significant. Recent studies have shown that stress and strain are the major contributory factors in causing and aggravating the disease and confirmed that environmental stress, personal stress, and stress resulting from natural calamities were important factors. So, the psychosomatic nature of the disease must be kept in mind while undertaking its treatment.

Yoga for Digestive Disorders

Chronic colitis is a syndrome in which Agni (gastric fire), the digestive power, is supposed to be at fault. When Agni becomes depressed, undigested waste material accumulates and is passed in the stools. It can manifest as high cholesterol, blood disorders, fatigue syndromes, tumors, cysts, and skin conditions.

Therefore, the aim of treatment should be to enhance the potency of Agni, thereby reducing the formation of undigested waste material. By their specificity, Yogic exercises work as catalytic agents for stabilizing the Agni at a higher level, even if the medicines are withdrawn.

This, in itself, is a significant achievement, as medicines cannot be used permanently. The disease can only be cured when the Agni is balanced without external medicine.


Classical Yogic Approach

The Yogic practices, which stimulate and normalize the Agni, are selected – by various classical texts of Yoga, including ‘Gheranda Samhita’ and ‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika.’ These Yogic practices, which stimulate and normalize the Agni, are:

become a yoga teacherBhujangasana

“By practicing this Bhujangasana, Dehagni- the body’s heat- increases; all diseases are destroyed, and Kundalini is aroused.”

Gheranda Samhita, 2/43


“Mayurasana soon destroys all the diseases caused by Doshas (undigested material) in the stomach and wards off Gulmas (tumors of the abdomen). It kindles the Jatharagni (gastric fire) and completely digests all the unwholesome and overeaten food- even poison.”

Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 2/31


“This Paschimottanasana, foremost among the Asanas, directs the passage of Prana along the back. It kindles the gastric fire (Jatharagni), reduces the belly, and bestows health upon the aspirants.”

Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 1/27


“The practice of Matsyendrasana, which stimulates the Jatharagni (gastric fire), and is a weapon to destroy the diseases around the umbilicus, bestows upon those persons who practice it arousal of Kundalini and stability of the Chandra (mind).”

Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 1/27


“The practice of Sarvangasana increases a regular practitioner’s Jatharagni (gastric heat). One who practices it daily, should procure (and eat), ample food. If he eats insufficient food, the increasing fire soon consumes his body.”

Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 3/79


“A Yogi should always practice the beneficial Shitali Kumbhaka. He will never suffer from indigestion and disorder of Kapha (Phlegm) and Pitta (Bile).”

Gheranda Samhita, 2/65


“Nauli, the crown of Hatha Yoga practices, stimulates the digestive metabolism and brings about a feeling of well-being.”

Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 2/35

Each Asanas should be done twice or thrice and maintained for 20-30 seconds. Shavasana should be practiced once daily for 15-20 minutes, and Pranayama for 10 minutes daily under guidance. Be careful if you have high or low blood pressure or heart problems. Leave at least four hours from your last meal before doing these practices. Along with Yoga therapy, dietary restrictions are a must for the sufferers of colitis problems.


Healthy Eating Habits

1. Eat according to your constitution.

2. Eat fresh food that is organically grown.

3. Eat Satvic foods; light, fresh, and rejuvenating.

4. Minimize using leftovers, canned, frozen, or preserved foods.

5. Do not eat lots of raw and cooked food together.

6. Do not eat contraindicated foods: Dairy and fruit; melon after other food; fruits with other food; fish and milk; eggs with milk, etc.

7. Eat seasonal foods.

8. Avoid excessive fasting or excessive eating. The recommendation is to eat until you are 50% full, have 25% liquids, and leave the remaining space for Prana to circulate.

9. Only eat when hungry, and drink when thirsty.

10. When you travel, adjust your diet slowly, as the change in water, food, and climate can all adversely affect your digestion.

11. Antidote extreme qualities of food with digestive spices.


To strengthen Agni, all twists – forward bends, sideways bends, and postures that put physical pressure on the abdomen – benefit the digestive system. All breathing practices help digestion. Kapalabhatii and Bhastrika work by stimulating the whole system; others, such as Nadi Shodhana and Brahmari, work by relaxing any tension and freeing digestion from the trappings of stress.

Relaxation has therapeutic effects, as digestion works when we are calm and the parasympathetic nervous system is predominant. Digestion can stop when we are ‘on alert’ – busying around – and the sympathetic nervous system is running.

Even Agnisara Kriya is a simple and effective practice that helps to clear low digestive fire, gas, and constipation, as well as massaging the digestive organs and stimulating the appetite. It is evident that Yoga training is a buffer in treating chronic colitis and provides permanent relief from colitis symptoms.


Aum Shanti

If you feel inspired by this article, feel free to publish it in your Newsletter or on your Website. Our humble request is to please include the Resource as follows: –

Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna’s Yogashaastra Studio.

A famous studio that helps you find natural solutions for complete health.

Also conducts online Yoga Courses and Naturopathy Guidance.

Mobile: + 919849772485



About Dr. Rita Khanna

Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into this discipline over 25 years ago by the world-famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh (India).

Dr. Rita Khanna firmly believes that Yoga is a scientific process that helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy.

Over the years, she has successfully practiced these therapies and assisted several chronic and terminally ill patients through Yoga, Diet, and Naturopathy. She is also imparting Yoga Teachers Training.

Dr. Rita Khanna runs a Yoga Studio in Secunderabad (Hyderabad, India).

© Copyright – Dr. Rita Khanna / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division


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More About Yoga for Digestive Disorders

By Bhavan Kumar and Rachel Holmes

Are you constantly plagued by stomach pain, bloating, or irregular bowel movements? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people worldwide suffer from digestive disorders that can significantly impact their quality of life. But fear not! There is a natural and effective solution to alleviate your symptoms and restore balance to your gut – yoga!

Let’s explore how practicing yoga can help improve digestive disorders and relieve uncomfortable symptoms. We’ll also delve into different types of yoga poses tailored explicitly for digestive health and offer some valuable dieting tips and lifestyle changes that can further support optimal digestion.

Help – I have a Chronic Digestive Disorder!

Living with a chronic digestive disorder can be incredibly challenging. The constant discomfort, unpredictable symptoms, and restricted diet can affect physical and emotional well-being. But fret not! Yoga offers a holistic approach to managing digestive disorders beyond just alleviating the symptoms.

You can cultivate awareness of your body’s signals through yoga and develop a deeper connection between the mind and gut. This mind-body connection is crucial in understanding how stress, anxiety, or negative emotions can impact digestion.

Yoga helps reduce stress levels through techniques like deep breathing exercises and meditation. By calming the nervous system, it promotes relaxation, which in turn aids digestion. Additionally, specific yoga poses target the abdominal area and gently massage vital organs like the stomach and intestines to stimulate healthy digestion.

The beauty of yoga lies in its versatility – numerous poses cater specifically to different digestive disorders such as bloating, constipation, or acid reflux. Poses like Child’s Pose (Balasana), Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana), or Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) help stretch and release tension in the abdomen while encouraging peristalsis – those wave-like contractions that move food through our digestive tract.


More Than One Approach

Besides incorporating yoga into your daily routine to alleviate symptoms directly related to digestion issues, adopting dietary changes tailored for optimal gut health is equally important. A diet rich in fiber-rich fruits and vegetables alongside probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt may improve gut flora diversity while minimizing inflammation within the digestive tract.

In addition to mindful eating practices such as chewing slowly and savoring each bite, practicing mindfulness meditation before meals allows you to tune into hunger cues more effectively while fostering an appreciation for wholesome nourishment.

So whether you’re dealing with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, or any other chronic digestive disorder, incorporating yoga into your lifestyle can provide a natural and supportive path toward good digestive health.

What are Digestive Disorders?

Digestive disorders can be a significant source of discomfort and disruption in our daily lives. They encompass many conditions that affect the gastrointestinal tract, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, gastritis, and many others.

One common digestive disorder is IBS, characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing heartburn and regurgitation. Gastritis refers to inflammation of the stomach lining which can lead to nausea, vomiting, and indigestion.

These disorders can be caused by various factors such as stress, poor diet choices, food intolerances, or allergies. While medication may temporarily relieve symptoms for some individuals with digestive disorders, yoga offers a holistic approach to address the root causes. We can naturally improve digestive health by incorporating specific yoga poses for digestion and mindful eating practices.

Yoga helps stimulate the organs responsible for digestion through gentle twists and stretches. Poses, like seated spinal twists or supine twists, help massage the abdominal area while promoting blood circulation in the digestive system.

In addition to physical benefits, yoga promotes relaxation, which can positively impact digestion.

Finally, approaching your practice with mindfulness allows you to develop a better awareness of your body’s needs allowing you to make healthier dietary choices.

By adopting a regular yoga practice explicitly tailored towards improving digestion, individuals suffering from these disorders may experience significant improvements over time.


How Does Yoga Help with Digestive Disorders?

Yoga, a practice that combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation techniques, has been found to have numerous benefits for the digestive system. Regular yoga practice can help alleviate symptoms of digestive disorders and promote overall gut health.

One way yoga helps with digestive disorders is by reducing stress levels. Stress can wreak havoc on digestion, leading to bloating, constipation, and acid reflux. Yoga helps calm the mind and relax the body through deep breathing and gentle movements. This relaxation response activates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting better digestion.

Certain yoga poses also target specific digestive issues. Twisting poses like Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose) help stimulate digestion by massaging the abdominal organs. Forward folds like Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) can relieve constipation by compressing the abdomen and increasing blood flow to the intestines.

In addition to physical postures, practicing mindfulness during meals is another aspect of yoga that supports healthy digestion. Mindful eating involves paying attention to each bite, chewing slowly and thoroughly, and savoring every flavor. This mindful approach allows us to tune into our body’s hunger cues and eat more balanced.

Incorporating yoga into your routine can be incredibly beneficial for managing digestive disorders. Whether through stress reduction or targeted poses for specific concerns, this ancient practice offers a holistic approach to improving gut health naturally.

Different Types of Yoga Poses for Digestive Disorders

Yoga has long been recognized as a powerful tool to promote overall health and well-being. When it comes to digestive disorders, specific yoga poses can provide relief by calming the mind, reducing stress, and improving digestion.

One such pose is the seated twist or Ardha Matsyendrasana. This pose helps stimulate the digestive organs, promoting better digestion and relieving symptoms such as bloating and gas. Another beneficial pose is the reclining bound angle or Supta Baddha Konasana. This pose can alleviate constipation by gently opening up the hips and stretching the lower abdomen.

For those suffering from acid reflux or heartburn, incorporating gentle inversions like Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose or Viparita Karani can be helpful in soothing these conditions. These poses help improve blood flow to the digestive organs while relaxing both body and mind.

The Cat-Cow Pose or Marjaryasana-Bitilasana sequence is another valuable yogic practice for improving digestion. The alternating movements between arching and rounding the spine massage the internal organs, helping to regulate bowel movements.

In addition to these postures, practicing deep belly breathing exercises like Diaphragmatic Breathing (also known as Yogic Belly Breathing) can be incredibly beneficial for individuals with digestive disorders. It promotes the relaxation of abdominal muscles while increasing oxygen supply throughout your system – a perfect recipe for improved digestion!

Remember that yoga is not just about physical movement; it also encompasses mindfulness practices like meditation and breath control techniques (pranayama). Incorporating these elements into your yoga routine can further enhance its benefits on your digestive system.

Regularly practicing these yoga poses and mindful breathing exercises specifically designed for better digestion may relieve uncomfortable symptoms associated with various digestive disorders. Always consult a qualified instructor before starting any new exercise regimen – they will guide you through the correct alignment and modifications to suit your needs.


Dieting Tips for Digestive Health

Diet plays a crucial role in maintaining digestive health. By making conscious choices about what we eat, we can support our digestive system and alleviate symptoms of digestive disorders. Here are some dieting tips to promote good gut health.

Maintaining a balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes is crucial. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements and promotes healthy digestion.

Incorporating probiotic-rich foods into your diet is also beneficial for digestive health. Probiotics are live bacteria that contribute to the natural balance of gut flora. Foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi are excellent sources of probiotics.

Avoiding trigger foods that exacerbate digestive symptoms is crucial. Common culprits include spicy or greasy foods, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods with additives or preservatives – experiment with eliminating these triggers from your diet to determine which ones affect you personally.

Proper hydration is essential for optimal digestion as well. Drinking enough water throughout the day helps soften stool and prevent constipation.

Practicing mindful eating can significantly improve digestion. Chew each bite thoroughly and savor the flavors of your food. Eating slowly allows your body time to digest meals properly.

By implementing these simple yet effective dietary changes into your routine, you can support your digestive system’s overall well-being and experience relief from common gastrointestinal issues.

Yoga Lifestyle for Digestive Disorders

Adopting a yoga lifestyle can make a significant difference when managing digestive disorders. Yoga is not just about physical exercise; it encompasses a holistic approach to well-being. By incorporating certain principles into your daily life, you can promote better digestion and alleviate the symptoms of digestive disorders.

Practicing mindful eating is crucial in maintaining healthy digestion. Slow down and savor each bite, paying attention to your food’s taste, texture, and aroma. Avoid distractions such as screens or rushing through meals. Chew your food thoroughly to aid in proper digestion.

In addition to mindful eating, stress management is vital in promoting digestive health. High levels of stress can exacerbate symptoms of digestive disorders. Incorporating relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises or meditation into your routine can help reduce stress levels and improve overall digestion.

Maintaining regularity with meal times also supports healthy digestion. Our bodies thrive on routine, so we eat meals consistently daily. This helps regulate our body’s natural rhythm and aids in optimal digestive system functioning.

Furthermore, staying hydrated throughout the day is essential for good digestion. Water helps break down food particles and keeps things moving smoothly through our gastrointestinal tract.

Getting enough sleep is crucial for overall well-being, including gut health. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night to ensure your body has time to repair and rejuvenate.

By incorporating these aspects into your daily life alongside regular yoga practice specifically targeting digestive health (such as twists or gentle inversions), you can support optimal digestion and experience relief from various digestive disorders.


Mindfulness Meditation for Healthy Eating

In today’s fast-paced world, we often eat on the go or indulge in unhealthy food choices. This can take a toll on our digestive system and overall well-being. However, there is a practice that can help us cultivate healthier eating habits – mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness meditation involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Regarding eating, this means being fully aware of what we put into our bodies and how it makes us feel. By practicing mindfulness during meals, we can develop a deeper connection with our food and make more conscious choices.

During mealtime, try to eliminate distractions such as TV or smartphones. Take a few deep breaths before you start eating, and focus on each bite’s taste, texture, and smell. Chew slowly and savor every mouthful. Notice any sensations in your body as you eat – whether full or satisfied.

By incorporating mindfulness into our eating routine, we become more attuned to our body’s hunger signals and can better regulate portion sizes. It also helps prevent mindless snacking or emotional overeating by bringing awareness to the reasons behind these behaviors.

Practicing mindfulness meditation for healthy eating supports digestion and promotes an overall sense of well-being. So next time you sit down for a meal, remember to be present – savoring each bite with gratitude!


Yoga can be a powerful tool in managing and alleviating digestive disorders. Individuals with digestive issues can find relief and improve their overall well-being by incorporating specific poses that target the gut, practicing mindful eating, and adopting a yoga lifestyle.

It is important to remember that while yoga can benefit digestive health, it should not replace medical advice or treatment. Always consult a healthcare professional if you are experiencing chronic or severe digestive symptoms.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

5 thoughts on “Yoga for Digestive Disorders – Colitis”

  1. Rita your articles are very inspiring. So far I have learned a lot from all related articles you do. Keep it up hopefully we will meet one day at your yoga workshops.

    With love and light

  2. Please write an article about kriya yoga, which has been famously and elaborated and described by paramahamsa yogananda in his book autobiography of yoga. Hope you will satisfy my interest.

  3. Dear Dr. Rita, Many thanks and greetings from Mexico. This article is very useful to integrate in my Yoga teaching practice. Lots of people cope with these stressing disorders. Practicing Yoga should be part of an integrative well based program to get rid of colitis.

  4. Relaxation has very therapeutic effects, as digestion really works when we are calm and the parasympathetic nervous system is predominant. Really this is very informative article.

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