Lifestyle choices including eating, drinking, and exercising have a significant impact on the body’s digestive system. To simplify the complex network, the digestive system breaks down ingested food and drink, absorbs the vital nutrients for energy, growth, and cell repair, and processes the excess to be eliminated.
When the digestive system is imbalanced, some digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, and gas may wreak havoc on the body.
Headaches, back pain, food allergies, weight gain, and fatigue may also manifest from a stressed digestive system. Chronic health conditions can arise if digestive health is not prioritized. Thus, an efficiently functioning digestive system is pertinent for overall health and well-being.
The Chakra System and Your Digestive System
There are many great yoga practices to help the body get moving internally. Specifically focusing on the chakra system, the solar plexus chakra is most closely associated with digestion and excretion.
However, all the chakras can inspire a healthier and more balanced digestive system. Read below to find out more.
1. Muladhara/Root Chakra – Focus on Foods from Nature
Goals: Stability and grounding
Inspiration for improved digestion: Digestive functioning can be improved when eating whole foods and foods found in nature because of their general higher fiber and nutrient content. Additionally, soluble fiber (dissolves in water and forms a gel-like consistency) and insoluble fiber (does not dissolve in water) are helpful components for proper digestion.
Food for thought: Soluble fiber help control cholesterol and blood sugar levels and are found in oats, peas, apples, carrots, and barley. Insoluble fibers help regulate bowel movements and are found in nuts, beans, cauliflower, and wheat bran.
2. Svadhishthana/Sacral Chakra – Drink Water
Goals: Fluidity and pleasure
Inspiration for improved digestion: Without water, the digestive channel has difficulty carrying and breaking down food which leads to digestive problems. The more hydrated the body, the faster the turnover and flushing out of toxins.
Food for thought: While necessary water intake is unique per person, 8x8 is the usual recommendation and is easy to remember. Try drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
Adjust as needed to feel refreshed and hydrated. It can be helpful to take into consideration body weight, daily activity, and climate.
3. Manipura/Solar Plexus Chakra – Food Detox
Goals: Vitality and purpose
Inspiration for improved digestion: A detox can revitalize and fire up the internal digestive tract. Herbs steeped for tea and spices added to cooking are great ways to improve detox effects.
Food for thought: Aloe vera juice has anti-inflammatory properties which help soothe internal inflammation of the digestive lining as well as cleanse the digestive tract. Mint has also been linked to soothing the digestive system.
Ginseng increases immunity and helps the body release stress. Nutmeg is associated with regular bowel activity and turmeric can help cleanse the liver which works closely with the digestive system.
4. Anahata/Heart Chakra – Fermented and Probiotics
Goals: Balance and compassion
Inspiration for improved digestion: Good bacteria from fermented and cultured foods, as well as probiotics, help balance healthy gut flora (complex community of microorganisms living in the digestive tract) and eliminate bad bacteria. Additionally, fermented foods can increase uptake of nutrients and improve overall digestion.
Food for thought: Recommended foods include sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, fermented and pickled veggies, kimchi, and kombucha.
5. Visshudha/Throat Chakra – Mindful Eating
Goals: Clear communication and resonance
Inspiration for improved digestion: While good digestion starts in the mouth, healthy eating starts in the mind. Taking time to engage in higher states of mental awareness, changes the relationship and communication between the body and food.
Food for thought: Focus on balanced meals, quality over quantity, and slowing down the eating process. Slowly chewing food increases the effectiveness of saliva.
Saliva is important because it interacts with the food in the mouth to make it easily digestible as well as contains enzymes to start the breakdown of food and trigger the digestive process in the stomach.
6. Ajna/Third Eye Chakra – Reduce Stress
Goal: Accurate perception and interpretation
Inspiration for improved digestion: Emotions influence digestion Specifically, stress can induce heartburn and digestive inflammation as well as effect appetite. Stress can inhibit the digestive process and lead to chronic digestive issues.
Food for thought: After eating, try meditating in a cross-legged seated position. The seated position decreases blood flow to the legs and reverts it to the stomach to aid in digestion and the meditating helps manage stress in the mind and body.
7. Sahasrara/Crown Chakra – Listen to the Body
Goal: Wisdom and spiritual connection
Inspiration for improved digestion: Connection of the mind, body, and soul empowers the self to be able to listen to the body. In time, the mind and spirit will be able to recognize if the body is asking for food for nourishment or is craving something else and food is merely a distraction.
Food for thought: While the mind might want comfort foods when tired, the body often knows what it needs to correct imbalances on a macro- and micro-nutritional level.
Lastly, listening to the body empowers the self from within and helps decrease stress.
Hope you enjoy these chakra-inspired tips to improve digestion and find them useful. Feel free to share any tips for improved digestion with the community below!