Rekindling the digestive fire

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Continuing from the last issue, we will build on the postures that work to strengthen and ensure smooth functioning of the digestive system. Our digestive system is governed by the Manipoorak chakra, which is the storehouse of power for the body. It is extremely essential to strengthen and rejuvenate it to ensure health and longevity. These asanas work wonders in conditions of indigestion, constipation, acidity, excessive wind, lack of appetite, diabetes, disorders of reproductive system and varicose veins.

Note: For all asanas, keep your eyes closed and internalize as it will help in keeping your awareness on the body part that is being worked upon. Maintain ujjai breathing and synchronise the movement with your breath. The effect of all these asanas becomes manifold when practiced with your Guru who channelizes energy into each asana.

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Janu Naman (knee bending) – For this asana, sit with your legs stretched out in front of you keeping the feet together. Recline your torso backwards to make a 60-degree angle with the ground. Palms are placed on the floor next to your hips and the arms are slightly bent. Exhaling, bend the right knee bringing it close to your chest and inhaling stretch it forward about 20 cm from ground. Without resting the heel or toe on the floor, repeat the movement seven times. Next, repeat with the left leg. And finally, with both legs together. Those unable to maintain the posture may rest their elbows on the floor.This is a strenuous practice and should not be attempted by people with weak abdominal muscles, back conditions, high blood pressure or heart conditions.

Jhulana Ludakana (rocking & rolling) – Lie down on your back. Bend you legs to bring the knees close to your chest. Wrap your arms around the shins, just below the knees. Now roll the body seven times from side to side letting the side of the legs touch the floor. Maintain ujjai breath. Next rock the body forward and backwards on the spine seven times. This asana massages the back, buttocks and hips and is extremely beneficial when performed first thing in the morning. The asana should be performed on soft ground or padded mat to avoid hurting the back, while rocking and rolling, the head should be kept forward. People with severe back ailments should not perform this asana.

Naukasana (boat pose) – This asana works wonders for the muscular, digestive, nervous, endocrine and circulatory systems, massages all organs and eliminates lethargy. For naukasana, lie flat on your back  with legs stretched and feet together. The hands are stretched, palms close to the hips and facing downwards. Exhale and raise your legs, arms, shoulders, head and trunk off the floor. The shoulders and feet should be about 20cm from the ground with the entire body resting on the buttocks. The spine and neck make one straight line. The arms are held at the same level and in line with the toes (see image). Hold this posture for a count of seven. Inhaling, come down. Repeat seven times.

Caution: Patients suffering from high blood pressure, serious heart conditions, or having undergone recent abdominal surgery should avoid these asanas.

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