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Yoga for Digestive Disorders

Mr. S presented himself to us with repeated episodes of peptic ulcer, which was flaring up almost once or twice a year, for 8-10 years. The problem began with pain in the abdomen, acidity, gas, and belching, lasting a few weeks initially and controlled each time by allopathic medication. But, the problem recurred year after year. The year when the ulcer did not trouble him, he would have bowel problem with a lot of flatus, abdominal cramps and a feeling of incomplete emptying of bowel. Colonoscopy would reveal no abnormality and treatment would give him relief.

How does yoga understand this? All these physical complaints are at the Annamaya Kosa. Looking at the life style of Mr.S, it was very clear that these periods of bowel upsets were always due to tension both in his business and family.

He said, "Doctor, I know that I am a very sensitive person; I have high ambitions; I am a hard worker (almost a workaholic) and I get irritated if my employees do not come up to my expectations. Being sentimental, when I have emotional conflicts with my wife, parents etc., and because I do not want to hurt them, I keep all my feelings to myself. Of course the business is so demanding that my timings for food and sleep also become erratic. My system has learnt to somehow cope up with all these and be very successful and productive. But there are periods when these situations get beyond my capacity to cope. Then I end up with problems either in the stomach or the bowel which further deteriorates the quality of my life; I get into a viscous cycle, ending up taking medicines for weeks".


Sthiti: Tadasana


  • Stand with the legs 2 to 3 feet apart, bend forwards slightly from the waist and place the palms on the thighs with the arms straight.

  • Make yourself quite comfortable in this position.

Stage I: Uddiyana Bandha

  • Exhale completely through the mouth by vigorously contracting the abdominal muscles.

  • Simultaneously press the hands against the thighs, tighten the arms, shoulders, neck muscles and lift up the ribs.

  • As a result of this, the diaphragm automatically rises up, producing a concave depression of the abdomen. The abdominal wall gets sucked in as if to press the spine.

  • Hold this condition as long as comfortable.

  • Then inhaling slowly release the abdominal muscles and return to the upright position.

  • Rest for a while and then go for the next round.

  • Repeat 5 rounds.

Stage II: Agnisara

  • In the position of Uddiyana Bandha, move the abdominal wall in and out vigorously like a pump as many times as you can (while holding the breath in exhalation).

  • This movement of the abdominal wall is done through mock inhalations & exhalations i.e., it seems as if one is inhaling and exhaling whereas it is not so.

  • Then stop the movement of the abdominal wall, release the bandha and while inhaling come up to Tadasana and relax.

  • Repeat a few times.

This article has been written by Dr. R. Nagarathna, Dean, Division of Yoga & Life-sciences, SVYASA
This article is published online courtesy
and Arogyadhama

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