Yogis believe that the stomach is the birthplace of all the disease in our body and mind. They believe in internal hygiene of the system by the practice of Kriyas (cleansing techniques). The one who eats moderately enjoys the good health physically and attains mental poise.
Gas in stomach can be extremely discomforting and often, embarrassing. Understanding its symptoms and causes and various methods of alleviating the problem, may be beneficial for all those who suffer from this problem.
Gas in stomach is not uncommon. Bloating, burping and passing gas are natural and are usually caused due to excess air or gastroenteritis.
When gas and gas pains interfere with your daily activities, it may be an indication of something serious. Find out how to reduce or avoid gas and gas pains, and when you may need to take measures to find out the cause. With a regular yoga practice, one develops discipline and control in the body and the mind to overcome this problem.
The digestive system is made up of the digestive tract—a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus—and other organs that help the body break down and absorb food.
Organs that make up the digestive tract are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine – also called the colon – rectum and anus. Inside these hollow organs is a lining called the mucosa. In the mouth, stomach, and small intestine, the mucosa contains tiny glands that produce juices to help digest food. The digestive tract also contains a layer of smooth muscle that helps break down food and move it along the tract.
Food is chewed and mixed with saliva in the mouth, and passes through the esophagus the food pipe to the stomach. Food is pulped up and mixed with the gastric juices in the stomach. From the stomach, it is sent to the small intestines, the longest part of the digestive tract, where the food is mixed with the intestinal juices, digested and absorbed.
Two “solid” digestive organs, the liver and the pancreas, produce digestive juices that reach the intestine through small tubes called ducts. The gallbladder stores the liver’s digestive juices until they are needed in the intestine. Parts of the nervous and circulatory systems also play major roles in the digestive system.
Food is further processed by the large intestines, the ascending, transverse, descending and pelvic colon. Here the water is absorbed from the residues to form semisolid stools; and finally reaching the rectum and anus, which expel the semisolid stools and gases from the digestive tract.
Bloating, burping and passing gas are also caused by swallowed air or the breakdown of food through digestion. By
The body expels excess air from the stomach by means of belching or burping.
It is possible to swallow excess air if you either eat or drink too fast, talk while you eat, chew gum or suck on hard candies, drink carbonated beverages, or drink through a straw.
The commonly known symptom is acidity, which is called acid reflux or gastro-esophageal reflux disease (“GERD”).
If stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, you may swallow repeatedly to clear the material, which can lead to swallowing more air and further belching. Some people swallow air as a nervous habit even when they are neither eating nor drinking.
When it becomes chronic, belching is related to inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), peptic ulcer disease or delayed stomach emptying (gastro paresis).
Gastroenteritis is commonly called as stomach flu. This is not like influenza, the real flu, which affects the respiratory system like the nose, throat and lungs. Gastroenteritis affects the intestines. It is an inflammation of the lining of the intestines caused by a virus, bacteria or parasites.
It spreads through contaminated food or water, and contact with an infected person. The most common problem with gastroenteritis is dehydration. This happens if you do not drink enough fluids to replace what you lose through vomiting and diarrhea.
Normally, people recover without treatment, when one feels bouts of excess bloating, belching and gas in the stomach. But one needs to consult a doctor if these symptoms continue.
• Nausea or vomiting
• Severe, prolonged or recurrent abdominal pain
• Bloody stools
• Weight loss
• Fever, weakness
• Chest pain
Excess air or burping is caused by air swallowed while eating. Some medical conditions like allergies or sinus infections may also cause increasing amount of air getting into the stomach.
• Eating or drinking too quickly
• A gastrointestinal infection, blockage or disease
• Stress or anxiety, Smoking
• Chewing gum, Drinking through a straw
• Lactose intolerance and indigestion
• Irritable bowel syndrome, a condition characterized by abdominal pain or cramping and changes in bowel function
Yoga therapy for the digestive system is done through the practice of asana, pranayama and kriyas.
Standing upright without active movement of abdominal and diaphragmatic muscles could cause sagging of the organs in the abdominal cavity. This could cause bloating, burping and passing gas in the stomach. An asana practice with various muscles action helps to overcome these problems. For instance, a practice of inverted pose promotes good venous return, and viscera which could be sagging in normal upright position due to flabby musculature. Going upside down helps to expel the unwanted gases from the large intestines. In addition, sitting, twisting and supine asanas bring movement to the pelvis and massages the abdominal organs.
Pranayama keeps the diaphragm very active, which in turn keeps the digestive organs healthy and active. Practice of Kunjali Kriya is a very simple way to wash the stomach properly.
Kunjali Kriya ( Stomach Washing Technique)
1. Take some lukewarm water with or without salt. Salty water induces a natural reaction to throw up.
2. Drink a medium sized glass of water; and continue with one after another as rapidly as possible. Drink continuously until full. Then drink a little more so that throwing up becomes spontaneous.
3. For some people, even at this stage, it is difficult to throw up. To induce the action, bend forward with back straight, keeping one hand on the waist or thigh, either with straight or bent knees.
4. Open the mouth and place two or three fingers on the top of the tongue. Gently slide the fingers along the surface of the tongue towards the back of the throat. This induces the water to flow out. Remove the fingers when water starts to expel.
Benefit: This kriya helps clean the stomach of impurities. It gives the best wash possible to the digestives system from the stomach to the mouth.
Note: People suffering from stomach ulcer, hernia, high blood pressure and heart conditions should not do attempt this.
Vajrasana (Diamond Pose)
1. Kneel down on the floor with knees close, thighs parallel, hip width apart.
2. Rest the buttock either on the mat or on a block.
3. The feet are kept by the sides of the thigh with toes pointing back touching the mat.
4. Either rest the palms on the knees or stay in chin mudra on the thighs for a few breaths.
5. Interlock the fingers and stretch the arms straight over the head with palms facing up.
6. Stay in the pose for 1-3 minutes with deep breaths.
Benefit: This pose can be done even after food and will relieve heaviness in the stomach.
Janushirasana ( Head to Knee Pose)
1. Sit in Dandasana with legs stretched in front.
2. Bend the left knee and drop it to the left side. Place the left heel at the perineum and touch the sole at the inner right thigh.
3. Stretch the arms forward and hook the right foot with both palms on either side.
4. Keep the back straight and tighten the knee to keep the leg straight. Bend the knee if the back is hunched.
5. Exhale, move the trunk forward by bending and widening the elbows, and rest the forehead, then the nose and the chin. 6. Stretch the back fully, pulling the trunk forward and resting the elbows on the sides of the shin.
7. Stay in the pose with deep breaths for 30 seconds to a minute.
8. Inhale, raise the head, the trunk and the arms up.
9. Repeat the pose on the other side.
Benefit: This pose compresses and massages the abdominal organs and helps in expulsion of gases.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Lord of the Fishes Pose)
1. Sit with legs straight in front.
2. Bend the right knee and bring the right heel near the perineum (or slightly forward for beginners).
3. Place the left palm on the right outer knee and turn the spine completely towards the right side.
4. Inhale, raise the left hand; exhale, bend the elbow and press it against the right thigh. Keep the right hand behind on the floor.
5. Inhale, raise the chest up straight, keeping both shoulders level.
6. Exhale, turn the trunk to the right side, squeeze and focus on the abdomen. Stay for 20 to 30 seconds.
Benefits: This pose massages the abdominal organs and improves the flexibility of the spine. It helps in reducing the size of the abdomen. The liver and the spleen are contracted and so are toned and cease to be sluggish.
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
1. Lie down on the stomach with arms on the side.
2. Exhale, bend the knees, stretch the arms back and hold both ankles.
3. Exhale, pull the legs with knees above the mat, while lifting the chest up simultaneously. Let the abdomen bear the bodyweight, while arching the back.
4. Stay for five breaths or 20-30 seconds. Observe the abdominal organs pressed on the floor.
5. Exhale, release the pose and relax.
Benefit: This asana tones the spine and the abdominal organs. The intestine benefits from this asana.
Pavanamuktasana (Wind Relieving Pose)
1. Lie down on the back with legs stretched out and arms on the side.
2. Inhale deeply and bring one knee to the chest. Wrap the arms around the knee and clasp the fingers together. Either interlock the fingers or hold the opposite elbows.
3. Exhale, lift the head, and bring the chin towards the chest. Press the tailbone and lower back should to the ground. Try to touch the forehead to the knee. Feel the stretch along the length of the body from the legs to the back.
4. Take a few deep breaths and hold this pose for five breaths. The breaths should be deep from the belly, so that the belly presses against the thighs on inhalation.
5. Exhale, release the pose and repeat on the other leg.
6. Do the pose once with both knees bent.
Benefit: This helps to get rid of any gases that are trapped in the large intestine. It provides a gentle massage to the organs of the digestive system.