The simple magic of yogic breathing techniques
The right practice of Yogic breathing techniques is powerful and can be used as a support but also as an alone standing therapy. In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing system, many breathing techniques are known in their effectiveness to heal certain ailments and are used as treatment. For thousands of years Yogis have used their breath to maintain excellent health up into great age. In every tradition the breath is essential and used to attain higher consciousness, deep insights into the workings of nature and revelations about individual development. The body starts to harmonize and ignites self-healing processes. Not only in digestive disorders, but overall spontaneous healing is a common occurrence in spiritual practices like Pranayama.
The belly and the mind
In Asia people say, the soul resides in the belly. Thus, Buddhas are often depicted with big a belly which should symbolize the vastness and maturation of Buddha´s consciousness. The old Greeks had the saying: “Healthy belly, healthy person!” which shows a deep understanding of mental, physiological and sanitary implications of the belly health. When we experience digestive disorders, it always affects the whole system. The resorption of nutrition is impaired, we might feel pain and discomfort and our microbiome is disturbed. In case of food poisoning the body handles the problem fast and vigorous, after some time we feel well again. Bigger problems occur when a disbalance of the digestive system pertains. The microorganisms in our colon are responsible for the right digestion, the intake of nutrients (minerals, Vitamins, Enzyme, protein, sugar, carbohydrates…) and most of all: how we feel and act! Whenever the ecosystem in our belly changes, we can feel the effects in all our body and in our mind.
Our belly has a brain on its own. It sores memories and emotions as well as chemical information. Our belly is the home of billions of microorganisms that work in an orchestrated manner towards our optimal health. The “belly brain”, solar plexus in connection with the vagus nerve tells our brain about the state of our digestive system, all the benevolent inhabitants, possible pathogens and state od our internal organs. It is imperative that our behaviour has to be guided by belly orders. We would starve or forget to go to toilet if the connection wasn´t there. With an imbalance in the microbiome our behaviour can alter tremendously.
Digestive and psychosomatic problems
On the other hand, whenever we feel overwhelmed and the stress hormones pile up in our body it influences the digestion. With stress we trigger our autonomous nervous system to create a biochemical environment that helps us to fight or flee (fight-and-flight reaction). Digestion and healing processes as well as elevated thinking are stopped to react to the stressor at hand. When we dealt with the situation and can relax again, the digestion and recovering processes restart. But whenever we don´t have a physical output to release the energy, it accumulates in our body and keeps on impairing our digestion. In constant stress, we cannot recover, often even the sleep is impaired and our whole system functions only one-sided. The effects on the digestive system are various and rage from acute to chronic.
Digestive Problems you can treat with Pranayama
In many cases we recommend to our students to combine the Pranayamas with nutrition changes and detoxification to achieve the best results in shorter time. The magical effects of Pranayama are easy to understand when we take a look at the intelligence of our body. Long-term stress causes the belly to malfunction, so we have to reduce the stress and allow our body to apply self-healing mechanisms as it is supposed to. So, one step is to remove the stressors and blocks to a healthy system. Secondary, Pranayama has an extreme detoxifying effect (caution when you´re pregnant). With the right application you can transport pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi), toxins and blocks in the supply system out of the body. Over repeating practices, we train our body to remember how to self-regulate in a healthy manner and give space for healing and nourishing processes.
Biohacking - Yogic Style.
The mind as the greatest healer
In case there is no physical trait in the belly (asymptomatic problems), we can address the discomforts via our mind, let go of the stress that constricts our abdominal functions. With the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system we trigger our Nervous Vagus to execute the downregulating mechanisms in body and mind. Not only the digestion will improve but also the heart rate declines and the immune-function increases. The mind is the origin of thoughts which causes behaviour. So that the behaviour can become real we need a physiological output, a biochemistry which represents our mental activity. With Pranayama we learn how to control the mind, the flow of energy and can prevent stress-related problems or epigenetic effects.