We experience loss of appetite for various reasons. A major reason, according to the science of Ayurveda, is poor digestive fire or the Jataragni which is responsible for a healthy digestive system and total assimilation of food in the body. To generally have a good appetite, one needs to balance the Agni in the body. Agni could be sluggish in certain Dosha types like Kapha and excessively active in others like Pitta. Here we discuss some pro-digestion Yoga poses or Asanas that will do a world of good to your near-absent appetite. Hope you have healthy, organic snacks and veggies stacked in your kitchen cabinet because, after this Yoga routine, you are likely to feel veyr very hungry!
1) Kapal Bhati or Skull Shining Technique
Steps to Do it
• Keep your spine erect and sit comfortably in Sukhasana or easy pose.
• Place your palms on the knees, facing the ceiling.
• Take a deep long breathe in and
• Exhale, while pulling in your stomach. In this step, pull your navel all the way back towards your spine. The exhalation should be forceful and voluntary.
• You can place your right hand on your abdomen to feel the contract.
• After the forceful exhalation, the inhalation is automatic. When you relax the navel, the body breathes in automatically. You do not make an effort while breathing in.
• Once you breathe in, exhale and again pull your navel in as much as you can.
• Sit comfortably with your spine erect. Place your hands on the knees, palms open to the sky. Kapalbhati Pranayama
• Each round consists of 20 such breaths. Practice 3 such rounds.
• While doing the practice, keep your attention on the abdomen region.
Take 20 such breaths to complete one round of Kapal Bhati pranayama.
After completing the round, relax with your eyes closed and observe the sensations in your body.
Do two more rounds of Skull Shining breathing technique (Kapal Bhati pranayama).
Who should not practice Kapal Bhati?
- Those with pacemaker or stents
- With backache
- Slip disc
- Abdominal surgery recently
- Recent pregnancy
This powerful Breathing technique or Pranayam can be learned in the Sri Sri Yoga program. The technique helps kindle digestive fire and thereby improve appetite.
3) Marjari Asana or Cat and Cow stretch
How to do it?
• Come on the knees.
• Place your toes on the floor, knees on the floor, about 2 feet apart
• Place your palms on the floor, in line with your shoulders and your back resembles the top of a table.
• Then as you breathe in, take your head up, push your naval down,
• As you breathe out, take your chin to the chest, and slowly pull your naval in.
• During this stretch, your attention should be on stomach and abdomen region
Repeat the cycle 5 times.
4) Relax in Child Pose or Balasana
How to Do it?
• Bend your knees and bring them to the floor along with your ankles.
• Hips on the legs, ankles on the floor, stretch out your hands in front.
• So your arms on the floor, forehead on the floor, chest is resting on your thighs, and your hips are resting on your legs near your heels.
• Relax here in this pose for 5-7 long deep breaths
3) Mandukasana or Frog pose
How to do it?
• Sit in Vajrasana
• Make a fist and hold your knuckles into each other and
• Place them between your thighs, close to your groin,
• Make sure the fingers are facing upwards towards the ceiling.
• Then slowly breathe in and look up and
• Then slowly breathe out.
• As you breathe out, slowly squeeze your stomach in and bend forward completely.
• You will feel the tension in your abdomen and pancreas. Stay here for 5-7 long deep breaths
4) Uttan Mandukasana
How to do it?
• Come in Vajrasana (as shown in the picture).
• While in the pose, stretch out and open both the knees on the sides, such that they are facing opposite direction.
• Both the palms on the shoulder blades, both the elbows facing the ceiling. The knuckles are in the same position as in Mandukasana.
• We keep our thumbs touching each other and both the hands on the shoulder blades, both the biceps touching the ears.
• Stay in this posture for 5-7 breaths (or as you are comfortable with)
• Continue keeping your attention on the stomach and abdomen region. You will feel the stretch in the region.
Sun salutations increase the digestive fire in the body, activate the solar plexus and have tremendous other physical and spiritual benefits. While doing Surya Namaskar, keep in mind-
• During Surya Namaskar, you do not have to keep your attention on the stretches in the body. Simply take your mind towards your abdomen and stomach region.
• During any of the asana practices, you breathe in and expand the body and when you contract the body, you breathe out. Listen to your body and squeeze your stomach as much as possible.
• Every contract during Surya Namaskar, you must breathe out effectively and squeeze your stomach in as much as possible.
• Begin with 5-7 sets of sun salutations, that is, 10-14 rounds.
6) Tadasana or Palm Tree Pose
- Stand with about a feet distance between the legs.
- It should be in line with the shoulders.
- Stand straight and then as you breathe in,
- lift your hands up, make a Namaste pose with both the hands.
- And then slowly stretch the body up for 5-6 long deep breaths. Slowly relax the posture.
- Repeat this cycle 5 times
7) Yoga Nidra
Having felt the stretch in the abdomen and all other parts of the body, now it is time to rest and let the body cells relax. It is very important that after doing asanas, we either finish the session with a guided meditation of Yoga Nidra (Yogic sleep). Without proper rest after the asanas, you miss out on the most important experience of Yoga which is a deep spiritual rest that your body gets, after having exhausted the Rajas Guna in the body through focused activity.
(With inputs from Jai Desai, a Sri Sri Yoga corporate trainer for over a decade)
Disclaimer: This article is only for informational purposes. It is strongly recommended that you learn and practice these Asanas under the guidance and supervision of a trained and certified Sri Sri Yoga faculty.
Cat and Cow stretch http://www.backpaininfo.co/
Kapal Bhati www.charnamrit.com