This Month’s Theme: Strength in Yoga and How to Eat for Strength

Dec 6, 2022 | Digestion, Twists

One inspiring cue:

ARDHA MATSYANDRASANA
Twist to your right first and take medium-length breaths. Feel your breath expand into the left-side rib cage and lung area a little more.

Why?
It can be challenging to take deep breaths when twisting. By taking medium-length breaths, you may find more calm and ease in the twist. According to Helgrid Randolph, a Denver-based Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher, there is a correct way to twist first: to the right! She says, “Twisting helps move stool through your colon, which contains four main parts; the ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, and sigmoid colon, all named for the way your colon moves waste toward your rectum. An initial twist to the right widens the ascending colon, which gets stool moving up and across the transverse colon. Then, a twist to the left encourages stool to move down the descending colon, into the sigmoid colon, and toward elimination.”

Note for everyone, but especially for my bone-healthy friends that have osteopenia or osteoporosis: make sure when you twist, you keep your spine long and only twist 50-75% into the pose. Never push it! If you have osteoporosis, I suggest working with an instructor that knows about bone health before you practice deep twists.

One inspiring tip:

Sit on a yoga block when you twist. I always use a block for the extra length and comfort it gives me. Try twisting in Ardha Matsyandrasana with and without a block and notice the difference in the way it feels!

One inspiring song:

“Revival” by Rob Ricardo

One inspiring quote:

“Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours.”
– Swedish proverb

Nutrition nugget:

CHEW YOUR FOOD!

I know most of us like to indulge in some delicious food and desserts over the holiday season. You know my motto: it’s all about balance!

I’ve discussed the importance of chewing your food before, but I will share some more interesting nuggets this week so you can see how important it really is! In a nutshell, when digestion requires less energy, there is more energy to be used elsewhere.

Did you know the breakdown of carbohydrates begins in your mouth with chewing? It is an essential first step of digestion. The smaller the food particles are when they arrive in your stomach, the easier the digestive process will be. This means less stress on your system, more energy for you, and better nutrient absorption. Here’s what WebMD has to say, “Chewing leaves food small enough for the gastric juices in the stomach to further degrade it and reduce it to microscopic size. This allows the nutrients and fluids to be absorbed into your gastrointestinal tract.”

Not only that, but some digestive enzymes are actually released in your mouth. “When food is chewed thoroughly, you also release a lot of saliva, which contains digestive enzymes. As you release these enzymes into the throat and stomach, it helps improve the digestive process.” (DoctorNDTV)

So chew your food well!

For regular Yoga and Nutrition Inspiration, please follow me on Instagram @pamudellyoga.

Find your balance this holiday season, and remember to slow down and savor the moments…even when you’re eating!