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Yoga is not simply a set of exercises, but a lifestyle. When practicing yoga, asanas and nutrition go hand in hand to improve your quality of life. Your digestive system, immunity and energy levels are directly linked to the food you intake. If there is a problem with any of these, yoga asanas can help resolve it.
- Digestion: Not all food is easy to digest. Instead of popping laxatives and antacids after every meal, change the food you're eating. Citrus fruits and leafy vegetables that are rich in fiber aid digestion and prevent constipation. Some foods like yogurt, bananas and garlic are probiotics that support the growth of gut bacteria and keep your stomach healthy. Also include carminatives or foods that prevent the formation of gas like cumin, ginger and oatmeal.Yogic asanas such as the spinal twist, Apanasana and Paschimottanasana can help smoothen the digestive process.
- Immunity: Eating the right food can help boost your immunity. Citrus fruits are rich sources of vitamin C that directly strengthen the immune system. Herbs like turmeric, ginger and garlic are rich in antioxidants and linked to the prevention of a number of diseases including several types of cancer. Proteins also help nourish your immune system and hence should not be ignored. A combination of asanas and yogic breathing techniques can help boost your immunity. Some asanas to try include Viparita Karani, Bhujangasana, Matsyasana and Adho Mukha Svanasana. These poses help lower stress and boost immunity by pumping rich oxygenated blood to all the parts of the body.
- Energy: The food you eat is turned into glucose to fuel the body and maintain a constant supply of energy. Soy and green leafy vegetables that are rich in iron can effectively boost your energy levels. Fruits like apples, bananas and oranges can also help increase your energy. Yogurt rich in magnesium does not directly contribute towards the creation of glucose but helps the body release this energy whenever needed. Yoga asanas help increase blood flow and increase the heart's capacity to pump blood through the body. A few yoga poses that can boost energy are the camel pose, tree pose and warrior asana.
- Relaxation: Sipping on a cup of green tea is a good way to end the day and relax. Other food like honey, milk, celery and oatmeal can also help calm the body and fight off the day's stress. Apart from being delicious, dark chocolate also releases hormones that ease stress and help relax a person.
Practising yoga breathing techniques like pranayama can effectively release tension. Supta Baddha Konasana, Viparita Karani and the Supta Matsyendrasana can also help increase energy levels.