OK, let’s get down to yoga’s skillful means of increasing happiness–in this case
assistance with the removal of gaseous formations within the digestive tract.
Usually the result of a brew of food, consumed liquids and gastric juices
(collectively, the great word “chyme”), exacerbated by sedentary behavior,
digestive gas can build up in the stomach and/or intestines in a way that hinders
healthy peristaltic action. These gas “bubbles” can be uncomfortable, relieved
only by burping (an upward movement) or “breaking wind” (a downward
movement). If relief does not occur, this lack of movement can result in
increasingly uncomfortable constipation.
Yoga asana is a quite practical and direct approach to living in the world, and
several postures and related movement can often lead to remarkable results
when it comes to removing unwanted gas. Quite aptly referred to as “wind
relieving” poses, various positions that focus on squeezing, churning and twisting
the abdominal area promote escape of these gases (while also promoting healthy
digestion overall). Grasping and ungrasping (pumping) your front thighs to your
chest (“apana” pose), raising one knee at a time toward your nose (and strongly
extending the other leg’s heel), spinal twists like “big toe” pose and Lord of Fishes,
and even bridge pose and “two-legged table pose”, are almost guaranteed to
supplement and stimulate peristaltic action and remove gas to outside the body.
Not surprisingly perhaps, a strong downward dog can be a dramatic finale to a
series of these postures, often producing an audible announcement of success.
Accordingly, if shy, it’s often best to concentrate on these exercises in private
although its perfectively acceptable to make a not overly flamboyant sound in
class if followed by a quiet yet cheerful “Excuse me”.
Just an aside: Pursuant to my curious inquiry about her “secret” to long life, a very
healthy 90 plus year-old woman, not familiar with yoga, recently told me that she
grasps her knees to her chest and rocks sideways, back and forth, “at least 50
times” before she gets out of bed each morning. Said she had done this for over
60 years and attributed much of her good health to the practice. Another example of how yoga can be practice anywhere and be adopted into everyday routine. Try it sometime!
Kerry Wilson 3.3.22