October 25

Do poor digestion and an uncomfortable tummy get you down? Thought so…Yoga, Digestive Health & Self-Care

When we talk about a healthy ecosystem, what comes to mind? Nature, flora, fauna, habitats, natural environments? Probably. But humans also, as biological entities interacting with our environment and energetic fields, are an ecosystem. A quick google search provides the following description of an ecosystem:

''An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows''.

The inner biome of our bodies is composed of microbes that we need in order to survive. Likewise, the microbes need the environment our bodies provide to survive. Not only is it an ecosystem, it is a symbiotic ecosystem (Relman, 2013).

One can't exist without the other.

Recently, much research is emerging surrounding the way our gut health affects our mental health. However, information regarding this gut-brain axis is relatively new. As such, the ways we interact with our bodies in relation to our digestive habits are not always pro-healthy ecosystem. Especially given modern ideals around body image and a fast and processed food culture.

The body-mind connection

For thousands of years, practices such as yoga have honoured the body-mind connection. Today, scientific studies across the globe also verify the links between physical and mental health.

Happily, yoga is becoming a growing tool in healthcare, offering an intimate channel of learning as we explore the connections between how we feel, what we think, how we act, and how our bodies respond.

A central benefit of yoga practice is to empower individuals to learn about their own bodies and encourage:

  • self-care

  • self-healing

  • self-regulation

Not to mention being an extremely affordable self-care resource.

From a body-mind standpoint, it stands to reason that what we ingest and how we relate to our bodies will impact our minds and vice versa. However, it is only recently that scientists have appreciated the extent to which, specifically, the gut and the brain, are connected. Study after study now demonstrate how a happy gut is closely linked to a happy mind.

So it's good to give our tummies some attention both in what we eat, but also in how we interact with our bodies psychologically and physically.

Yoga, as a holistic practice, is an absolute dreamboat for providing the framework to ensure we are taking care of our bodies, minds, and energies as one beautiful, integrated expression of life.

For me, yoga is very much about a healthy ecosystem - body, mind, and soul. We must treat ourselves with self-compassion, self-care and self-love. That goes for how we view and treat our bodies and the way we think. Negative thoughts affect the way we feel about ourselves. We are programmed to compare, to put ourselves down, to aspire to be a version of 'perfect' when, the joke is of course, that perfect doesn't exist. Nor should it. I can't think of anything worse than millions of little 'perfect' barbie clones repeating themselves monotonously around the earth. So before that actually happens (!), let's celebrate our differences and the differences of others.

When we learn to love our physiques, backgrounds and personalities, and personal quirks, just the way we are, we are more inclined to treat our bodies with care. When our bodies are treated with care, we are more inclined to feel good about ourselves. All components have to be working together to ensure a harmonious balance. When balanced, we find even the most simple things are joyful and life starts to run more smoothly. This lifts our spirits and increases our energy levels.

The bottom line is:

  • If we don't take care of our gut, our mental health will be negatively affected.
  • If we don't take care of our mental health, our gut will be negatively affected.

This then affects our self-esteem, confidence, and general vivacity for life. Think nausea when you're nervous, or butterflies when you're anxious or excited. Growing research suggests that IBS is also connected to this issue. It's a two-way street!

So first, let's look at the science.

Functions of the digestive system and its relationship to the brain

Stomach or digestive discomfort can be the cause or product of conditions such as:

This is because there is a direct link between the gut and the brain.

When experiencing stress, depression, or anxiety, the body responds by directing energy, blood, and resources to the brain and muscles. Stress also produces the hormone cortisol, which further directs energy away from the digestive tract.

We essentially go into a state of fight or flight as opposed to rest and digest conducive to efficient digestion. In the former stress state, the body averts functionality away from digestion to focus on more pressing survival needs. The problem is, this is not generally helpful when under stress in the modern world ( Atlas Biomed, 2021 ).

Some ways the gut can respond to psychological stress are:

  • nausea
  • stomach aches
  • diarrhea
  • change in appetite
  • constipation (Foster, 2017).

How does the health of our gut affect our mood?

When the gut biome is inflamed or out of balance, signals are sent to the brain to help regulate the condition. This places stress on the microbiome by releasing chemicals and neurotransmitters which influence the functionality of the brain and can result in variances such as depression, anxiety, or low mood ( Clapp, 2017)

The vagus nerve provides an important link between our gut and our brain. The vagus nerve is a super interesting part of the autonomic nervous system and has both sensory and motor functions. It helps us breathe, digest, and swallow, as well as being partly responsible for decreasing the resting heart rate conducive to rest and digest. The vagus nerve helps regulate the connection between stomach health and mental health (Breit, 2018).

Yoga, mental and dietary health

So stress affects digestion. And digestive issues affect our mood and make us stressed! If not managed, it can be a real not-so-merry-go-round of psychological and physical discomfort.

There are ways we can alleviate both psychological stress and physical stress to encourage a healthy balance and maintain homeostasis.


Yoga is widely recognised as helpful in regulating mental health imbalances and reducing stress. Breathwork (pranayama) practices calm the central nervous system by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Movement (asana) brings the focus away from thoughts and into the physical body, this not only builds strength and flexibility in the body which translates to the mind, but it also brings a sense of presence. Presence helps us realise that right now, in this moment, we are ok. It reminds us that we can tap into this place of calm and peace inside us. Meditation brings clarity and headspace, again diverting from the 'monkey mind' toward tranquillity.

In relation to digestive health, yoga has multiple benefits. Asana can detoxify and promote health in our digestive organs through posture and breathwork. Furthermore, yoga is believed to improve circulation, reduce stress, and stimulate movement of the gastrointestinal tract (Healthline, 2021).

This 2021 study saw a marked improvement in constipation experienced by elderly people. A paper by Kavuri 2015 recommends yoga as a remedial therapy for diarrhea as a result of IBS. A further study that researched the application of body-mind therapies such as yoga in treating symptoms of IBS in young people found promising results.


Diet is of course up there in the healthy gut, healthy mind game. Yoga encourages us to eat a healthy, clean, plant-based diet. Its sister science, Ayurveda, is a renowned and widely adopted method of dietary health. A diverse diet is key, the greater range of bacteria in your gut, the healthier the ecosystem. Each bacteria play a different role in the body so eating a varied diet is important for maintaining and preserving gut health. A typical western diet lacks diversity and originates from a relatively small number of food sources. Furthermore, processed foods and consumables that travel vast distances to arrive in our supermarkets lack nutrients or contain additives and preservatives that can impact the microbiome (Miclotte, 2019)

Wholefoods, vegetables, legumes, beans, and fruit are high in fibre and nutrients whilst being low in saturated fats and refined sugars. Wholefoods are great because they contain non-digestible carbs which are processed in the large intestine and converted into healthy bacteria, increasing microbiome diversity.

Fibre is conducive to microbial health as it promotes Bifidobacteria which alleviates inflammation in the gut. Foods like apples, artichokes, blueberries, almonds, and pistachios are considered particularly beneficial.

Fermented foods, such as kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, yoghurt are great for reproducing 'good bacteria' in the digestive tract.

Closing Thoughts

To maintain a healthy ecosystem and sense of overall wellbeing, confidence, and happiness, looking after your gut is paramount.

  • Eat healthily and in moderation.
  • Consume a wide range of nutrients by diversifying your diet.
  • Avoid too many processed and fatty foods.
  • Eat slowly and mindfully.
  • Practice yoga and meditation to effectively digest and reduce stress by activating your parasympathetic nervous system.
  • Look after your mind by checking your thought patterns and the way you relate to yourself and your self-image.
  • Breathe deeply
  • Practice self-compassion

You have much more control over your mental and physical health than you might think. If low mood, negative body image, and limiting self-talk is something you struggle with,it may be helpful to consider your diet and ways of sending yourself that little bit of extra love and care through practices such as yoga.



Leave your questions here

To write a comment you must
Category filter
Concern filter
Type filter
All categories
Shamanic Healing
$10 USD
Light the Path to Your Desired Life

If you want find what is that in life that makes you happy and fulfilled you need to heal all levels of your existence- Body, Mind, and Spirit. We are all ener…

Change Naturopathy
New Zealand flag icon
Emotional Freedom Technique
$10 USD
The Power Of Emotional Healing - EFT Program

“The Power of Emotional Healing” is energy psychology education in the Emotional Freedom Technique with the perfect balance of information, instructions, video…

Dawn Cady
Australia flag icon
Art Therapy
$50 USD
Artist Teacher Workshop Or Tutoring

“Life Force” guiding our history, our body and spirits. Self portrait art, life drawing from the live model, gesture, and plein air painting. And extended cont…

Bryan Prillwitz
United States of America flag icon
Tarot Reading
$100 USD
Timeline Reading

EGYPTIAN TAROT READINGS using unique methods developed by Nelise Carbonare, a Brazilian healer with more than 40 years of experience in tarot consultations, as…

Nelise Carbonare
United States of America flag icon
Tarot Reading
$120 USD

THE SYNERGY OF THE PYRAMID focuses on a specific relationship: One side for the consultant and one for their partner. (the partner does not need to be present …

Nelise Carbonare
United States of America flag icon
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Pick one card

Many questions can be answer with just one Arcane.

Do you want to try?

Nelise Carbonare
United States of America flag icon
Personal Development Coaching
$50 USD
Spiritual Coaching - Removing Energy Blocks - Expansion

> “Who looks outside dreams. Who looks inside awakens.” Jung

Spiritual coaching is about moving you into a profound state of empowerment and involution m…

Kimla Rose (Kim Desrosiers)
United States of America flag icon
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Life Purpose and Soul Wisdom

What is your deeper truth, your deeper knowing, your MOJO, your deepest desires, those feelings that you can’t explain but that are so pure and so clear…or may…

Anna Beale
United States of America flag icon
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Your Missing Manual for Health & Life!

Are you constantly reading books, blogs and listening to podcasts trying to figure out what to do to be healthy?

With so much conflicting information out ther…

Pamela Malo
United States of America flag icon
Nutritional Therapy
$150 USD
Nutritional Therapy Consultation

Hi my name is Aria and I am the founder of Heal with Nutrition. I am a registered Nutritional Therapist and a Naturopath who has a passion on Nutrition and Hea…

Aria Alexandrou
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Tarot Reading
$10 USD

With a deep knowledge of hermeticism and being introduced to the kabbalah tradition of the emanation process from the tree of life, I provide a deep insight co…

James Marchiori
Ireland flag icon
Personal Development Coaching
$55 USD
The Bridge to Your Desired Life

This is were you get real help with your struggles and life challenges. As life gets harder to cope with, we tend to look for external ways to get through. And…

Mina Mikhail
United States of America flag icon
$10 USD
Intake Consult

short introduction consult to Integrative Medicine

Femke Neervoort
Netherlands flag icon
Career Coaching
$300 USD
Reset Coaching and Mentoring Programme

12 weeks of bi-weekly 90 minutes 1:1 Coaching and Mentoring. Total cost USD1800 (6x90minutes career coaching and mentoring session)

Are you returning to work …

Carla Martins
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Personal Development Coaching
$120 USD
Spiritual Life Coach Session-Personalized Session

Personalized Sessions

Because Everyone Is Unique

Client-centered sessions based on the area of focus requested by the client.

Each session is a LIVE Sessio…

Deborah Lucero
United States of America flag icon
$55 USD
Guidance, Inspiration & Healing

This type of session is a favorite among many of my clients, as it is often times one of the smoothest way to address a challenge to reach a happier and health…

Mina Mikhail
United States of America flag icon
$10 USD
Psychic Readings

I specialize in love, past present future, future, past life, general, tarot, dream interpretation, specific, social, and career readings! Book today for clari…

United States of America flag icon
Life Coaching
$399 USD
1-on-1 Coaching

The journey started with our discovery call, and You decided: ” I’m ready! Let’s do this!”.

We will engage in 1-on-1 coaching sessions for 90 minutes. In this…

Carla Martins
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
$88 USD
Ascension Mentor Support

In this session, we come together with similar to a healing session but face to face.

We talk about what issues you are facing at the moment and we delve deep…

Claire C.
Australia flag icon
Spiritual Healing
$177 USD
Energy Healing

I am honored to assist you with intuitive channeled energy healings that support and nurture you on a physical level as well soul and energetic level, each ses…

Claire C.
Australia flag icon
$375 USD
Usui Reiki 1st Degree Course

FIRST DEGREE COURSE - The ultimate Reiki course.

Have you ever wondered if you can heal? Have you felt a burning desire to help others? Then you’ve come to th…

Step Into Your Light - Christina Moore
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland flag icon
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Hand Analysis - Startup Session

What does a hand analysis do for me? ​

You will understand yourself and your life purpose. ​You will understand the roots of your triggers and reactionary be…

Brent Bruning, Master Hand Analyst
Switzerland flag icon
$10 USD
Sample Akashic Records Reading for Your Burning Issue

I connect to your Akashic Records and listen to what your guides want to bring to your conscoius attention at this time. Perhaps, it is an insight into why you…

Olga Aydınoğlu
Turkey flag icon
Shamanic Healing
$300 USD
Shamanic Healing Art

What is Shamanic Healing Art?

It is a physical artwork (usually a pastel drawing) I make for you based on the outcome of our online session. This artwork will…

Olga Aydınoğlu
Turkey flag icon