Mealtime Considerations: Yoga Practices to Support Digestion

Holistic health traditions explain that digestion is the keystone to good health, and how we approach meals and food is a key aspect of overall health. Tiffany Cruikshank explains why it’s recommended that we eat slowly and mindfully:

Digestion Begins Before Food is Placed in the Mouth

Much of our digestion begins before we even place the food in our mouth. Smells and thoughts send signals to our brain to prepare for what’s to come and our salivary glands start to secrete vital enzymes as our stomach and pancreas start to release acid and enzymes to assist in the processing of our food. When we eat too quickly, we can miss some of these vital steps, limiting the nourishment our body is able to draw from our food. As you begin your meal, take some time to pay close attention to your sensory experience. Notice the smells, textures, and tastes and allow yourself to be fully immersed in the process of slowly eating and experiencing the food. The practice is quite simple but easy to forget — slow down, experience all the senses, take in the full experience, and consider the nourishment you are consuming in gratitude. — Tiffany Cruikshank

Cruikshank suggests a pre-meal pranayama practice to let the nervous system transition to rest and digest mode before eating. See the link above for more information.