Peristalsis is the involuntary smooth
muscular movement of food through your
digestive tract. It’s encouraged by the
relaxation response and physical
movement, as from yoga asana practice.
About 95 percent of your serotonin, a chemical
needed for mood regulation, is stored in and
partially controlled by your gut. “Gut brain” or
enteric nervous system (see right) dysfunction is
associated with gastrointestinal upset and irritable
bowel syndrome (IBS), depression, and anxiety.
Enteric nervous system (ENS)
Scientists have recently discovered the
semi-independent enteric nervous system
(ENS). These 100 million neurons may be
responsible for you feeling butteries in
your stomach from love or having an
intuitive gut feeling. Yoga enhances
your mind-body connection, so you
can feel what is going on in your gut
clearly. This interconnection may
explain how yoga can improve both
your digestion and mood signicantly.
Yogis often make conscious choices
about what they put into their body. An
ahimsa diet is one of nonharm. For many,
this means being a vegetarian to reduce
the suering of other animals. A largely
plant-based diet reduces your risk of heart
disease, cancer, and related major killers.
Scientists project that a mostly vegetarian
diet may reduce global mortality by 6–10
percent and cut food-based greenhouse
gas emissions by 29–70 percent—a huge
impact on the environment. Even small
dietary changes like a Meatless Monday
can make a big dierence.
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