Ahh the New Year is finally upon us. I love this time of year. It’s the time to let go of old ways of being that no longer serve us, and start fresh. It’s a time of cleansing. Out with the old, and in with the good poo!
Yes. You read that correctly. In with the good poo.
Let’s be honest, for Ashtangis there is nothing better than a good, cleansing poop right before your morning practice. It makes the jump throughs easier, the backbends more graceful and the twists a little less stressful.
On the days when I don’t have a good Pre-Practice poop, I feel heavy and sluggish. I spend most of my practice thinking about the poop that could have been, and wondering when it will come. And if I’m being completely honest, I feel a bit disappointed. Pooping has really been important for me in practicing aparigraha.
Even though an absent morning poop can help us practice non-attachment, pooping regularly is important for our health, and our practice. That’s why this New Year we’ve got your back-side with some simple tips to improve your digestion and a fun challenge to go along!
How to improve your Poo this year!
Incorporating fermented foods is a great way to get more probiotics in to your diet. Probiotics are important for maintaining healthy gut flora, and helping restore balance in your digestive tract. They also help your body digest, absorb and use the nutrients it’s getting from the food you’re eating.
Some fermented foods include:
- Coconut Yogurt
With fermented food, a little goes a long way! You don’t need to go drinking bottles and bottles of Kombucha, or piling in the coconut yogurt every day. Simply being mindful of consuming a little bit everyday will do wonders for your digestion.
Good old fibre is important for bulking up our poop and keeps everything moving along smoothly down there. This is important because it helps to prevent things from building up in our colon and avoiding constipation.
Some high fibre foods include:
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Beans & legumes
- Brown rice
- Green veggies
Water is super important for digestive health, especially if you’re increasing your fibre intake. Think about it, you need a good combination of things that bulk up your stool, and things that help to move it along. Water helps to move things along in our digestive tract and helps to keep us regular.
There’s a bit of controversy when it comes to how much water you should drink per day. Some say 8 glasses per day, others say your body will send you signals when you need more water. Another way is a simple calculation. Take your body weight in lbs, and multiply it by .5 to get the number of ounces of water you should drink per day.
Example: 200lbs x .5 = 100 oz per day.
Spices promote good digestion
Incorporating a variety of spices into your diet can really support digestion! If you’re looking for more in-depth info on these spices, check out this article by Dr. John Douillard. You can use these spices in your food, or make a home-made tea blend.
5 Spices that have been shown to improve digestion are:
Many of these spices have been shown to decrease gas and bloating, stimulate digestion and improve transit time in the digestive tract. All these things will improve you poops this new year.
Poop Promoting Asanas
There are a variety of Asana’s which support digestion. Some asana put pressure on the digestive tract, and momentarily cut off blood flow. That might sound a little scary, but once the pressure is relieved, newly oxygenated blood flows to your digestive organs. You may have heard some teachers talk about “wringing out the toxins” in the twist, and that’s exactly whats happening.
If you want more support with these Asana’s, join Jelena and David as they “wring” in the new year with their Happy Poo Year challenge on Instagram! You could also join us in the Mysore room throughout the week to get your sweat and your poop on.
We’ve covered the things you should add in, now let’s take a look at what you should avoid to keep your poop game strong.
Things which can hinder digestion and pooping
While it isn’t the case for all people, many people experience symptoms such as bloating, gas and constipation when consuming dairy products. But if you’re a good Ashtangi you already don’t eat dairy, right?
If you’re unsure if dairy is causing you discomfort, try cutting it out for 1-2 weeks. If you notice a big difference in your digestion, I would suggest switching over to non-dairy alternatives like almond milk, nut-based cheese, and coconut yogurt.
Eating too many processed foods can contribute to bloating, gas, constipation, cramping and other GI issues. Ideally, we want to minimize the amount of processed food we are eating as part of a healthy diet, and to have a happy poo year. However, if you can’t completely eliminate these foods, try reducing them or pairing them with high fibre vegetables and whole grains to reduce these uncomfortable effects.
Refined or Artificial Sugar
Foods that use refined sugar, or worse artificial sweetener can often cause inflammation and bloating in the digestive tract, which ultimately leads to digestive issues and poor poops. The best way to manage this is to minimize your artificial sugar consumption and opt for natural sweeteners like maple syrup, or coconut sugar.
Here at AYCT, we are passionate about pooping, and we care about your digestive comfort. As a poop-positive studio, we encourage all our students to share freely about their poops. That’s why during this Happy Poo Year challenge, we are encouraging all participants to log their poops on a scale of 1-4 poop emojis. 1 is a bad poop day, and 4 is the best poop day you could possibly imagine. We want to know if the poses and suggestions we’ve made have had a positive impact.
We hope these suggestions were helpful! Let us know what you thought in the comments below.
Happy Poo Year Ashtangis!