IBS Disease and Yoga, Yoga poses for the Large Intestine
Significance of Large Intestine
Large intestine is named so as it is larger than the small intestine in girth. Around six feet in length the large intestine begins at cecum, the point where the small intestine increases in width and transforms into the large intestine. The change in its width happens due to certain specific requirements of the last leg of the digestion process; as it is shorter in length it has to widen up to increase the inner absorption area which is required to absorb the residual extra water, salts coming along with the contents of digestion from the small intestine. Digestion of fiber and production of certain vitamins - vitamin K, and biotin by the action of certain bacteria on the contents of digestion - and their absorption also takes place within this section of the intestine. The large intestine turns the undigested contents into stools with the right consistency for being expelled out of the anus. The Large intestine runs like a convoluted garland across the abdomen beginning at the lower right abdomen and moving up till it reaches under the diaphragm ( ascending colon), from it turns left and extends across the entire width of the abdominal cavity till it reaches its upper left corner ( transverse colon), from where it bends downwards and descends into the lower pelvis ( descending colon). The short last edge of the large intestine is S shaped and is known as the sigmoid colon which ends into the rectum. The rectum stores the stools reached here for some time before finally expelling them out of the anus.
The large intestine is internally lined with a layer of columnar epithelial cells, and is smoother in contrast to the convoluted inner surface of the small intestine. This inner layer is known as mucosa and is kept lubricated by the secretions form special glands which protect it against the friction of the moving coarser food particles. Blood vessels and nerve endings are congealed with the connective tissue form the next layer called submucosa which lies over mucosa. The submucosa is layer above with another layer of muscle cells called the muscular is, The muscle fibers present in this layer contract and relax alternately to provide forward movement, peristalsis, to the digested food particles. Serosa is the outermost layer of the large intestine which again remains lubricated from different glandular secretions in order to ward off friction from the surrounding visceral organs. The food stays in the large intestine for hours before its remnants are ready for expulsion as stools. In case one ingests larger meals in one go the process of peristalsis – forward movement of the food is accentuated naturally in order to make room for the incoming larger quantities of food. Inflammatory bowel syndrome, colonrectal cancer, diverticulitis, constipation , and diarrhea are some of the common disorders of the large intestine.
Yoga for intestinal problems
The health of the large intestine is pivotal to the overall health of the body. All the asana that comprise the yoga for bowel movement involve contracting the muscles of the abdomen which tones up the muscles of the large intestine. This increases the efficiency of the muscle group which induces peristalsis necessary for the forward movement of the contents of the digestion, a healthy peristaltic movement benefits by keeping the large intestine clear of any blockages leading to constipation. The gut is very sensitive to the emotional upheavals one experiences in the mind. Rather the impact of certain negative emotions like fear, stress, and anxiety is first experienced at the nerve plexus surrounding the large intestine - Manipuri chakra – which disrupts the normal functions of the gut. Constipation happens when the stress of the disturbed emotions felt in the abdomen jams the process of peristalsis leading to a blocked gut. Yoga poses for the large intestine when paired with the corresponding pranayama help by keeping the gut relaxed and moving. Yoga asana for irritable bowel syndrome works by toning up the nerve roots of the autonomic nervous system along with keeping the nervous system relieved of any impending stress, disturbances in the relay of autonomic nerve impulses along with the presence of stress create conducive environment for the symptoms of IBS.
IBS disease and yoga go together as the pranayama for IBS along with gently flowing yoga asana movements support weight loss, obesity being one of the main causative factor of IBS. Yoga for swelling in intestine helps by overhauling the functioning of the two valves, one located at the entry point into the large intestine the ileocecal valve, and the other situated at the end of the large intestine the Houston valve. Any blockages in these valves will keep the digestive contents trapped ahead of them causing the related swelling in the intestines. The role of yoga in IBS gains significance from the fact that yoga for a healthy sympathetic nervous system keeps the uncalled for irritation of the nerves around the large intestine , known to cause IBS, in check which helps sooth the condition.