March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month (I know, yippee!) and it’s time we pay some attention to the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the U.S. Besides getting screened for colorectal cancer, which is recommended for everyone over 50, and eating more fiber, there’s another thing you can do to help — YOGA! Here’s an easy and relaxing yoga pose that you can do to help your colon stay healthy and clean.
FYI: Your colon, which is about the same diameter size as your fist, is one of the major detoxifiers within your body and it absorbs nutrients that are important to your brain function. It’s the last part of the digestive system, and it extracts water and salt from food solids before they’re eliminated from the body. In other words, it’s VERY important!
How Yoga Helps
Yoga poses that involve twists help to cleanse your internal organs, eliminate toxins from your colon and boost digestion. According to Yoga Journal, yoga twisting poses constrict and squeeze your digestive organs so when the poses are released, fresh blood sweeps through your system, helping to clean your liver, kidneys and colon.
The Reclining Belly Twist (a.k.a. “Jatharaparivartanasana”) is a super relaxing pose that can help your colon. It also stretches and massages your abdominal organs, including the intestines, liver, stomach, pancreas, gall bladder, and urinary tract organs (the kidneys and bladder). Your shoulders, neck, and back are also stretched.
All you need is a little space on the floor and you’re good to go. Here are the steps:
On the floor (not bed), lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest. Bring your arms out to a “T” on the ground with your palms facing up. Keep your knees together and let your knees fall to your left side, all the way to the floor. Make sure your hamstrings are parallel to your arm so that your thighs and shins create a 90° angle.
Bring your left palm to the top of your right knee and keep your right arm extended straight. Turn your head to the right (to the opposite side as your legs) and relax into this pose for at least one minute. BREATHE.
Step 4 – Advanced
Repeat this pose extending your legs all the way out so that your legs and torso form a 90° angle. This gives a little extra stretch.
You can also try this pose with the top leg bent and the bottom leg straight.
Tip: If it’s hard to release your knees and shins to the floor in this pose, try placing a blanket under your knees for elevation.
Keep in Mind…
The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older. Colorectal cancer screening saves lives! If everyone who is 50 years old or older were screened regularly, as many as 60% of deaths from this cancer could be avoided.