How do you meditate? Some people like to sit in a chair for a few minutes to get a little downtime, while others prefer a yoga position. No matter which position you choose for meditation, ancient practices of the art can have some serious benefits to your gut health in the long term according to Hyperbiotics.
MEDITATION BENEFITS THROUGH THE CENTURIES
Meditation is widely thought to have originated in India close to 5,000 years ago. However, some new research is showing that primitive societies could have discovered the benefits of meditation much earlier, gazing into the flames of an open fire while they were sitting around it.
In today’s hectic world, researchers are discovering that meditation-and its extensive benefits-may be even more relevant than ever. While it was popularized by teachings of Buddha and later adopted by spiritual traditions all over the world for centuries, it is believed the benefits may be helpful physically as well as mentally.
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
The general definition of meditation is the practice of resting the mind with the goal of being able to achieve a deep mental rest which, in turn, fully embodying the present moment. It can mean different things to different people, but the outcome is the same.
There are millions upon millions of people around the world that meditate. The varieties of this contemplative practice can easily be tailored to an individual and further tailored based on spiritual and religious preferences.
No matter what your goals and preferences are, there are many ways you can practice meditation and get you on a path to relaxation and improving your physical and emotional health. Meditation has been shown to exert a large number of beneficial effects on the mind and body including:
- Reducing stress
- Improving focus and attention
- Relieving pain
- Regulating the immune system
- And so many more…
There is one clear thing, meditation can affect many aspects of your life. Let’s take a look at how it can affect your gut health.
HOW MEDITATION AFFECTS YOUR GUT
It’s no secret that meditation can reduce stress and promote feelings of peace and relaxation. Stress reduction can also produce changes throughout your entire body-including your gut.
Some of the most common digestive complaints such as gas, bloating, and cramps are relieved with meditation practices. It stops our bodies “fight or flight” survival response which can be habitual in nature when we are stressed.
STRESS AND DIGESTION
During stress, our bodies divert energy and blood flow away from everyday functions, like digestion, to focus on preparing us for a true survival scenario. This results in impaired digestion, abdominal discomfort, and a list of issues.
By relaxing your mind and body, meditation can take you out of the “fight or flight” mode and move you into the “rest and digest” groove, which can improve your gut health and the entire digestive process.
MEDITATION AND YOUR MICROBIOME
Meditation can also benefit the trillions of microbes in your gut. There is generally beneficial bacteria in your gut, but when you’re stressed, these microbes get depleted. This beneficial bacteria is a vital part of your digestive system which aids in nutrient absorption, helps your metabolism and improves your immune function. If your stress becomes chronic, your living ecosystem of microbes, or microbiome, can quickly become out of balance and inhospitable bacteria can take over, which can cause lots of health problems.
There is also the added benefit of working with the neurotransmitters in your brain that also help keep the stress levels in check, such as cortisol, serotonin, GABA, and oxytocin. So, it’s easy to see that alleviating stress by meditating can improve your long-term health.