Teaching Yoga for Digestive Health

Gain an understanding of digestive system health, as the heart of our whole being. This training will explore how yoga - with its focus on stilling the mind - can have profound effects through the gut-brain axis on conditions such as IBS, acid reflux, irritable bowel disease, colitis, diverticulitis and more.

digestive health image

Course Description

This training will explore how yoga – with its focus on stilling the mind – can have profound effects through the gut-brain axis on conditions such as IBS, IBD, acid reflux, colitis, diverticulitis and more. The course will cover the fascial, stress, trauma and sensory connections with digestive issues that are so relevant within yoga philosophy and practice..

Over 6 weeks we will explore the continual communications between the gut and the brain and the relevance of the fascia, vagus nerve, psoas-diaphragm connections, stress, trauma, interoception and proprioception in digestive health. Also how yoga philosophy focuses on accessing this central axis and recognising our need to listen to our visceral states. This is with a view to gaining the understanding of digestive system health as the heart of our whole being, relating it to the health of all other body systems; and how coming back to a mindful asana practice with guidance from gut feelings can feed into an intelligent practice guided by the yamas and gunas.

This course will cover both theory as well as practical applications for a students’ practice and the teaching approach, exploring how a range of practices (incorporating movement, meditation and breath) can support health through optimal digestive function. Charlotte’s book Yoga Therapy for Digestive Health (Singing Dragon 2018) is recommended supportive reading for the course.

Course Structure

Over each of the six weeks you will receive:

  • A detailed presentation on an area of physiology and how the yoga system can support this. This will be pre-recorded in two parts as both video and audio format (self-study) for you to refer back to.
  • A pre-recorded physical practice to support digestive health in different ways that relate to the week’s theoretical content; including modern anatomical, yoga philosophy and body psychotherapy, as well as stress and trauma links to digestive dysfunction – as video and audio format for you to be able to revisit and explore the practices (self-study).
  • Live weekly discussion and group learning (each week Thursdays 18.00 to 19.00 UK time).
  • A supportive practice as an audio resource to bring in other aspects of the yoga path or related, more modern, complementary techniques (self-study).

The live weekly discussions and group learning will take place every Thursday 18.00 to 19.00 UK time starting on October 1 and ending on November 5

The course will require 3.5 -4 hrs per week of study and practice.

Weekly Course Structure:

Week 1 – Journey around the Digestive System
The physicality of the digestive system, including what happens to the food we eat through each part of the digestive tract. Exploring how the gut is a sensory part of us and relationship with the nervous system and how stress and trauma can knock digestion off-course.

Week 2 – Philosophy for the Modern Gut
How key yoga philosophical concepts relate to the very physical realm of digestion, and beyond into our energetics. Exploring the links between nourishment at our centre and the subtle body concepts of nadis and agni, the doshas, the vayus and the koshas.

Week 3 – Visceral, Subtle and Physical Anatomy
How we are organised from the ground up and how the psoas muscle and fascia link movement patterns and held habits with digestive issues. Examining common modern postural issues and how sensitive and intelligent bandhas in yoga asana can help unravel (rather than exacerbate) issues of holding and visceral tightness from stress, trauma and inflammation.

Week 4 – Body Psychotherapy and the Chakras
Using the modern chakra system where body psychotherapy is enrolled, we look at the physical and emotional development of the body from the root up. Exploring this journey from birth to adulthood can help make sense of the contributing factors to digestive issues and how yoga and mindfulness can help unravel these samskaras.

Week 5 – Specific Conditions
Looking at the various digestive conditions from both medical and Ayurvedic perspectives, exploring which movement, meditative and other practices best support their relief. Including lifestyle issues, contributing factors from a naturopathic perspective and contraindications.

Week 6 – Attitudes to Practice and Teaching
Bringing together the previous content into the physical & subtle practices of yoga, both for your own exploration and for teaching others. Awareness, listening, compassion & where fluidity meets containment – for responding to the true needs of the Gut-Brain Axis.

Course Assignments

At the end of the course there is an optional final assignment to design a class, based on what you have learned which will be marked with teacher feedback.

What Will I Learn?

Over 6 weeks we will;

  • look at the digestive system and its relationship with many other aspects of modern life
  • gain an understanding of various digestive conditions from both a medical and Ayurvedic perspective
  • explore a range of practices incorporating movement, meditation and breath to support digestive health
  • develop a sound understanding of how to structure effective sequences

Who is this Course For?

Whilst this training is primarily aimed at yoga teachers and therapists, it is also open to experienced practitioners who wish to explore this area in more depth.

Replay

This course will be not be recorded and participation in all live sessions is essential for certification.

Meet the Teacher

Charlotte attended her first yoga class in 1996 and immediately knew that it would be a large part of the route to overcoming her stress-related issues. She trained at the Vajrasati Yoga School in Brighton (500 hour Yoga Alliance training) founded by Jim Tarran who is influenced by Buddhism and brought a natural mindfulness aspect to practising yoga. This was the beginning of a relationship with yoga focusing on taking time and finding space to feel subtleties of the experience, energetics and responses within the practice and create full body awareness within postures.

Charlotte is an author with many published books, including Yoga Therapy for Digestive Health (Singing Dragon 2018), Good Mood Food (Nourish 2018) and The De-Stress Effect (2015). She is also an award-winning nutritionist, practising since 2000 and specialising in stress-related and fatigue conditions and burnout, and digestive issues.

Charlotte teaches classes in Brighton and London, workshops, UK yoga weekends and retreats abroad. She also runs courses and retreats specifically for yoga teachers to attend to their own self-care so they have the resources to support others.

Charlotte Watts Portrait

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Certification

Those opting in for the final assignment will receive a Certificate of Completion.