The main function of the Digestive System is the conversion of food into juices and the distribution of those juices into the body. It makes the body strong whatever foreign matter is left over, goes out of the body by excretion process. The main parts of our digestive system are the following.

Alimentary Canal

These are six salivary glands in the mouth which contrive to produces saliva in the mouth. But prior to this food is chewed with teeth.

Different parts of it are as under :

  1. Mouth
  2. Pharynx
  3. Oesophagus
  4. Stomach
  5. Duodenum
  6. Liver
  7. Pancreas
  8. Gall Bladder
  9. Small Intestine
  10. Caccum
  11. Appendix
  12. Large Intestine
  13. Rectum
  14. Anus

Glands Releasing Digestive Juices

  1. Inside the mouse Salivary Glands
  2. Below and in front of the ear Parotid Glands
  3. Below the jaw Submandibular
  4. Below the tongue Sublingual

Stomach Glands : They release gastric juices in the stomach.

Pancreas Gland : It realizes pancreatic juices from small intestine into the duodenum.

Liver : It release bile into duodenum.

Intestinal Glands : They release intestinal juices into the small intestine.


The Alimentary Canal that spans from the mouth to the kidney is about 9 metres in length. How the food passes through this canal is given as under :

First our food is chewed by our teeth. The salivary glands mix saliva with it & it helps us in swallowing the food easily. The tongue relishes its taste and pushes it into the pharynx. From there it goes into the gullet which is a 25-30 cm. long muscular canal reaching upto the stomach. It stretches from a point in the neck behind trachea (Wind pipe) and in the chest behind trachea and heart (Wind pipe) and in the chest behind trachea and heart. It then goes down passing through the diaphragm upto the cardiac end of the stomach. The stomach is located in the upper part of our abdomen and below the diaphragm. The orifice of the stomach is covered with a thick membrane called sphinker. That is why when we bend, the food does not return to the food pipe (Oesophagus) or back towards the mouth. It happens only when the muscles of the stomach contract vigorously as it happens at the time of vomiting.

The following changes take place when the food goes into the stomach.

  1. Churning of the food, as a result of which it breaks into small pieces and by which process it becomes soft.
  2. Digestion of food with the help of gastric juices.
  3. Secretion of a kind of fluid the sides of the stomach.


From the stomach food goes to the small intestine and there from it is transferred to the large intestine. In the small intestine pancreatic juice, bile and intestine juice mix with the food and make it more digestible. Here the food is more kneaded.

With the process of expansion and contraction of small intestine, proteins, carbohydrates and fats are absorbed i.e. when the food is digested, it release a kind of juice. This juice is transmitted to all the cells of body through the blood veins. The waste material is pushed into the large intestine which is divided into four parts :


  • Asscending Colon : It passes through the right side of the stomach and upper side of Caecum and then reaches the lower layer of the liver.
  • Transverse Colon: It spans from the front part of the abdomen to a point under the left side of the stomach.
  • Descending Colon : Extending downward towards the left side, it reaches upto iliacposa.
  • Sigmoid Flexure : Finally, it makes an ‘O’ shaped curve and reaches the rectum in the pelvic region.

The waste matter is excreted out of the large intestine at its appointed time. This is the last portion of the alimentary canal. Passing from the stomach to the small intestines and therefrom to colon, it takes 6 hours for the food to travel from one place to another. Light food like soft drinks, fruits etc. are digested quickly but it takes about 6 hours for the solid food like bread etc. to digest. This way our body takes 17-18 hours to completely digest the food item. The food juice is extracted from the food by the body and the waste matter is thrown out.

Special Note

Kunjal Kriya is a technique by virtue of which our alimentary canal from the throat to the stomach is completely cleaned. There is another technique of cleaning the bowels known as Shankh-Prakhshalan (Stomach wash). The entire alimentary canal from the throat to anus is washed and cleaned by this process. The different parts of the alimentary canal are influcenced by the various practices of Yogasans.

Agnisar, Bhastrika and Kapal Bhati Pranayam play an important role in the purification of our large and small intestines.

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