Your digestive system is not only influenced by what you eat. It’s also affected by your daily movement, stress, and even mood. Yoga can help with all of these aspects as it works on both, your physical and mental health.
Through a series of exercises, yoga can help improve your blood circulation, stimulate your lymphatic flow and release of toxins, reduce inflammation and water retention, and relieve your stress levels, promoting a more relaxed and calm nervous system. Here are seven poses you can add to your daily routine if you’re experiencing digestive discomfort.
Cat & Cow Circles
Supported Bridge Pose
Seated Forward Bend
Rag Doll Pose
Yoga twists are powerful as they massage your intestines, help push food down your digestive tract, and promote a more successful detox. You can do them seated, lying down, or even standing. All of them are beneficial, but if you’re experiencing bloating and gas, seated or lying down will probably feel the most comfortable.
For this one, come into a comfortable seat and extend your legs in front of you. Bend your right knee and bring it close to your body, setting your right foot on the outside of your left thigh. Grab your knee with your left hand and place your right palm on the floor behind your sitting bones.
Push the ground away from you to elongate your spine and use it as leverage to propel your spine upright. Take a deep inhale and on your exhale, slowly twist and gaze to the back wall. Stay for three to five long inhales and exhales, deepening the twist with every exhale. On your last exhale, slowly start returning to the center. Switch sides and repeat the same.
For smooth, safe transitions.
Cat & Cow Circles
Poses that help move your intestines around and give them a gentle massage are always beneficial, especially when you’re feeling bloated. Start in an all-fours position with your palms right under your shoulders and knees right under your hips. Push the ground away from you and feel the space in between your shoulder blades expand.
Take an inhale and drop your belly, gazing up and trying to extend the front part of your body. Exhale and bring your chin to your chest, compressing the front part of your body. Repeat this three times and then start making circles.
On your inhale, gaze up and drop your belly. On your exhale, slowly start bringing your hips back towards your right heel, moving over to your left, finishing in the center with your chin to your chest. Inhale, drop your belly and take the circle to the other side. Repeat three to five times.
Helps support your lower back.
Supported Bridge Pose
When you feel pain and discomfort in your abdomen, it’s important to relieve the pressure and that’s where a support bridge pose can help tremendously. Start by lying on your back and bending your knees. Bring them as close to your sitting bones as it’s comfortable and keep your knees squared. Inhale and lift your hips up, trying not to squeeze your glutes as much.
Place your palms under your hips to support your lower back and let your entire lower body relax into your palms. Feel the tension dissipate with every breath you take and close your eyes, trying to rest as much as possible. Stay for at least five long inhales and exhales.
Promote better digestion and nutrient absorption.
Seated Forward BendForward bends can be too intense in some situations, but the modified versions can actually be extremely beneficial to your intestines as you relieve tension and stimulate the release of air. Come into a comfortable seat and extend your legs in front of you. Bend your knees slightly and let your feet touch. The shape of your legs should be like an elongated diamond. Take an inhale and on your exhale, gently fold your upper body over your legs, without any pressure.
The point of this exercise is to let your upper body naturally fold over your legs, using gravity to push down on your digestive system and stimulate better digestion. Stay for at least five long inhales and exhales.
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Inversions of any form can be beneficial in reducing bloating and gas, but if you start feeling nauseous or get heartburn, avoid them and schedule a consult with your doctor. Sometimes, when the inflammation is too severe, it can disable the muscles at the end of your stomach from functioning properly, allowing for the food to come back from your intestines.
Start by lying on your back and lift your legs up straight into the air. On your inhale, lift your hips and place your hands under your hips, supporting your lower body. You can keep your legs in a diagonal pose over your head or take it a step further and really try to shoot them in the air, aiming for a straight line that’s perpendicular to your upper body. Stay for three to five inhales and exhales and gently bring your hips back down.
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Rag Doll PoseStand in a neutral position, feet parallel and separated hip-width distance. Inhale, and on your exhale slowly roll your body down, letting your upper body fold over your legs. You can keep your legs extended or bend them to place your upper body on your thighs. Grab your elbows and gently sway side-to-side, relaxing your spine, your hips, and your abdomen.
Use the power of gravity to pull you down and create space in between your vertebras. This is also creating space in your abdomen, reducing gas and relieving any tension. Stay for as long as you want and then slowly roll back up to a standing position.
Feed your gut microbiome and help keep it nourished.
Lying ButterflyOne of the best relaxing poses in yoga that improves the blood flow in your hips and abdomen is lying butterfly. Lie on your back and bend your knees, placing your feet firmly on the floor. Drop your knees to the sides, open them up, and bring your feet to touch. Place your hands on your belly and close your eyes.
Deepen your breath and use the power of your inhales and exhales to soothe your digestive tract, promote better blood flow, and allow the food in your intestines to be pushed down the tract. Stay for as long as you want, but ideally for at least five long breath cycles.
Helps keep you relaxed and reduces tension.
In addition to being an awesome workout, yoga can help improve your physical and mental health, from digestion and sleep to relieving pressure from sitting in front of your computer for long periods of time. Try these poses the next time you feel bloated and uncomfortable!