Bloating and indigestion is never fun. Yoga is great for digestion because it combines deep breathing, stretches that target the abdominal organs and twists that release intestinal toxins in the organs.
Even the most novice yogi will benefit from these five yoga poses to aid digestion.
Child’s pose is a gentle way to start your routine. Begin on the floor on your shins in a comfortable kneeling position, knees spread if required. Lower your entire torso to your knees, resting your forehead on the floor and resting your arms by your sides, palms up. Try to relax into this pose as best you can, inhaling and exhaling deeply.
This poses allows for deep diaphragmatic breathing and stretches your lower back and entire abdomen. As it’s such a calming and gentle position, it can also help release tension, which is known to sabotage digestion.
Starting on your hands (placed under shoulders) and knees (placed under hips), inhale deeply and drop your belly down to the ground, pressing your hands into the floor and your buttocks out. You should feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold for 30 seconds. As you begin to exhale, arch your back up as high as you can, stretching like a cat.
This position is beneficial because as you continue to alternate between the two stretches, the compression and lengthening of your body massages the intestines and brings bloods to your cells in the abdominal area.
On the floor, sit with your legs folded to one side and feet side-by-side. Stretch the arm closest to your feet down out the floor, using it to balance. Then, stretch the opposite arm straight up over your head as high as you can, with just a slight bend in your elbow. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side, remembering to switch your legs too.
This pose creates a stretch down the side of your body, allowing space in your torso and abdominal region so that you can breathe deeply and permit your organs to function well.
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Half gas release pose
As the name would suggest, this pose has a significant digestion benefit. Begin by lying on your back with your legs stretched out. Raise one leg, bringing your knee up to the side of your ribcage. Hold underneath of your thigh (rather than the top of your knee) with both hands until you feel a stretch in your thigh and buttock. You may use the resting leg to brace yourself. Hold for a minute or two, then place the leg slowly back down and repeat with the opposite leg.
This pose compresses the ascending colon on each side and encourages the nerves to relax and – ahem – ‘let go’. So you might want to try this one in privacy.
Begin this pose flat on your back, bringing both knees to your chest to neutralise the spine. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Release your knees and allow your legs to straighten to the floor. Lie here with your hands by your sides, palms up. With your eyes closed, try to relax all your muscles, quiet your mind and simply concentrate on breathing deeply.
This pose is a wonderful way to cap-off your yoga routine. The deep breathing helps to calm the nervous system and bring oxygen to all your organs.
So the next time you’re feeling overly full, bloated or gassy after a meal, why not give these poses a try? Do you have a favourite yoga pose that aids digestion?