After discovering the benefits of yoga in helping my chronic IBS, I fell in love with certain yoga poses for digestion. Don’t get me wrong; I love yoga for getting in a great toning workout, but it can also be a great healing exercise for many ailments. Yoga can heal depression, which also has a direct effect on digestion, but it also stimulates your lymph fluids and massages your inner organs all the same. All of these benefits play a role in your digestion. I don’t recommend eating a heavy meal before yoga, but these yoga poses for digestion can help after encountering a food you may be sensitive to, or when you're simply feeling stressed. These exercises are also great to do when you’re not feeling well enough for your regular workout and want to still include some movement into your day.
Perhaps one of the best yoga poses for digestion is the classic seated twist. It is simple to do, and you should hold the pose for at least 10-20 seconds. Each time you breathe in, you should twist more in the opposite direction away from your bent knee as pictured. This helps release air in the belly and creates space for the spine. This pose truly massages and detoxes the inner organs and can help move the flow of things along.
Child’s pose is a wonderful and relaxing pose to aid digestion. It stimulates the stomach and lower bowel, which help to pass food through the stomach. It also relaxes your central nervous system to help you de-stress. This releases hormones in your body that aid in digestion and elimination, and also provides blood flow to your stomach, which is key to good digestion. Hold this pose for at least 2 minutes. Repeat a few times a day, such as morning and night for great results.
Triangle pose is an excellent way to stretch out your hamstrings and it also aids in digestion. By standing and twisting the stomach, you help pass food along through the belly and relieve gas and bloating. I personally love it the most after a long day on my feet or if I'm suffering from bloat. If you need more support for your lower back, place your hand down on your ankle and not the floor, as pictured here.
I usually embrace this pose as a method for stretching after a yoga session, but I also appreciate how it helps improve my digestion. This move is very simple to do, and you should hold the pose for at least 45 seconds or longer to get the best results. Be sure not to pull on your leg so you don’t hurt your hamstrings, but instead concentrate on sitting up tall and then bending down from the waist to stretch out long towards your toes. Slowly lower your hands and body down to the floor before holding the pose.
I’m a big fan of this pose as well for its amazing digestive benefits and also for its stretching properties after a treadmill session. It looks so simple, yet when held for at least a minute, you can feel your digestive organs start to relax and move. The move is also more efficient if you bend down at your waist onto the floor, if your body allows you to stretch that far. If not, practice seated at first, and then work your way up to sitting up tall and bending down at your waist onto the floor to rest your forehead on the floor. This is such a great way to relax after a long day and it also stretches out your hamstrings really nicely.
If you suffer from bloating or work on your legs all day, then give this pose a try. It took me a little while to work up to being able to efficiently do this pose, but it is now one of my go to moves anytime my digestive system is less than stellar. Hold it for as long as you can and slowly lower down to the floor. I find it easiest to do if I’m lying on the floor, then go into bridge pose, and then release down to roll into the move. If you can do plow pose (below), then you can easily move into this pose. It releases the bowel, stimulates air to move out of the intestines, and also relieves stress.
As I said, this pose is wonderful for working your way into a supported shoulder stand. It also is amazing for digestion and tension. It is simple to do as well. Simply lie on your back and place your hands under your back or beside your body. Lift your legs up until they are straight in the air, bent at your waist. Slowly rock your body back until your legs swing past your shoulders as pictured above. You may need to support your lower back by placing your hands onto your legs, or under your back. If you need a prop, feel free to use one.
Yoga is a fantastic way to get in touch with your body, and for this reason alone it is essential to relieving stress, which aids digestion. The constant flow of yoga is also important to aid in stagnant digestion, so I recommend holding each of these for a least 1-2 minutes and then directly moving into another. Do you do yoga each day?
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