Whether your symptoms can be pinned on a large meal, fatty food, or something more serious like Inflammatory Bowel Disease, we all suffer from digestive discomfort from time to time. While many of the symptoms may be bearable, they can quickly get in the way of our day-to-day life – especially when experiencing them in the workplace. Thankfully, we are here to help. In this article, we explore a range of yoga poses for better digestion. Before beginning, it’s worth making sure you’ve got a comfortable yoga mat to practice on.
With benefits including increased blood flow and circulation, twists are great for digestion. For best results, try Twisting Childs Pose with a couple of yoga blocks underneath your hands. To begin, kneel down on your yoga mat and rest your hands on the floor in front of you. Sit back on your heels, reaching your arms forward to lengthen both sides of your waist. Next, move both hands toward your left knee. If you’ve got some blocks to hand, place one underneath your head to keep your neck aligned. You are now in Twisting Childs Pose. Holds the pose for 8-10 breaths before switching sides.
A popular choice for beginners, corpse pose is simple to practice. All you need to do is lie down on your back, relaxing your arms by your sides while keeping both legs stretched out. You are in Corpse Pose. Take this time to concentrate on your breathing for as long as you feel happy doing so. For even better results, try bringing your knees in toward your chest before allowing your legs to straighten to the ground. This simple step will help eliminate gas by stimulating the nerves in the colon.
Wind Relieving Pose is ideal for those that suffer from bloating. By compressing the ascending colon on the right side of your body and descending it on the left, this posture stimulates the nerves to help eliminate gas. To begin, rest your back on your yoga mat. Once comfortable, gently draw your knees into your chest and slowly rock from side to side to massage your lower back. After a couple of seconds, extend your left leg while keeping your right leg tucked into your chest. Move your right thigh to rest gently on the ground. You are in Wind Relieving Pose. Hold the posture for 8-10 breaths before switching sides.
Burrito Pose is another great posture for those hoping to improve digestion. Working to massage your digestive organs, this pose helps waste to move through your system at the optimum speed. To practice Burrito Pose, you’ll need to have a blanket or towel to hand. To start, roll your blanket into the shape of a burrito or sausage, ensuring it is roughly 5 inches in diameter. Next, gently lay down on your stomach, placing the rolled blanket directly underneath your belly button. To keep the spine aligned, place a pillow or a block underneath your forehead. You are in Burrito Pose. Hold the posture for a few minutes, allowing the weight of your body to melt into the blanket.
A firm favourite of many yogis, Downward Dog has a variety of great health benefits – including improved digestion! For best results, breathe deeply throughout the posture. With each breath, pull your belly button towards your back to massage your intestines. To begin, stand tall with your feet should-width apart. Bending at the waist, slowly lower your torso forward until your body forms a triangle. Your hands and feet should now be securely on the ground. If your shoulders or hamstrings feel too tight for the pose, try bending your knees slightly to make the posture easier. Spreading your fingers for additional balance, move your head forward until it is in-between your upper arms. For maximum benefit, move your shoulders away from your ears. You are in Downward Dog. For a deeper stretch, try extending your tailbone up and back, breathing deeply whilst doing so. This pose is best held for at least 2 minutes, but even just 30 seconds will be beneficial.
Bridge Pose is another great asana for improving digestion. As you bend, the stretch gently compresses your digestive organs; as your release the stretch, fresh blood flows through the body to cleanse your system. In addition to being great for digestion, this pose can also relieve fatigue. Start this pose laying on your back, bending your knees whilst keeping the soles of your feet touching the ground. Relax your arms, letting them drop carefully to the sides of your body. Tuck your chin into your chest then lift your buttocks and back off the floor, creating a bridge. You are in Bridge Pose. Hold for 15 seconds before lowering your back and buttocks back down to the ground.
Helping to stretch out the abdomen, Cat/Cow Pose is great to finish your workout with. For best results, breathe deeply throughout the posture to alternately compress and stretch the intestines. Doing so will increase blood flow to the epithelial cells, which in turn promotes healthy digestive function. Begin the posture on all fours, keeping your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Next, slowly dome your back, drawing your belly button toward the ceiling. You are in Cat Pose. After a couple of seconds bring your belly button down towards the mat, bending your back in the opposite direction to before. You are in Cow Pose. Continue switching between the 2 for a couple of minutes, remember to breathe properly throughout.
Whether you’re simply hoping to minimise trapped wind, or you’re searching for relief from a chronic health condition such as IBS, practising these yoga poses regularly can greatly improve digestion. For best results, make sure you’re wearing breathable yoga clothes throughout your workout.