Yoga can help with many physical conditions. Clients often attend yoga classes to improve their flexibility, enhance their upper body strength, and gain more mobility in their limbs. Yoga can also help with digestion. Do you often feel bloated or have issues with processing meals? Here are some simple yoga postures you can perform to help speed along digestion and stimulate elimination.
• Seated Twist
• Spinal Twist
• "Yogi Squat"
These are two yoga poses that flow together creating an undulation through the spine. The movement also stimulates your stomach muscles and helps with the digestive process. Start on your hands and knees for this yoga flow. As you inhale, tilt your pelvis back allowing your back to arch and your belly to drop. Tip your head up with your chest proudly opening forward. This is Cow Pose. When you exhale, tuck your pelvis under, draw your belly button up toward your spine, allow your back to round, and tip your chin toward your chest. This is Cat Pose. Continue the breath flow with these movements. Due to the undulating torso, while engaging and releasing your stomach muscles, you will help to relax any binds and constrictions that are slowing down digestion.
Twisting yoga postures are often associated with digestion. You can perform some simple rotating positions that can offer some relief.
Come to a comfortable seating posing on your yoga mat. You can sit with your legs crossed. Place your right hand on your left knee while placing your left hand behind you on the floor. Inhale and push your left hand into the mat to lengthen your spine. As you exhale, softly draw your belly in and rotate your torso to the left (Wainman, 2012). The rotation and remain minimal. There is no need to over-rotate your twisting postures. Hold the posture for 20-30 seconds. The twisting position creates a squeezing sensation as the abdominal muscles contract. Think of wringing out a wet towel to release the moisture. After 30 seconds, come back to a neutral position then execute the twist on the other side.
Another yoga posture is Spinal Twist. It, too, can help stimulate digestion. Start the pose by lying on your back. Softly draw both knees toward your chest. Gently guide both knees toward the left side of the room while you extend your right arm to the right side of the space (Mike, 2021). This will naturally create a twisting sensation in your spine while squeezing the stomach muscles. Hold the posture for at least 30 seconds, then perform the rotation on the other side.
As mentioned earlier sometimes you may experience blasting or blockages that hinder digestion and elimination. Here is a yoga pose that can be of assistance.
Take a wide stance on your yoga mat. With your hand on a wall, table, or chair in front of you for support, slowly bend your knees and come to a deep squat position. Take a wider stance to plant both feet into the ground or rise onto your tiptoes if your heels cannot touch the ground. Lift your torso and brace yourself with an extended spine by placing your elbows against your inner thighs. Your hands can come to the heart center. Hold the posture for 30-45 seconds. This squatting position helps to align your colon in a fashion that will encourage elimination.
Some of these yoga poses can be done after a meal, but if you anticipate having a large supper, for example, you can perform these poses before eating to stimulate the digestive process beforehand.
Written by Anon Contributor - Yoga Instructor, Edits by Stephanie Powers, MSc
Mike, G. (2021). Can you improve digestion with yoga?. Retrieved from https://yogigo.com/can-you-improve-digestion-with-yoga
WAINMAN, L. (2012, Sept.). The 15-Minute At-Home Yoga Workout. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonian.com/2012/09/20/the-15-minute-at-home-yoga-workout