We’ve all been there before: that bloated, sluggish and constipated feeling that results after overindulging. But if you struggle from digestive discomfort often, then it’s a sign that your digestive system isn’t flowing at optimal pace.
Digestion is key to eliminating excess body waste and clearing out those toxic materials that don’t serve our body or mind.
The good news is that just a few minutes of yoga a day can give your digestive system the total revamp it needs to have you feeling more energized and less irritable in no time.
Get started with these ten easy yoga poses to improve digestion—and finally beat belly bloat for good.
1. Cat / Cow
Begin the pose on your hands and knees. On the exhale, push the ground away from you to round completely through the spine, releasing your head down towards the floor. On the inhale, drop your belly toward the ground, arching the back and gazing forward. Continue moving between Cat / Cow pose for at last ten mindful repetitions.
Downward Dog is one of the most potent of all yoga postures. In addition to its ability to strengthen, rejuvenate and heal, Downward Dog is also a great pose for improving the digestive system. By pulling the navel in towards the spine, you will create a slight compression that encourages digestive function of the spleen, liver and kidneys. Just don’t be embarrassed if you release excess gas out loud while finding downward dog in class!
3. Revolved Triangle
This deep twisting variation of Triangle Pose assists in wringing out excess toxins.
With your feet about two feet apart (left foot in front) and your right toes pointed out at about 90 degrees, square your hips to the front of your mat. Inhale your right hand high; on the exhale, hinge at the hips to fold forward and take your right hand to the outside edge of your left foot. The left arm can sweep up to the sky, opening your heart to the left. Keep your spine long and your right hip pulling back as you twist deeper into the posture on each exhale.
Don’t be afraid to use blocks or other tools to help you twist deeper without sacrificing the integrity of the pose.
4. Locust Pose
Locust Pose is an especially powerful way to relieve indigestion by massaging the entire stomach and abdomen. Laying on your stomach, move your hands under your thighs, palms facing towards the ground. On the inhale, take your gaze forward and lift your legs as high towards the ceiling as possible. You’ll feel your inner thighs burn! Hold the posture as long as possible, remembering to breath.
5. Head to Knee Forward Bend
Though it might not look like it at first, there’s a lot going on in this forward fold that improves indigestion and insomnia.
Extend the right leg out in front of you. Take the left foot in to meet the right thigh. Inhale to lengthen, exhale to fold over the right leg. Invite a gentle twist into the body as you move the navel towards the knee. Switch sides. You’ll get a great stretch through the side body, and your digestive system will thank you.
6. Half Twist
In general, twisting poses kick-start the digestive system, flatten the belly and ring out those bad toxins.
To move into this gentle seated twist, extend the right leg and then cross the left foot over the right thigh, keeping the left knee pointed towards the ceiling. Inhale the right arm high, then exhale to take the elbow to the left knee, twisting to the left. On each inhale find length, on each exhale twist a little deeper. Switch sides.
Bridge is a great pose to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and as a result decrease stress and improve digestion. The pose also stimulates the thyroid, which also increases digestion.
Lie on your back with the soles of your feet firmly connected to the ground beneath you. Keeping the thighs hugging in towards one another, begin to lift the hips up towards the sky, rolling the spine up off the mat. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds.
8. Wind-Relieving Pose
As the name suggests, this pose is perfect to get the extra air flowing out of the body.
Gently roll onto your back. With the left leg extended, inhale the right knee up to the chest. Grab onto the shin with your hands to hug the knee in closer to your body. Keep the head and back firmly engaged with the mat. Switch sides.
9. Seated Spinal Twist
Inhale to lengthen the spine. On the exhale, take the left hand to the right knee and the right hand behind you. Begin twisting from the core, taking the gaze over the right shoulder. Each inhale grow taller through the spine, each exhale move from the core to twist deeper.
10. Corpse Pose
Don’t underestimate the value of the breath to aid in digestion and counter any unnecessary stress that is blocking your mind. As you lie on your back, fully release any effort you are still holding on to, allowing yourself to melt into the ground beneath you. Take deep breaths to fill your body completely. On the exhale, release anything that doesn’t serve you and is slowing you down from your optimal health and happiness.
Incorporate a few of these easy yoga poses into your daily practice, and you’ll quickly be surprised by just how powerfully they impact your digestive system.
What are your thoughts? Which yoga poses do you practice to relieve excess bloating and digestive issues?