Yoga Moves For Better Digestion
It’s easy to overindulge during the festive season! Practice self-care and try these digestion-friendly poses (they’re also great for yoga newbies)
We tend to throw caution to the wind during the holidays and end up eating more than we usually do. Sometimes, this ends up in bloating or indigestion, making us feel very uncomfortable.
Fortunately, there’s an effective solution: yoga!
Not only does yoga work on a physical level by stimulating our internal organs through different poses, research has also found it to be effective in calming our sympathetic nervous system (thereby lowering our stress levels), while boosting our parasympathetic nervous system (which helps us to rest and digest). In fact, yoga aids our digestive system by keeping our blood circulation and lymphatic system flowing – twists in general, are great for improving digestion.
Well wait no more because whether the festivities are here or not, these asanas are great for tackling your digestive woes:
ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (DOWNWARD-FACING DOG)
An excellent asana that brings the body into alignment and relieves stress, this is one of the key poses in the Sun Salutation sequence. Standing with your feet hip-width apart, bend at the waist until your palms touch the floor and position your body into an inverted “V”. This yoga practice staple may sound basic, but it’s very effective for relieving uncomfortable gas build-up in the gut and works by improving circulation to stimulate digestion.
Tip: To nourish your intestines while in Adho Mukha Svanasana, take deep breaths into your belly (pull your navel inwards and upwards each time you exhale). This helps to create slight abdominal compression which gently stimulates the liver, kidneys, and spleen, thus aiding in digestion.
TRIKONASANA (TRIANGLE POSE)
This asana stimulates movement by putting pressure on the colon. Other than for indigestion and bloat, it’s also great for those suffering from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). With your right foot placed in front of your body, and the other foot rotated outwards about 45 degrees, stretch out both arms and put your right arm on the ground beside your foot. With your left arm raised overhead, twist your torso gently to the left and breathe.
Tip: Hold the pose for about a minute, then switch and repeat on the opposite side. If you find it difficult to place your entire palm on the floor, you can also rest your fingertips on the ground.
ARDHA USTRASANA (HALF-CAMEL POSE)
Ardha means half, and Ustra means camel. A modified version of Ustrasana (Camel Pose), this is a kneeling asana that opens the chest and stretches the upper body. Stretching the body into an unusual position benefits our digestive system by stimulating movements in the gut.
An effective backbend, Ardha Ustrasana tonifies the kidneys and stimulates the respiratory, digestive, and endocrine systems. Excellent for stretching and strengthening your entire back, this pose also increases circulation throughout your body (including your digestion).
Tip: Ardha Ustrasana is an easier option for beginners, but if you’re up for it, try the Ustrasana (grab both of your heels with both hands). Place a folded yoga mat or blanket under your knees to provide some cushioning if you experience knee pain in this pose.