Yoga is known to have a wide variety of health benefits, including improved digestion. Even beginners or those with low overall flexibility can do the following poses (called “asanas”) and enjoy immediate benefits, including a reduction in gas, bloating, acid issues, and constipation, along with better food and nutrient absorption.
You don’t need any special equipment for these poses; a yoga mat, towel, or even a carpeted surface will do. Find a calm, quiet place to do these poses for optimal relaxation and digestive benefits.
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Cat-Cow Yoga Stretch to Help Digestion
This stretch is often used as a warm-up in yoga practice sessions, and is a gentle but effective way to improve blood flow and circulation in your digestive system. If you feel any discomfort in your knees, place a folded blanket, towel, or other cushioning underneath them. To do this stretch:
- Start out on all fours, with your wrists aligned directly beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips. Your toes should be pointed.
- Ensure your back is neither arched nor rounded. Picture your spine as a straight line that travels from the crown of your head, back through your shoulders and hips, and ending at your tailbone.
- For the “cow” portion of the pose, inhale, curl your toes under, arch your back to lower your belly, and let your head lift naturally so that you gaze at the ceiling.
- As you exhale, you’ll naturally come down into the “cat” portion of the pose, so release your toes and allow the tops of your feet to rest on the floor, round your spine, and let your head come back down so that your gaze aims toward your thighs.
- Inhale and come back to the “cow” portion, repeating for three to five breath cycles.
Cobra Pose for Improved Digestion
This cobra pose stretches and lengthens the torso, creating more space for your internal organs. Here’s how to do it:
- Lie face-down with your forehead on the ground, hands palm-down on the ground, elbows close to your sides. Energize your muscles by tightening your thighs, squeezing your buttocks, and pressing your hip bones and pubic bone downward.
- Concentrating on the muscles in your back, lift your upper body upward and forward, leading with your forehead, then your nose, neck (keep it long, without raising your chin unnaturally), shoulders, and upper chest.
- Press your palms down to lift your abdominal area, keeping your hip bones pressed to the floor, so that you resemble the upright posture of a cobra.
- Hold for three to five comfortable breath cycles, then reverse the process to lower yourself back to the ground, releasing any tension.
Seated Twist Yoga Digestion Pose
This yoga pose, which is slightly more advanced than the first two, stretches and stimulates the abdominal organs, including those associated with digestion. Here’s how to do it:
- Start from a seated position on the floor, legs stretched out in front of you.
- Breathing deeply (but comfortably), begin to flex your feet as you energize the muscles of your upper and lower legs, rotating your thighs inward and creating a solid foundation for your connection to the ground.
- Place your hands on the ground beside your hops, lift your chest, and exhale.
- Bend your left knee, lift your left foot, and cross your foot over your right leg.
- Inhale, stretch your arms above your head, lengthen your torso, and twist to the left.
- Hold the outside of your left knee with your right hand, bring your left hand to rest on the ground behind you, and hold for 30 seconds, keeping your right leg straight and your right foot flexed.
- Return to center, straighten your left leg, and repeat on the right side.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.