Today’s hurry-up-and-go lifestyle can do a number on your eating habits. Even when touted as “healthy,” many convenience foods come with a side of digestive issues. Digestive problems aren’t just inconvenient, though; they can stop you in your tracks, affecting you at the most inopportune times and just generally compromising your quality of life. Luckily, yoga can help with digestion and get your system back in working order. Here are a few yoga poses that the Amrit wellness team recommends to get your digestive system healthy and working better than ever.
Puppy Pose – Uttana Shishosana: Puppy Pose can help reduce bloating and the tightness accompanied with it by releasing gas bubbles trapped in the intestinal tract. Begin in the tabletop position on your hands and knees. Slowly move your hands forward as far as you can go, resting your forehead on the floor. Maintain alignment with your hips remaining directly above your knees.
Seated Spinal Twist – Ardha Matsyendrasana: The Seated Spinal Twist assists in giving a nudge to the digestive process. It specifically assists with peristalsis, a muscular constriction that occurs in the intestines to move food along. Begin by sitting with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend your left knee and place the sole of your foot on the floor outside of our right thigh. Place your left hand on the floor behind your left hip. Position your right hand on the outside of the thigh, apply pressure as you slowly twist. Take two to three deep breaths in this position, release, and switch sides.
Wind Relieving Pose – Pavanamuktasana: This pose aids with indigestion, gastritis, and general digestive health by helping release excess air and gases from the body and allowing the system to move more efficiently. It can help ease symptoms associated with gas such as flatulence, constipation, and bloating. Begin on your back and pull one knee towards your chest, clasping your hands around the shin to help bring it in closer. Remain in this pose for three deep breaths, then release, stretch out your leg, switch to the other leg, and repeat the process.
Cat/Cow Pose – Marjaryasana-Bitilasana: The Cat/Cow Pose, which is technically two poses that complement one another, help to compress and then stretch the torso, helping to stimulate the organs in the abdominal region. Begin by getting on your knees and hands, with the tops of your feet and your palms against the floor. Your hips should be positioned directly above your knees, your shoulders should be positioned directly above your wrists, and your head should be facing forward. For the Cow Pose, inhale deeply, moving your chin and upper chest upward, and dropping your torso towards the floor. Pull your shoulders back away from your head and hold. As you exhale slowly, drop your head gently downward and move your torso into an arch as you transition into the Cat Pose. Push your abdominal muscles and spine towards the ceiling. Hold for a moment, then inhale, returning to the Cow Pose. Repeat the process 10 to 15 times.
Triangle Pose – Trikonasana: This standing pose gives a boost to the digestive system, massaging the organs in the abdominal region of the body and stimulating performance. Stand with your feet three to four feet apart and your hands to your sides, parallel to the floor with palms down. Slightly turn your right foot in and turn your left foot, facing out, parallel to your arm. Keep your heels aligned. Extend your torso to the left, dropping your left arm down, and reaching your right arm vertically towards the ceiling. Place your left hand on your shin. Twist gently with your face turned upward towards your right hand. Hold for a count of three, then return to the start position and repeat with the other side.
Seated Forward Fold – Paschimottanasana: Use a pillow or a yoga bolster with the Seated Forward Fold, and it works wonders as an aid to digestion. Sit upright on the floor with your legs stretched out before you, feet flexed. Place the pillow or bolster on your thighs. Have your hands next to you on the floor, palms down next to your hips. Slowly slide your hands forward along the sides of your legs as you fold your upper body forward, relaxing your shoulders and head, and resting your torso on the prop. Breathe deep, which will allow your internal organs to be massaged due to the compression.
Yoga’s health benefits are incredible and can greatly benefit digestive health. Amrit’s team of professionals can help you learn these and more yoga techniques to assist with digestive problems as well as other ailments.