Wintertime means one of three things. Firstly, cold nights, secondly, Christmas, and thirdly: An abundance of very delicious, but very rich, foods!
For most of us it’s practically a Christmas tradition to indulge just that little bit more than we usually would over the Christmas holidays. That means we’re eating more than usual, but we’re also eating richer, sugarier, and fattier foods than usual.
And whilst we might all be reaching for our favourite acid reflux tablets, what we should be doing is Yoga for Digestion!
Admittedly when we’re feeling full, bloated or gassy it may not cross our minds immediately to hop on our Yoga mats, but it’s something we might want to consider.
The best part is that yoga for digestion isn’t just limited to Christmas holidays, or events in our lives where we’ll be eating more than usual, or deviating from our diets for a period of time. You can use these poses at any stage if you’re suffering from bloat, gas, or indigestion.
Related Reading: Why You Should Make Yoga Your New Year's Resolution
What yoga poses are good for digestion?
All of these listed yoga positions help digestion. You can do them as part of a routine, or individually as and when you need them. If you choose to reenact individual movements, we recommend repeating the pose around 2 to 3 times and r
epeating 2-3 breath cycles in each pose.
1. Cat Cow
Cat Cow is a yoga move that massages your internal organs, compressing and lengthening the intestines to encourage healthy gut function. In these poses make sure you are breathing deeply to encourage flesh blood flow and exemplify that massage.
To perform Cat Cow:
Place your hands underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips in a table top position
Inhale deeply, dropping your belly toward the ground, and lifting your head toward the sky (Cow Pose).
Exhale and round through, arching your upper back toward the sky, dropping your gaze to the floor and firmly pressing your hands and feet into the floor (Cat Pose).
Repeat for around 5 to 6 cycles.
2. Downward Facing Dog
Such a versatile yoga move that is great for not only a resting and resetting posture, but also for digestion. Inhale deeply whilst in Down Dog to send breath into the belly and every time you exhale, pull your navel in to massage the intestines.
To perform Downward Facing Dog:
Start on your hands and knees.
Align your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
Spread your fingers wide and actively press through your palms and knuckles.
Then, curl your toes under and lift your hips. Bring your body to the shape of an A by lifting your pelvis toward the ceiling and drawing your sit bones to the wall.
Make sure to actively press away from the floor, and rotate your arms externally so that your elbows are pointing outwards. Your ears should be aligned with your upper arms.
Don’t drop your head! Hold it steady and gaze between your legs. Stay there for at least 3-5 breath cycles.
To come out of the pose, exhale as you bend your knees and lift your head, coming back to a hands and knees position.
3. Extended Triangle Pose
Extended Triangle Pose is probably the most difficult pose in this list, but it is worth it. It relies on strong legs and core stability to keep you balanced, but the rewards for digestion are more than worth it.
In triangle pose, the colon is stimulated through compression and release, which ultimately releases toxins trapped in the body helping to reduce both bloating and gas.
To perform Extended Triangle Pose:
Keep your feet parallel to each other as you place your feet apart at around 4 feet wide. Lift your arms and reach them out to your sides with your palms face down.
Turn your left foot in to the right, and turn your right foot out at around a 90 degree angle to the right so that the inner part of your foot faces forward. Remain facing forward as you turn your right thigh to face in the direction of your right toes.
Inhale, and as you exhale lean slowly to the right, bumping your hips left as you do so. Extend through the crown of your head and keep your hips and tailbone pointing toward your back heel.
Slowly lower your right hand down to a point at which you feel comfortable. It may reach as far as your shin, ankle, or even the floor but stop if at any point you feel pain in your back or sides.
Ensure you keep your legs straight and engage your thigh muscles, keeping your front right foot actively pressing into the floor.
Now stretch your left arm straight up toward the sky and allow your gaze to follow it, but keep this movement slow and gentle.
Hold the pose for 3 breath cycles.
To exit the pose, inhale, actively press through your back heel and tilt your hips back to the centre, rising slowly from the right as you do so and gently bringing your left arm down. Repeat on the opposite side.
Related Reading: Which Yoga Class is Right For Me?
4. Supine Twist
The Supine Twist is a gentle move that helps digestion by activating the colon. Breathe deeply into the pose on each side to get the very best out of this move and expel toxins from the body.
To perform a Supine Twist:
Begin in a flat back position, with your legs and arms outstretched.
Bring your right knee up, and then cross it over your left knee whilst stretching your right arm straight out to the right. If you wish, you can use your left hand to apply gentle pressure to the right knee so that it is closer to the earth, or you can extend your left hand to your outer right foot for a deeper stretch.
Stay in the pose for 2-3 breath cycles, breathing deeply.
To come out the pose, lift your right knee, place it back down and repeat on the opposite side.
5. Pawanmuktasana Pose
The clue is in the name for this traditional yoga pose. Pawan translates to air or gas, and mukta translates to release so it’s the perfect yoga for after a big meal! The pose compresses both the ascending colon on your right side and the descending colon on your left, stimulating your nerves to help aid elimination.
To perform Pawanmuktasana Pose:
Begin in a flat back position on the floor with your legs extended and your arms at your sides.
Lift your right knee up and hug it in toward the right hand side of your ribcage.
Activate your left leg by pressing it firmly into the ground.
Clasp your hands around either your right hamstring or your right shin for a deeper stretch and hold the pose for around 1 minute. Breathe deeply throughout.
Repeat on the other side.
We hope the holistic power of yoga in these poses helps to aid your digestive troubles both through a festive season, or just in your day to day life.
Want to incorporate more yoga into your daily life as we head into 2021? Check out the classes we offer, including classes perfect for beginners. If you can’t attend an in person class, why not sign up for our online classes? Whatever works for you, we’ve got you covered.