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No matter how healthy your diet and lifestyle may be, there’s no escaping the occasional bout of indigestion. Digestive disorders tend to surface occasionally without warning and can cause considerable discomfort. While common digestive problems like bloating, cramping, and constipation are non-threatening, it’s no fun having to deal with them. Read this week's installment of the Yoga Living Project as first time guest author, Anita Fernandes, shares 5 poses for these troubling times and how to pracitce them.

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Yoga for Digestion - 5 Poses to digestive health

No matter how healthy your diet and lifestyle may be, there’s no escaping the occasional bout of indigestion. Digestive disorders tend to surface occasionally without warning and can cause considerable discomfort. While common digestive problems like bloating, cramping, and constipation are non-threatening, it’s no fun having to deal with them. OTC medications like antacids and laxatives may seem like your best bet, but it’s not a good idea to pop pills too often. 

Thankfully, yoga can come to your rescue yet again. Yoga isn’t just a great way to get in shape or relax – it’s also therapeutic for a wide range of common health problems. When it comes to supporting healthy digestion, there’s growing evidence pointing to the efficacy of yoga even for more serious gastrointestinal conditions like IBS. To get you started, here are some of the simplest and most effective yoga poses for digestion.

 

5 Yoga Poses for Digestion

 

1. Chair Pose

The Chair Pose is one of the simplest yoga poses and it’s also a great way to kickstart your digestion. The pose encourages a downward flow of energy through the body, stimulating the abdominal organs that play a crucial role in digestion. It also works as a good workout for the larger muscles, including your quads and glutes. If you’re a seasoned yogi, you can also try variations of the chair pose, like the twisted chair pose or awkward chair pose. Twisting poses are highly recommended in Ayurveda, as these movements encourage mobility and motility, supporting healthy bowel movements. 

To Practice the Chair Pose:

  • Stand with your feet together, but with the knees bent as if you’re sitting on a chair – your thighs should be parallel to the floor
  • Raise and extend your arms fully as you exhale, holding the pose for about 30 seconds 

 

2. Bridge Pose 

Inversions are also popular for their digestive benefits, but can be rather challenging to the uninitiated. The Bridge Pose, however, is a mild inversion that is easy to practice, but still helpful for digestion. It stimulates digestion with the bending movement gently massaging and compressing the digestive organs. Like other inversions it also has circulatory benefits, improving blood flow to the heart. As an added benefit, the pose is great for strengthening your glutes.

To Practice the Bridge Pose:

  • Lie flat on the ground and then raise your lower body using your hips and legs to do so - this is done by bending the knees and pulling your feet back so that they rest flat on the ground beneath your knees
  • While raising your body, inhale deeply, and employ both the abdominal and spine muscles
  • Your chest may also be slightly elevated, but the shoulders and arms should remain firmly glued to the floor

 

3. Wind Relieving Pose

This is one of the simplest of all yoga poses and it’s one that you absolutely have to try the next time you feel bloated or gassy. The name of the pose, ‘Wind Relieving Pose’, says it all and there can be no disagreeing with the nomenclature. Through gentle and steady pressure on the abdominal area, the pose provides speedy relief from bloating and gas, making it one of the best natural remedies for indigestion.

To Practice the Wind Relieving Pose:

  • Lie flat on your back and raise your legs to form a right angle
  • Then bend your knees and pull your thighs in towards your chest and abdomen, using your hands to hold them in place

 

4. Cat & Cow Pose

Like most of the other yoga poses for digestion, this is a good combination to gently massage the abdominal organs, encouraging better blood flow and circulation to the region. The movement between these poses also helps to strengthen the spine, providing relief from muscular tension in the neck, shoulders, and back. 

To Practice the Cat Cow Pose:

  • Start on all fours, with the hands and knees supporting your body, resting directly beneath the shoulders and hips
  • From starting with your spine in a neutral position, drop your belly while inhaling, and lift your head and tail bone upwards to enter the cow pose
  • As you exhale, lower your head and tailbone, instead arching your back to enter the cat pose
  • Cycle between the poses in this manner at least 4-5 times

 

5. Child's pose 

The impact of stress on digestion is often overlooked, but it can be significant. Lowering your stress levels can help improve digestion and build resilience against common digestive ailments as well as infections. The Child’s Pose is the perfect way to wrap up your yoga routine, as its one of the simplest and most relaxing of all yoga poses. 

To Practice the Child’s Pose:

  • Start in the kneeling position with your feet together (bent backwards so the soles face upward) and the knees at hip width
  • As you exhale, lower your torso towards the floor, bringing it to rest between your knees, and lower your buttocks so that they come to rest over your feet
  • Extend your arms forward so that they are stretched out above you with the palms facing downwards and resting on the floor

 

Author’s Bio: Anita Fernandes has been writing extensively on health and wellness for over a decade. She has expertise in nutrition, fitness, public health, and weight loss and has contributed content to a variety of leading digital health publishers. Anita has a unique perspective on healthy living and lifestyle, as she has battled and overcome eating disorders and obesity. She shares her experiences in an effort to help others overcome the physical and mental health problems that can sometimes seem insurmountable.

 

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