A Yogi’s Top 5 Yoga Poses For Digestion
We have all heard of some of yoga’s amazing benefits: reduced stress, mental clarity, improved flexibility, and balance, among many others. The benefits of yoga appear limitless. It helps our bodies feel good from the inside and out.
Whether you’re dealing with bloating, indigestion, or other digestive ailments, a regular yoga practice may help improve you. There are several poses that target the abdominal organs, primarily twists that help to massage the intestines, relieving the discomfort of stomach pains due to gas, bloating, or constipation.
Try adding some of the poses below to your practice, along with deep breathing exercises, and reap the benefits of improved digestion!
Here are my top five yoga poses for digestion.
Apanasana: Knees to Chest Pose
Begin by lying on your back with your legs extended out in front of you. On an inhale, draw both knees to your chest, either holding onto each knee or wrapping your arms around your shins. Pull your knees closely, then hold this pose for three to five breaths.
Variation: On each inhale, pull the knees closely to the chest, tuck the chin in towards the chest. As you exhale, gently release to the starting position of one knee in each hand. Repeat this three or four times.
Supta Matsyendrasana: Spinal Twist
Begin by lying on your back with your legs extended out in front of you. On an inhale, draw both of your knees towards your chest. Extend your arms out to a T, and drop your knees over to the right side as your gaze will go to the left side. Hold the pose for three to five breaths before drawing your knees back to your chest and dropping them over to the opposite side.
Variation: For a deeper stretch, with your knees dropped over to the right side, use your right hand to gently push your right knee closer to the mat. You can also extend the right leg straight out.
Ardha Matsyendrasana: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs out in front of you, sitting up tall with a straight spine. Bend your right foot and cross your right leg over your left leg, so that you right foot is planted firmly on the outside of your left thigh, your right knee will be pointing towards the ceiling. Placing your right hand behind you, lift your left arm above your head as you inhale. When you exhale, hook the left arm on the outside of the right knee, twisting deeply.
Use each inhale to lengthen the spine, sitting up straighter, and each exhale to twist deeper. Hold this pose for three to five breaths, then switch and repeat on the other side.
Variation: Instead of keeping your left leg extended straight in front of you, you can bend it so that your left heel comes on the outside of your right hip.
Parivrtta Trikonasana: Revolved Triangle Pose
Start by standing tall at the top of your mat in Tadasana, Mountain Pose, with your feet together. As you exhale, step your right foot back about 3 to four feet behind you. Turn your right foot about 45 degrees, so that your right toes are facing the right corner of your mat.
Inhale both of your arms above your head, squaring your hips towards the front of your mat. As you exhale, bring your right hand down on the mat, on the inside of your left foot and extend your left arm towards the sky. Your gaze will go up towards your left hand. Make sure to keep the back heel grounded. Hold this pose for three to five breathes before switching and repeating on the opposite side.
Variation: If you have trouble getting your right hand on the mat, place your hand on a block to help you achieve the full twist of this pose.
Paschimottanasana: Seated Forward Bend
Sit on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you. Inhale your arms above your head. As you exhale, slowly hinge forward and lower your torso towards your thighs, keeping your back straight. Stay here for five to ten breaths.
Variation: If you have trouble reaching forward towards your toes while keeping your spine straight, wrap a strap around your feet, and hold the strap firmly. As you progress in this pose, you can walk your hands further down the strap, pulling your torso closer to your thighs.
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