Poor digestion can be caused by many reasons. It can also lead to a lot of discomfort and even embarrassing moments. Luckily, yoga can help!
I’ve had times where I have suffered from tummy troubles and I know I’m not alone! In this post I will give you five of my most-used poses that I incorporate into my “Yoga for Digestion” flow that I use and also share with my students who need some relief from this common issue.
In my yoga teacher trainings, I love teaching my trainees different poses that can be used to help their future students in very relevant ways. Yoga is great when used as a preventative measure, but it’s also great to have poses in your toolbox that can help with common problems you may face in your daily life. I love using yoga for digestive health when the need strikes but also as part of my normal routine so I can be proactive.
The following yoga poses help to stimulate digestion by:
- Compressing the internal organs in the belly, then releasing the compression and allowing fresh, oxygen-rich blood to flow in to the area while releasing toxins
- Stretching the area
- Utilizing deep breathing to calm the body, mind and nervous system
Gentle Yoga for Digestion Flow
- Cat/Cow Pose (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)
- Marichi’s Pose 3 (Marichyasana III)
- Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
- Wind-Relieving Pose (Pavanamuktasana)
- Supine Lord of the Fishes Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Start on your hands and knees for Cat/Cow pose, or Marjaryasana/Bitilasana. Have the wrists directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. As you inhale, look out in front and let your belly come closer to the floor, creating an arch in your back. As you exhale, bring your chin towards your chest and navel towards your spine, rounding your back.
Repeat this action five or more times.
After Cat/Cow, move into a seated position for Marichi’s Pose 3. Extend your left leg straight out in front of you while bending the right knee in towards your toros, having the foot in line with the left knee.
Bring your right hand behind you and place it on your mat. Twist towards the right knee and hold onto it with your left hand to help deepen the twist to where it feels good for you.
Twist from the mid and upper back only, keeping the low back long and relaxed. On an inhale, lengthen the spine and on the exhale twist.
Hold for five or more breaths then repeat on the other side.
Next, you’ll move onto your back for bridge pose. Once on your back, bend your knees and place the feet on the floor about 4 inches away from your glutes. Have your arms by your sides with the palms facing down. Roll the shoulders under your chest. Push into your feet and lift your hips. Focus on tucking the tailbone, just enough to keep the pelvis neutral and the low back long. Make sure the knees stay facing up and parallel to each other.
Hold for five or more deep breaths and repeat one to two more times.
Extend both legs straight out on your mat and take a few deep breaths.
Now you’ll move into the aptly-named wind-relieving pose. Draw your right knee in toward your chest while keeping the other leg long on your mat. Pull the knee in toward your chest with your hands as far as it feels comfortable for you.
Hold for a five or more deep breaths then do the other side.
Switch legs again, drawing the knee back in toward the chest then cross the knee over the body coming into a gentle twist, supta matsyendrasana. Hold here comfortably for five or more breaths then repeat on the other side.
Extend both legs straight out on the mat with your arms by your sides and rest, breathing deeply for five to fifteen minutes.
Your gut is sure to thank you for the relief provided by these yoga poses for digestion. After you’re done, congratulate yourself on doing something so good for your body, mind, and spirit!
About the Author
Crystal Gray, E-RYT 500 and Yoga Club Tribe Leader, splits her work hours between working on her 20 acre organic vegetable farm and leading her Online Yoga Membership and free Facebook group, the Yoga Goddess Collective. She also leads retreats and yoga teacher trainings. In her downtime, she can be found cooking healthy meals and spending time with her family or out in nature. Learn more about her retreats and yoga teacher trainings here.