If you suffer bloating and digestive issues, the golden ticket to relief might just be these yoga poses that fight bloating and aid digestion all in one. I discovered yoga about 8 years ago, and honestly, never dreamed how much I’d benefit from it. By chance, I slowly discovered the practice, and over time noticed how much my digestion improved. This wasn’t the reason I kept practicing, but was most definitely a benefit of keeping up with it. The way yoga causes your body to bend and twist is where the benefits come in. Many people have a hard time adapting to the slower pace of yoga, or the differences between this type of practice and traditional high speed exercises like HIIT or cardio, but that’s actually where the digestive benefits of yoga lie. When your body reaches a calm, collective state, digestion improves due to the way your gastrointestinal tract functions when it is calm. Considering this, you can further enhance this benefit by choosing certain yoga poses that fight bloating and digestive issues anytime you practice. Whether you’re new to yoga or it’s your regular form of exercise, these poses are easy to try and very effective for a range of digestive issues.
1. Knees to Chest Pose
Knees to Chest pose is one of the simplest yoga poses that fight bloating you can try, especially if you’re new to yoga. Lie on your back on the floor and simply hug your knees to your chest, holding for 30 seconds. Relax your breath and breathe in and out very calmly. It helps open up the digestive tract, which helps relieve gas, and therefore bloating, quickly and effectively.
2. Floor Spinal Twist
Floor Spinal Twist is a pose I end every single practice with, and another simple pose to do. All you do is lie on your back on the floor, with you knees bent and twisted to the side. Hold for 20 seconds on one side, and flip to the other side. Keep your knees straight out to the sides, and you’ll notice your digestive system starts to move. Breathe very slowly in and out, and just concentrate on your breath. This can help relieve constipation, gas, and bloating all in one. A seated version of this twist is another popular variation.
3. Bridge Pose
Bridge pose is a popular pose to tone the glutes, but it’s also excellent for your digestion. It can help relieve gas, bloating, and slow digestion by improving blood flow of the digestive tract. Inversions like Bridge pose help reverse blood flow up through our stomachs, which can improve digestive function. To do this pose, lie on your back on the floor, and place your hands by your side. Bend your knees up with your feet flat on the floor, to where they reach a 90 degree angle with the floor. Then, raise your hips as high as you can while leaving your shoulders on the floor. Your stomach should flatten out, and your glutes will tighten. Hold for 30 seconds, lower your glutes back down to the floor, and repeat as many times as you like.
4. Seated Forward Bend
Seated Forward Bend can quickly reduce slow digestion, and help move food through the stomach. All you need to do is sit flat on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you, knees together, feet pointing upwards. Then, bend over your legs from your hips down, stretching out as far as you can, possibly to where your hands reach around your feet. Place your face as far down towards your knees as you can. Hold for at least 30 seconds before sitting back up. This causes the digestive tract to start to move and relax, which will help eliminate gas and bloating by moving food through the stomach.
5. Cat Cow Pose
Cat Cow pose is a common pose that’s very helpful for anyone looking to reduce gas and bloating. Cat Cow pose helps to move food through the stomach, while also relieving stress, gas, and bloating. Simply get on your hands and knees on the floor as if you were forming a square with the floor. Look towards the floor at your hands and round your back up like a cat does, and then curve back down, looking up to the sky with your hand, and pushing your buttocks into the air like a cow does. Repeat this sequence 10 times and you should notice a relief of excess wind and bloating. Focus on breathing in and out slowly as you move between poses.
6. Child’s Pose
Child’s pose is another very helpful and effective pose for reducing gas, bloating, and constipation. It helps relax the body and relieve stress, which also works for your digestive advantage. To do this pose, sit on your knees on the floor, or even stretch your knees from this position out to each side of you so you’re sitting on the floor with your knees bent up from under you. Reach your arms out in front of you and lower down to the floor, face towards the floor, until your top body is lying directly on the floor. Stretch as far as you can out from this position. If you’re doing this on carpet, you should be fine, but if you’re on a hard floor, consider using a yoga mat or place a towel under your forehead. Focus on your breath the entire time and feel the sensations in your stomach, which will strengthen the effects.
7. Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog is a wonderful position for many things, but especially gas and bloating. It reverts blood flow through the stomach as all inversions do, which will help relieve gas and bloating quickly. Stand with your feet hip width apart and keep your back straight as you hinge forward and press your palms to the ground as if you’re fixing to do a headstand. Look towards the floor and be sure to keep your feet flat on the ground the whole time. You want to imagine that you’re forming an upside down V position with the floor when you’re in this position. Then, focus on stretching out your hamstrings in this pose and hold it for at least 30 seconds and up to 2 minutes if you can. Breathe and hold, focusing on maintaining your breath as you feel your stomach move and your hamstrings stretch. This pose is also very helpful for cramped muscles from cardio too, as a bonus. It should help relieve bloating from gas quite quickly, and help relieve constipation if practiced regularly.
Some of these yoga poses for digestion are my favorites, but I’d love to hear some of yours too. What’s your favorite pose for enhancing digestion and reducing bloating?