Can Yoga Help Digestion? 12 Poses to Try for Your Stomach
Digestion is key to a healthy body and as we grow older, this can become a problem. But, can yoga help digestion? Some sources say that yoga can help with the uncomfortable cramping, bloating, and gas that you might feel at times after a meal.
We're here to see if that's true or not. Today, we're going to take a look at how yoga may help digestion and the different poses you can do to help your stomach.
How Yoga May Help Digestion
Whether you over-indulged in some sweet treats or suffer from a chronic issue, digestive discomfort is never fun. Bloating, gas, and abdominal cramps can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. Instead of avoiding certain foods or earning temporary relief from over-the-counter medications, yoga has been shown to help ease digestive discomfort.
How you may ask? Yoga not only encompasses poses that open and stretch the front of the body to get blood flowing and massage your internal organs, but yoga can stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system to relax, stimulating enzyme production and the digestive system to function properly.
12 Yoga Poses That Can Help Digestion
Here are our twelve favorite yoga poses to help digestion. Some of these are beginner level. Others are more advanced. Either way, they should help you digest your food more effectively.
1. Child’s Pose
Credit: The Yoga Collective
Sitting on your shins, bring your big toes to touch and your knees wide mats distance, pull your butt towards your feet and lay your chest down onto the mat stretching your arms long. Relaxing through your shoulders and breathing into the belly for 5-10 deep breaths.
2. Seated Twist
Credit: The New York Times
Sitting cross legged, keeping your chest tall, place your right hand behind you and turn your chest to the right bringing your left hand to the outside of your right thigh, take 5-10 deep breaths. Return back to center and twist to the left. Repeat the same breath pattern.
3. Seated Side Bend
Sitting cross legged, keep your chest tall. Place your right hand down to the right and stretch your left arm up and over to the right. Keep shoulders soft and look up towards you left bicep. Take 5-10 deep breaths and repeat on the other side.
4. Knees to Chest
Laying on your back, draw your knees into your chest grabbing onto your shins. Keep your shoulders and head relaxed to the mat. Take 5-10 deep breaths, feel free to rock side to side gently.
5. Bow Pose
Lay on your stomach and bend your knees to kick your heels to your butt, roll your shoulders up and back and reach your arms back to grab onto the tops of your feet. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale kick your feet into your hands and pull your chest up and off the mat. Continue to breath deeply into the belly and push your frontal hip bones down while you pull your belly button up and into the spine to keep core engaged.
6. Camel Pose
Stand on your knees with knees hip distance apart. Activating your glutes, push your hips slightly forward and lift your chest up and back to look towards the ceiling for a backbend, bring your hands to your low back or place your hands on your heels. Keep pushing your hips forward and chest tall. Stay for 3-5 deep breaths.
7. Cobra Pose
Lay on your stomach with your legs extended behind you. Place your forearms onto the mat with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders to create a 90 degree angle in your arms. Lift your chin off your chest and stay for 5-10 breaths.
8. Belly Twist
Lay on your back and spread your arms wide onto the mat. Bring your knees into your chest and then let your legs drop to the left keeping your arms wide. Take 5-10 deep breaths and then return to center and switch sides.
9. Plow Pose
Lay on your back and extend your legs straight up towards the sky moving into legs up the wall pose and flex your toes back towards your face. Lift your low back off your mat and then bring your arms underneath you to place your hands onto your low back for support with your elbows hugged in. Start to bring your feet up and over your head, resting your toes on the ground behind you and pushing through your heels. Take 5-10 breaths.
10. Cat Cow
Come onto hands and knees on your mat placing hands underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips. On your inhale you will extend your spine, dropping your belly towards the ground and lifting your chin off your chest to pull your chest and collarbones forward and up. On your exhale, you will round your spine drawing your chin to your chest and pushing your shoulder blades up towards the ceiling. Repeat 5-10 times.
11. Shoulder Stand
Extend your legs straight up towards the sky moving into legs up the wall pose and flex your toes back towards your face. Lift your low back off your mat and then bring your arms underneath you to place your hands onto your low back for support with your elbows hugged in. Keep extending your legs up towards the sky while keeping the neck neutral. Take 5-10 deep breaths.
12. Locust Pose
Lay on your stomach with legs extended behind you and together and then lay your arms by your sides with palms facing down. Keeping your big toes pressing into the mat to start, raise your head and chest and arms off the mat. For more, activate the glutes and lift your feet off the mat. Roll your shoulders back and up away from the floor. Keep back of your neck long and work on lifting from your chest. Hold for 3-5 breaths and slowly release.