If the gut is out of balance, it can wreak havoc on every aspect of an individual’s day as the stomach connects and influences multiple areas of the body, even our mood. Keeping our body active with exercise is essential for our internal organs’ healthy stimulation to help our systems work at full capacity. Luckily, there are yoga poses that help with digestion.
As uncomfortable as bloat symptoms, constipation, and gas can be, there are many benefits of specific poses that target the core with particular turns and twists as if it were to ‘wring out’ the digestive tract to promote for healthy digestion. Let’s find out what yoga poses help with digestion, no matter what level you are.
The Child’s Pose Eases Your Digestive Issues
If you’re entirely new to yoga and not sure where to begin, don’t stress. These first few poses are easy to learn and make a big difference with indigestion. Their twists and turns help massage the internal organs and get things moving at the pace they should.
If you’re beginning practicing yoga, odds are you’ve come across Child’s Pose. This pose helps us focus on pacing our breathing and ease the mind when we’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, which can ultimately cause chaos in our digestive system.
- Start on your shins, shoulder-length apart, and sit down into your heels to enter this pose.
- Keeping your sides’ arms relaxed, takes a deep breath while maneuvering your body to rest slightly forward.
- Hold this pose for however long it is comfortable but ideally up to ten breaths.
The Mermaid Stretch Targets Your Abdomen
This posture is excellent for people just beginning that want to target the digestive system in their stretch. The mermaid stretch focuses on the abdomen and generates space so the internal organs can function correctly and with more ease, especially when they’ve been feeling tired or bloated. This pose will help reduce some of those symptoms.
The mermaid stretch is an easy transition from child’s pose:
- Sit upright resting on your shins, and slightly loses your body weight to one side of your hips.
- Rest one hand to the opposing side while outstretching the other up above the head, creating a slight bend. Repeat for up to ten breaths on each side.
The Seated Spinal Twist Engages Your Core Systems
This Seated Spinal Twist is much like the mermaid stretch, as it focuses on one side of the body at a time. The twists and turns help keep the digestive system engaged and keep things moving correctly. Start by:
- Sitting on the shins, exiting the mermaid stretch, bringing the opposite leg around, and placing the foot to rest right above the shin, wrapping the opposite arm around the knee as you twist towards that direction.
- Repeat on both sides and remain in the posture for up to ten breaths.
The Pigeon Pose Opens and Expands Your Hips
Some digestive issues may arise due to some tightness in the hips that creates pressure on the abdomen and colon. This pose helps to create space by twists and expansion in the hips. To enter the Pigeon Pose:
- Start by moving out of the seated spinal twist, extending the top leg out behind you, straightening the leg and leaning in deeper to the front leg, pressing forward to deepen the stretch after about ten breath, switch sides.
The King Arthur Lunge Pose Loosens Things Up
King Arthur Lunge loosens up the area around our internal organs. To enter the pose:
- Perform a low lunge reaching out behind you, grabbing the foot as you bend the leg towards the ceiling.
- Remain in this pose for however it feels comfortable but ideally up to ten breaths.
These next few poses are for those who may be more familiar with yoga or that are more flexible. They still work to target digestion just as well as the beginning poses, but with a little more enhancements in the activated areas.
The Bridge Pose Inverts Your Organs
The bridge pose earns a mark as intermediate since it is the beginning of a backbend. This pose has several benefits that open the chest and shoulders while elongating the spine neck and hip flexor. It is a mild inversion and helps massages abdominal organs and tone and engages the lower back.
To perform the Bridge Pose:
- Begin lying on your back with knees bent hip width distance apart and feet firmly pressed towards the floor. Within exhale, lift hips upwards.
- Lift the tailbone towards the hips, keeping the rear off the ground. Do not squeeze or flex the muscles of the glutes.
- Keep shoulders underneath yourself and arms back, straightening them and pressing forearms against the floor or mat.
- Maintain this pose for as long as it feels comfortable or but ideally, up to a minute. Exhale, slowly bring the spine down towards the floor.
The Garland Pose (Malasana) Strengths the Digestive System
The Malasana is an excellent pose to incorporate into your workout routine for digestion as it massages abdominal organs and works to strengthen hip flexors.
To enter this pose:
- Begin with a small space between your heels, turning the inner thighs outwards. Place your palms against each other in prayer position.
- Slowly dropping the body down into a squat, keep thighs separate and lean slightly forward, bringing elbows towards the upper part of the thighs or knees.
- Be mindful of not rounding the back but maintaining an erect spine. Hold the Malasana pose for as long as it is comfortable before dropping back towards the mat.
The Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) Provides a Deep Stretch to Essential Muscles
The triangle pose helps to strengthen the groin, open the hips, and provide a deep stretch through the hamstrings. To enter the triangle pose:
- Start from a standing position with feet shoulder length apart. Press the right hips outwards, lifting both arms parallel to the floor.
- Exhale, raising the right arm and resting the left hand against the left leg. Press feet firmly into the ground, extend the fingers, and bring the arms into one line with the shoulders. Press the hips forward. However, it is comfortable, generally recommended, is eight breaths.
- To release, inhale, and reach the hands upwards, you secure the feet downward using leg muscles’ strength to extend the body back upwards. Hold for up to 8 breaths or, however long the pose feels comfortable.
The Big Toe Pose (Padangusthasana) Relieves Stress to Keep Things Moving
The big toe pose helps improve digestion, stimulates the liver, and can help relieve stress. To enter this pose:
- Stand with feet parallel, keep legs straight, and slightly bend forward from the hips, moving the torso downward.
- From here, place the fingers below the toes and grip them firmly. Stay within this pose for however long it feels comfortable.
- To exit the pose, with an inhale; lift the torso back up to stand erect. Lengthen the torso and on the next exhale, lift the bones of the lower extremities.
The Marichi’s Pose (Marichyasana) Elongates Your Spine
This stretch helps to massage abdominal organs while elongating and strengthening the spine. Begin this pose by:
- Sit with legs outstretched before you.
- Bend the knee to bring in one leg towards the body.
- Keep the foot flat and turn the body towards the bent leg, stretching one arm behind the body while lifting the other for the elbow to meet the bent leg’s knee.
- Maintain a straight back, and keep palms open. Hold the pose for however long it is comfortable for you, or for up to 10 breathes.
- To exit, turn forward and repeat on the other side.
The following poses are more advanced and should be performed by individuals who have practiced yoga before. They require a considerable amount of flexibility to achieve the most effective stretch to better digestion.
The King Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana) Should Improve Digestion Quickly
This pose stimulates the core organs, stretches deep into the hip flexors, improves muscles that support the back improving posture, and stretches the body’s entire front. Some preparatory poses include: Supta Virasana, Bhujangasana, or Dhanurasana. To perform King Pigeon pose,
- Keep knees hip-width apart from hips and shoulders. With hands pressed firmly against the back of the pelvis.
- With an inhale, tuck the chin down towards the torso, leaning the head and shoulders back as far as possible without pushing the lower pelvic bone forward.
- Keep shoulder blades back, lift the chest and gradually release head back before reaching backward to perform a backbend by placing the head and hands-on floor.
- Bring the hands together in front of the chest.
- Separate the hands, reaching up over the head and out behind the body.
- Bring hips forward, and balance the body’s weight as you begin to bend backward.
- Keep thighs perpendicular to the floor, place palms flat on the floor, keep fingers towards the feet, and lower the head to the floor.
- With your palms, lift the head off the floor and bring hips forward, feeling the stretch in the groin. Lift the pelvic bone, lengthening the spine, and bring the hands to the feet. If possible, lower the forearms towards the floor and grip the ankles or calves. Drawing the elbows towards one another and extend the neck and place the forehead onto the floor.
- Within a full breath, expand the chest, exhaling softly and pressing the shins and forearms against the floor. Lengthen the tailbone toward the knees and lift the chest.
- Hold this pose for up to thirty seconds or a minute if comfortable. Within an inhale, soften the core and release your grip. Pushing the torso upright and falling into Child’s Pose.
If this pose is too much, try One-Legged King Pigeon Pose.
The Peacock Pose Provides a Deep Stretch for Peaceful Digestion
A pose to help prepare for the peacock pose is the Chaturanga Dandasana or the Four-Limbed Staff Pose. To enter this pose:
- Keep knees broad and kneel on the floor, sitting onto your feet. Lean the body forward and press the hands to the ground, turn fingers outward from your torso.
- Bend the elbows and touch the outer side of the hands and the outer forearms together. Bend the elbows and slide the knees to the outside of the arms. Lean torso onto the back of the upper part of the arm and nestle the elbows within the core.
- Tighten the core and use the elbows as added support. Lower the head towards the floor and stretch legs behind with the feet’ bottom pointed upwards towards the ceiling. Lean forward, positioning the body to be completely parallel with the floor.
- Hold the pose for as long as possible, gradually growing with strength and time to get to at least a hold time of 30 seconds. To exit the pose, return the head and feet to the floor, bending the knees returning the torso to an upright position.
The Compass Pose (Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana) Can Do More than Just Improve Stomach Troubles
The Compass Pose works to improve digestion and even helps provide relief for some respiratory conditions. Some poses that can help an individual prepare are: standing forward bend and head to knee forward bend.
To enter this pose:
- Start in a sitting position and cross legs over one another.
- Take the right knee and bend it close towards the chest.
- Extend the left leg forward.
- Keep the right arm aligned with the right leg. Put the fingertips onto the mat when reaching the right hand to place underneath the right leg. With the left hand, reach out to grip onto the right foot and extend the right leg.
- Meanwhile, take the left arm over the head and extend as much as possible.
- Maintain a gaze that fixates to the overhead and left arm.
- Try to remain in the pose for about 15 seconds or for however long it is comfortable for you.
The Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) Helps All Sorts of Body Ailments
This posture receives its title from it looks like a bow of an archer. It helps to relieve menstrual discomfort and constipation. Some poses to prepare are: Bhujangasana, Supta Virasana, and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. To enter this pose:
- Lie down on the mat with stomach against the ground and hands lying next to the body, with palms facing the ceiling.
- Exhale to bend knees upward, with heels reaching towards the lower parts of the back. Arch back to grip onto the ankles. Ensure the knees are the same width of hips, keep knees hip-width.
- Inhale, lifting the heels upwards and feel the stretch through the chest and stomach. Press the tailbone downwards while maintaining relaxed muscles. Continue lifting, pressing shoulder blades together, and an opening chest.
- Make sure not to stop breathing, although it may feel difficult as the stomach pressing against the floor. Keep breathing and maintain the posture for whatever duration is comfortable but ideally for 30 seconds to a minute. To release, exhale, and return to a lying position. Repeat the pose once or twice for full effectiveness, listening to the body.
How Does Yoga Help With Digestion?
A healthy gut helps contribute as a source to a strong and healthy immune system. This strong immunity helps to contribute to overall health, including the brain and heart systems, and fight against conditions including cancer prevention and autoimmune disease.
The gut helps heal the microbiome through proper digestion. The microbiome consists of trillions of particles that take residence within the intestines. This microbiome is susceptible to particles thrown out of balance when hormone signals to the body when experiencing mental or physical strain.
This strain, or these signals, shows why exercise helps combating issues related to digestion. Researchers linked that this physical activity positively influences our microbiome’s health with regular practice of six weeks or more. This finding illustrates that movement significantly relates to increasing microbiome diversity levels in the digestive system, which means that it increases the number of bacteria (either good or bad) in our bodies.
If our body is out of balance, some digestive issues are most commonly reported, such as feelings of fatigue, constipation, bloat, and gas. We eat and use our bodies to impact our gut microbiome significantly, and interestingly enough, no one’s gut microbiome is the same as our genetics influences it. However, factors such as age, stress, disease, diet, and where we live can play a vital role in our gut’s health.
That’s why exercises like yoga help the body function from the inside out so fluidly as they aid the internal organs with gentle stimulation. The core and abdominal muscles are engaged and help directly target the digestive tract improving circulation and bettering the relief of extra pressure that may have built up over time.
Doing Yoga Brings Your Body Equilibrium
Whether you’re just starting yoga or have been practicing for several years, there’s plenty of poses to incorporate into your day-to-day routine that honor your level of flexibility, and that will bring ease and comfort to your digestive tract.
Remember, it doesn’t matter which level you are; they’re all working the internal organs the same and will all be useful to provide relief. Try some of these yoga poses for digestion and see how they can benefit you and continue your healthy well-being journey.