Soothing Stretches to Instantly Ease Digestion
Most of us end up eating way more than usual on Thanksgiving| and since many of the dishes may be richer or sweeter than you’re used to| it can cause some major discomfort in the tummy department. Here are some gentle stretches you can do to ease digestion.
| One-Legged Spinal Twist
This twist can help get things moving in your belly. It’s also a great pose to do after sitting for a long period of time.
- Bend your right knee and cross your left elbow over to the outside edge of the knee and look over your right shoulder.
- As you breathe| continue to deepen the twist. Stay here for about 30 seconds| then do the other side.
| Knees to Chest
This stretch feels great if you’re bloated| having gas pains| or constipated. You may want to do this stretch in private since it’s also called Wind-Relieving Pose.
- Lie on your back and bend both knees into your chest.
- Give yourself a big hug| and rock your knees from side to side to help massage your abdominal organs and get things moving.
- Then hug the knees in tight for a few seconds| and then release the knees away from your belly| lowering the toes to the floor for a few seconds. Continue alternating between the two for a minute or so.
| Happy Baby
Here’s a variation of the previous stretch.
- Lie on your back| bend your knees| and hold onto the outside edges of your feet.
- Gently use your arm muscles to pull your knees toward the floor beside your chest. Relax your shoulders and your head.
Related: Eat Enough of This Every Day to Cure Your Bloated Belly
| Spinal Twist
Twisting always helps get things moving.
- Lie on your back in the middle of your bed. Bend both knees into the chest| and then cross them over to the left side of your body. You can even let your knees hang slightly over the edge of the bed for a deeper stretch.
- Extend your arms in T position| and gaze to the right.
- Stay like this for 30 seconds or more| feeling your spine lengthen and twist. You may even hear some cracks.
- Use your abs to lift your knees back to center| and repeat on the other side.
Here’s another great stretch for the belly.
- Lie on your back with your legs extended.
- Lift the head and upper back off the bed and prop your torso up with your elbows.
- Relax your head back| opening through the throat.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Putting a little gentle pressure on your belly might help encourage digestion.
- Roll over onto your belly and extend your arms out in front of you. If you’re tall| you can hang your feet over the end of the bed.
- Keeping your legs and pelvis grounded| slowly begin to walk your hands toward your chest. As your torso lifts off the bed| keep a slight bend in your elbows. Walk your hands in until you feel a nice stretch in your abs. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and lengthen your neck. If it feels OK| lower your head back between your shoulder blades| and you’ll feel a nice stretch in your chest and neck.
- Stay here for 30 seconds and then lower your torso back to the bed.
Related: Bloated? These Foods May Be the Culprits
| Seated Heart Opener
This stretch will create space in the chest and belly| which may ease belly cramps| and can be done on the floor or while sitting in a chair.
- Begin sitting on your heels. Lean back and place your palms flat on the floor about eight to 10 inches behind you so your fingertips are pointing away.
- Press your hands firmly into the ground and lift your chest as high as you can. Arch your back and push your hips into your heels. To increase the stretch| lower your head behind you| stretching through your throat and the front of your chest.
| Extended Wide Squat
This relaxing yoga pose can help relieve gas pains.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Bend your knees| and lower your hips down toward the ground. If your heels don’t touch the ground| roll up a towel or the back of your mat| and place it under your heels for support.
- Bring your palms together at your heart center| and firmly press your elbows against the inside of your knees. This will help to open your hips even further.
- After five breaths| release the hands to the floor and walk them away from your feet to increase the stretch in the hips and lower back. Hold for another five breaths.
| Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Here’s an effective yoga pose to relieve that uncomfortable bloated feeling.
- Stand with your feet one leg’s length distance apart (about three to four feet). Flare your heels slightly wider than your toes.
- Keeping your spine as long as possible| fold forward| hinging at the hips. Plant your palms on the ground between your feet| with your elbows pointing behind you| or interalce the hands behind you. If you can’t reach the floor| keep your legs straight and rest your hands on your shins.
- Relax your toes and try to shift the weight of your hips forward so they’re in line with your feet.