Soothing Stretches to Instantly Ease Digestion

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.

| Fish

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.

    | Cobra

    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.