Ease Your Digestive Woes With This Yoga Sequence
If you need a little relief after enjoying your huge holiday feast| instead of plopping on the couch and chewing on some Tums| try this relaxing yoga sequence to get things flowing and moving naturally.
| Standing Forward Bend Pose
A calming pose to begin with| forward bends like this one massage your internal organs and increase circulation.
- Begin in Mountain Pose at the front of your mat. Inhale and reach your arms straight above you.
- As you exhale| engage your abs| and fold forward with a straight back. Tuck your chin in toward your chest| relax your shoulders| and extend the crown of the head toward the floor to create a long spine. Shift weight forward into your toes| straightening the legs as much as possible. Place your hands on the ground| fingertips lining up with the toes.
- Hold here for five breaths.
| Extended Wide Squat
Coming into this pose can be pretty intense when you feel bloated postmeal| but it can help with uncomfortable intestinal gas.
- Separate your feet a little wider| bend the knees| and breathe out as you lower into a Wide Squat.
- Release your hands to the floor| and walk them out in front of you| allowing the belly to fall between the knees.
- Stay here for five deep breaths.
| Downward Facing Dog Pose
Downward Facing Dog brings the body into alignment and relaxes your gastrointestinal tract.
- Come onto the hands and knees with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.
- Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips| coming into the classic upside down “V”” shape called Downward Facing Dog.
- Spread your fingers wide| and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Relax your head between your arms| and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button.
- Breathe deeply for five breaths.
| Open Revolved Extended Side Angle
This variation of Revolved Extended Side Angle allows for a deep relaxing twist.
- From Down Dog| take a breath in as you step the right foot forward between the hands. Lower your left palm to the floor beside your right foot.
- Exhale to reach your right arm behind you| opening your palm toward the ceiling. Really lean your weight into the left hand| and allow your right shoulder to drift back as much as possible to deepen the stretch.
- Hold this position| breathing into the pose for five breaths.
| One-Legged Seated Spinal Twist
Strala Yoga founder Tara Stiles agrees that twists get things moving and improve circulation| and here’s a simple one.
- From Open Revolved Extended Side Angle| inhale as you bring the left knee forward behind the right foot and sit down. Exhale to cross your left elbow over to the outside of the right knee| and press the right palm into the floor behind you. Look over your right shoulder.
- As you breathe| continue to deepen the twist. Stay here for five breaths.
This stretch creates space in your stuffed torso| which can ease abdominal cramps.
- Sit on your shins with your knees hip-width apart.
- Inhale to put both hands on your hips| and exhale to gently arch back| just beginning to warm up your lower back and quads.
- When you’re ready| reach your right hand back toward your right heel and then your left toward your left heel. Your hands are there for balancing support| so don’t lean all your weight into them. Shift weight forward into your knees to increase the stretch you feel in your belly and chest.
- Lower your head behind you| and stay here for five breaths.
| Butterfly Pose
Forward bends like Butterfly are perfect poses to subtly relieve pains from digestion.
- Sit on the floor with your heels together| knees out wide. Rest your hands on your feet.
- Inhale| keeping the spine long| and gently fold forward as you exhale. Press the elbows against the inner knees to open the hips further| which will help you get a deeper forward bend.
- Enjoy this pose for five deep breaths.
| Boat Pose
This pose focuses on stimulating your core and is an essential pose for healthy digestion.
- From Butterfly| inhale to lift the legs into the air| and bring your feet to touch. Balance on your tush with the knees bent| or if you can| straighten the legs. Keep the spine long without rounding the back.
- Hold for five complete breaths.
| Seated Straddle
Seated forward bends like this one compress your abdominal muscles while massaging your colon. To get the most out of this pose| really engage your core and keep the belly active.
- Sit on the floor with your legs in a wide straddle position| lengthening through the spine with an inhale.
- Slowly hinge at your hips with an exhale| lowering your torso toward the floor. Fold as far as you need to feel a nice stretch in your back and hamstrings. Don’t worry about folding your body completely in half| unless this is comfortable for you.
- Stay like this for five deep breaths.
| Bow Pose
Bow Pose is fantastic for aiding digestion and relieving constipation. This pose really stretches out your entire torso.
- Lie on your belly. Inhale to bend your knees| and hold onto the inside or outside edges of your ankles. Once you have a firm hold of each ankle| try to keep your toes together| either pointing or flexing your feet.
- Exhale as you lift your feet as high as you can| and shift weight forward| so you’re resting on your naval instead of on the pubic bone.
- Hold for five deep breaths.
| Bound Headstand Pose
It may sound counterintuitive to go upside down| but inversions are a yogi’s best defense against digestion issues. Bound Headstand is an ideal pose to stimulate your abdominal muscles.
- Place your clasped fingers and head on the floor at the top of your mat. Straighten your legs| and walk your feet toward your head. Bend one knee| and tuck it into your chest. Using your abs and hamstring flexibility| lift the other leg off the floor so both knees are tucked into your chest| so you’re in a pose called Bound Headstand Prep: Tuck.
- With complete control| inhale to slowly lift and straighten both legs up| coming into Bound Headstand. If balancing is hard| bend one knee and place the sole of your foot on a wall.
- Hold for five breaths. Then slowly bend your knees into your chest| and lower your feet to the floor.
| Wide Child’s Pose
Forward bending creates heat in the abdominal area to keep the digestive juices flowing| and if any of your belly woes are due to stress| this pose will help alleviate those worries.
- Kneel on your mat with your knees slightly wider that hip-width apart| with your big toes touching behind you. Take a deep breath in| and as you exhale| fold forward. Lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
- Rest your arms beside your legs| with palms facing up| or extend the arms out in front of you.
- Stay here for five to 10 breaths.
| Knee to Chest
You may want to experiment with this pose in private u2014 it’s also known as the Wind-Relieving Pose.
- Roll onto your back| and inhale to hug the right knee in to your chest| and then rock your knee from side to side to help massage your abdominal organs and get things moving for a few breaths. Switch legs| hugging the left knee in.
- Then| hug both knees into the chest| rocking from side to side. Release the knees away from your belly| lowering the toes to the floor for a few seconds. Repeat a few more times.
| Eagle Twist
Here’s another relaxing twist you’ll want to spend a little extra time in.
- After hugging the knees into the chest| inhale as you cross your right knee in front of your left knee. Wrap your left toes around the back of your right ankle| just like in Eagle Pose.
- Extend your arms out in cactus position with your elbows at right angles| palms facing up.
- Slowly lower both knees to the left with an exhale. Rest them on the ground| and turn your head to the right.
- Hold here for at least five breaths| feeling your spine lengthen and twist. You may even hear some “”cracks.””
- Use your abs to lift your knees back to center with an inhale. Exhale to uncross your legs| and inhale to cross them the opposite way| with your left knee on top. Exhale to slowly lower both knees to the right| looking over your left shoulder for another five breaths.
- Release and find your way into a Standing Forward Bend| and repeat this sequence on the left side.