You can be having a lovely day, minding your own business when suddenly your gut bloats and cramps. Sometimes occurring hours after you’ve last eaten, bloating can take you by surprise and ruin the rest of your day.
Your gut is doing a lot of work and while it’s good at its job, there’s plenty that can derail it. Stress, strong foods, and even skipping meals can cause bloating and pain. You don’t have to take medication or hop back into bed though, yoga for digestion can transform how you feel.
Sometimes your gut needs a little help when digesting foods. Certain foods can cause trapped gas that gives you bloating and cramps and gentle exercise can provide that help.
Keep reading to find out which yoga poses provide fast relief from bloating and why they work.
Why Yoga Reduces Bloating
We live hectic, stressful lives and that doesn’t just impact our mental health. Running around feeling stressed has an impact on our digestion too.
There are two sides to your nervous system, the parasympathetic and sympathetic. These both work to control the functioning of your body in different situations throughout the day.
Stress ignites the sympathetic system, otherwise known as the fight-or-flight response. When this system is in full force, digestion is put on pause because your body thinks the threat (a stressful situation) is more important.
Of course, there’s no lion chasing us. It’s everyday stress.
Yoga calms this response and turns on your parasympathetic system, the resting and recovery system. When the parasympathetic system is in charge, your gut works well and your brain and body can relax and recharge.
In addition to managing these systems, yoga’s movement has other digestion benefits. It boosts blood flow and helps the movement of food around the gut. Gentle movements can also help gas work its way out without getting trapped and giving you those painful cramps.
1. Seated Side Twist (Marichyasana III)
The seated side twist is one of the best yoga poses for digestion as it works your gut and boosts circulation.
- Start in staff pose, seated with legs straight out in front of you
- Bend your right knee with foot flat on the floor
- Keep your spine tall
- Twist your torso gently to the right and place your right hand on the floor in line with your shoulders
- Bend your left elbow and rest against the right knee
- Look over your right shoulder and hold for 30 seconds
2. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
One of the most well-known yoga poses, downward-facing dog is brilliant for digestion. It aids circulations and gets your abdomen engaged and working.
- Start by standing with feet around hip-width apart
- Fold at the waist and reach your hands to the floor
- Place palms flat on the floor with fingers spread so your body forms an upside-down “v”
- Keep your spine straight and don’t worry about keeping your heels on the ground
- Take several deep, slow breaths
Downward dog is well known but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. If you’re new to yoga or want to commit to the practice more, a private yoga instructor might be exactly what you need to see results.
When you have an instructor, you’ll learn how to do each pose in perfect form and alignment.
3. Cat-Cow (Marjaiasana Bitilasana)
Cat-Cow is a great pose for digestion as it’s simple and effective. These two linked poses are common in many yoga classes and are a good way to warm-up for general practices as well as to help digestion.
- Begin on all fours in a tabletop position
- Knees should be below hips and hands below shoulders
- Inhale bringing your head and bottom up and dipping your stomach down
- Exhale rounding your back upward and bringing your head downward
- Continue these poses with your breath for a minute
4. Half Gas Release (Ardha Pawamuktasana)
The clue is in the name with this one so if you need relief from uncomfortable gas, this pose has got your back. Sometimes bloating just requires the space and position to allow it to pass naturally and that’s what yoga is so good for.
You can perform this pose over and over again until you find relief. As you’re lying on your back, it’s a comfortable and relaxing pose.
- Start by lying on your back with your legs out straight
- Breathe in and out to relax
- Exhale and bring your right knee up to your chest
- Do several cycles of breath while hugging your knee close
- Release knee and repeat with the left knee
5. Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Another pose that is done while lying down, this twist provides a wonderful stretch in the spine and helps to invigorate the gut. Twists help digestion by massaging the organs and boosting circulation throughout the body.
- Start by lying down flat on your back with your legs out straight
- Gently bend your right knee and slowly lower it across your left hip so it almost rests on the other side
- Keep your upper body flat on the floor and extend your right arm out to your right side
- Breathe deeply several times before gently untwisting and repeating on the other side
6. Camel (Ustrasana)
Camel is a challenging pose for some and works the lower back and digestive tract. When doing camel pose for the first time, seeking advice and correction from an instructor is a good idea.
- Knee on the mat and push down through the tops of your feet
- Kneel up and place your hands on your lower back for support
- Bend backward slowly
- Place hands on ankles one at a time and push sternum up to create space
- Breathe deeply
- To come out, place hands on the lower back and straighten up with their support
7. Wide Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Wide child’s pose is a firm favorite among many yogis as it is deeply relaxing and provides relief for bloating discomfort. You can stay in this pose for a while, just don’t fall asleep!
- Start by kneeling on your mat
- Work your knees out to the sides of your mat but keep your feet together
- Place your hands in front of you and slide them forward
- Curve your back and rest your forehead on the mat
- Breathe deeply
Try Yoga for Digestion to Find Relief
When bloating happens, it can appear out of the blue and cause immense discomfort. There’s no need to take medication or wait it out if you have these yoga poses up your sleeve.
Yoga for digestion is a commonly practiced activity and can provide relief quickly. These gentle movements boost circulation and massage the gut, helping it with its task.
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