- November 11, 2018
- Posted by: Stephen Coleclough
- Category: Yoga
Regular yoga practice can deliver many benefits to your physical and mental health.
One of the most useful benefits is a dramatic improvement to how well your body can digest food.
This article will explain how yoga improves digestion and share 5 useful yoga poses that will improve with your digestion.
How does yoga improve digestion?
Yoga is a powerful practice that aids digestion and reduces bloating by increasing the circulation and energy within the abdominal region.
It works on a physical level by stimulating internal organs as you perform each asana.
Yoga also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces stress and makes it easier to rest.
Here is more information on how yoga helps the body digest food.
Yoga is a fantastic stress reliever
One of the common symptoms of stress is digestive problems like constipation, bloating, and diarrhoea.
Yoga can relieve stress-related digestive issues by reducing the levels of stress hormones in your body.
As your stress levels become lower, you will notice your digestion of food improving dramatically.
Twisting motions of yoga improve organ function
There are many poses in yoga which involve the twisting of the torso.
These poses help to stimulate the digestive tract and keep food progressing through the bowels.
Some poses are also very effective at dealing with bloating as they push gas from the stomach and bowels.
Creates a focus on healthy eating
Yoga isn’t just physical exercise, it is a deeply spiritual practice that changes how you think.
It is common for yoga practitioners to experience improved self esteem and a more positive outlook on life.
This often translates to a healthier diet and better self care.
The flow on effect of these changes is better digestion as you will be enjoying a healthy range of fruits and vegetables.
Yoga poses that help your digestion
Here are five of the best digestion-improving yoga poses:
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
This powerful pose stimulates digestive organs while strengthening the spine, chest, lungs, and abdomen.
It also opens is a great pose for relieving stress and fatigue.
To perform Cobra pose:
1) Start by laying prone on the the floor, on your belly. Stretch your legs behind you with the tops of the feet on the floor. Place your hands beneath your shoulders while hugging elbows into the body.
2) Push the tops of your pubis, thighs, and your feet into the floor
3) As you inhale, straighten your arms and lift your chest forward. You should only lift to a height where the pubis and legs are still contacting the ground. The tailbone should be pressed towards the pubis and the buttocks should be firm.
4) Puff the ribs forward as the shoulder blades are firm against the back. Distribute the back bend across the entire back.
5) Hold this pose for between to 15 to 30 seconds, breathing gently
Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward Dog is fantastic for improving the digestive system.
It is a rejuvenating pose that re-energises the body, relieves back pain, reduces stress, and stretches many parts of the body.
To perform a downward dog:
1) Start on your hands and knees with your hands beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Spread your fingers out on your hands and turn your toes under your feet.
2) As you exhale, lift your knees from the floor. Keep your knees slightly bent as you lift your heels from the floor and lift your sitting bones towards the ceiling.
3) Finally push your things back and straighten your knees. Make your outer things firm and roll the upper thighs inwards.
4) Firm your outer arms and keep your hands pushed solidly into the ground. The shoulder blades should be firm against the back and your head should be looking down towards the ground.
5) Stay in this pose for as long as you feel comfortable. Aim for long 1 to 3 minute stretches to really improve your digestive system.
Cow Pose (Bitilasana)
This is one of the first poses that most beginners learn when they take up yoga.
While it is a relatively simple pose, it delivers some excellent health benefits — stretching the torso, neck, spine, and belly organs.
To perform cow pose:
1) Start on your hands and knees, with your knees below your hips and arms perpendicular to the floor. Look at the floor with your head in a neutral position.
2) On an inhale, lift your chest and sitting bones towards the ceiling as you let the belly sink towards the floor. Look forward with your head.
3) Come back into neutral. You can repeat this pose 20 or 30 times for maximum effect, or follow it up with Cat pose.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Saravangasana)
This backbend compresses the digestive organs, which helps to relieve a number of digestive problems including constipation and bloating.
Bridge pose can also reduce fatigue by improving blood flow to the heart.
To perform bridge pose:
1) Start by laying on your back with feet flat on the floor and as close to your sit bones as possible. Your arms should be by your sides, with palms facing towards the ceiling.
2) As you exhale, press your feet and arms to the floor as you lift your knees and pelvis upwards.
3) Take 10 deep breaths while in this position then return to the floor.
Half Gas Release Pose (Ardha Pawamuktasana)
This is a wonderful pose for anyone suffering from bloating or constipation.
It places pressure on the ascending colon on the right side of the digestive tract and the descending colon on the left side.
This stimulates activity in the colon and helps you eliminate built up gas and waste.
To perform the Half Gas Release Pose:
1) Start by laying on your back
2) Hug your right leg towards your chest, holding it beneath the knee with both hands. Keep your left leg straight.
3) Hold for between 1 to 2 minutes, then repeat for the other side.
Thanks for reading 5 Yoga Poses That Might Help With Your Digestion.
Give these yoga poses a try and let me know in the comments how effective they were for your digestive issues.