4 Yoga Poses for Improved Digestion
Having proper digestion is essential for good health. Through proper digestion, your body gets the nutrients it needs from the food and drink you consume for your body to stay healthy.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the activity in your gut is connected to other systems in the body, affecting your immunity and even your brain health. People who suffer from digestive problems including constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and bloating can also experience big emotional shifts like anxiety or depression.
Aside from the foods you eat, yoga can stimulate the gut to function more efficiently. Try a few yoga poses below.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat.
- Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. Exhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
- Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone, holding your buttocks off the floor. Do not squeeze your glutes or flex your buttocks.
- Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor beneath your pelvis. Straighten your arms as much as possible, pressing your forearms into the mat. Reach your knuckles toward your heels.
- Keep your thighs and feet parallel — do not roll to the outer edges of your feet or let your knees drop together. Press your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
- Hold for up to one minute. To release, unclasp your hands and place them palms-down alongside your body. Exhale as you slowly roll your spine along the floor, vertebrae by vertebrae. Allow your knees to drop together.
- (WARNING: Do not perform bridge pose if you have a neck or shoulder injury.)
- Stand in mountain pose. Turn the right foot out 90 degrees and the left foot out 45 degrees. Square the hips to face the right side.
- On an exhale, lower the torso down slowly. Bring the chest to rest on the right thigh and reach for the floor. For a deeper stretch, grasp the back of the right ankle and pull the torso closer to the thigh. Breathe.
- Hold the pose for 10-20 seconds. Feel a good stretch in the hamstring. Release slowly then repeat on the other side.
- Stand with the legs together. Align the heels and turn the toes slightly inward. Place your hands on your hips.
- Take in a deep, cleansing breath, lifting the torso. On your exhale, fold forward at the hips. Press the palms of the hands into the floor in the middle of your legs. If you’re more flexible, bring the hands to your shins, ankles or feet. Get a deeper stretch by pulling on the ankles.
- Allow the head to dangle, aiming to place the crown of the head on the floor. You may reach the fingertips in between the legs, toward the back of the room.
- Remain in the pose for 5-10 breaths. On each exhalation, stretch and pull gently for a maximum stretch.
- To get out of the pose, bring the hands back to the hips and inhale, raising the torse back up to standing.
- Sit comfortably with the legs criss cross on the floor. Tuck the left heel underneath the right buttocks. Bend the knee of the right leg and slowly place the right foot on the outside of the left knee.
- Turn the torso to the right, hooking your left elbow on the outside of the right knee. Twist from the lower torso, fixing your gaze over your right shoulder. Breathe.
- Hold the pose for 10-20 seconds and continue to breathe deeply. Twist the torso more on each exhale.
- Repeat on the other side.