Yoga Poses can Promote Better Digestion

While you’re enduring discomfort from bloating, gas, constipation and other digestive woes, yoga class can be the furthest thing from your mind.

Yet yoga’s twisting and stretching motions, emphasis on posture and calming effect make it one of the best activities for helping your gut to function at top capacity.

Many poses boost the overall efficiency of your digestive organs and muscles while others can alleviate symptoms as they’re happening.

  • Cobra — This classic asana, or pose, is great for strengthening your abdominal muscles and straightening your posture, both important for proper digestion.
  1. Lie on your stomach with your palms flat on the ground directly under your shoulders. Bend your elbows straight back and hug them into your sides.
  2. Pause for a moment looking straight down at your mat with your neck in a neutral position. Press your pubic bone into the floor.
  3. Inhale to lift your chest off the floor. Roll your shoulders back and keep your lower ribs on the floor. Make sure your elbows continue hugging your sides and your neck is straight.
    • Happy Baby — It’s beloved for its ability to release abdominal gas.
    1. Lying on your back, inhale and bring both knees into your chest. Bring your arms through the insides of the knees and hold on to the outside edge of each foot with each hand.
    2. Tuck the chin into the chest with the head on the floor. Press your sacrum and tailbone down into the floor as you press your heels up and pull back with your arms.
    3. Press the shoulders and the back of the neck down into the floor, trying to get the back and whole spine flat to the floor. If you want a deeper stretch in the hips, let the legs open a bit wider. Breathe and hold for 4 to 8 breaths.
      • Gate — This side stretch opens room for your digestive tract while relieving stress and is suggested for those who have irritable bowel syndrome.
      1. Begin in a kneeling position with your hips directly over your knees. Extend one leg out to the side.
      2. Reach your arms overhead to create length and then extend your arms to the side towards your extended leg. Allow your bottom hand to rest softly on your extended leg while you stabilize your core to extend through the opposite side.
      3. Turn your torso upward and externally rotate your extended leg and toes.
        • Camel — Stretch your torso long and ease constipation with this challenging but liberating pose.
        1. Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-distance wide. Press the tops of your feet into the mat. Place your hands on your lower back.
        2. Inhale, tuck your tailbone under, and lengthen your spine. Exhale and slowly lean back, rolling your shoulders back and expanding your chest. Bring your hands to the soles of your feet one at a time.