Yoga for Digestion: Poses and Practices to Detoxify the Body and Keep Things Moving
While you may not think of yoga first when you have trouble with digestion, there are several ways to use the practice to tame tummy troubles. Whether you’re feeling full and heavy or sluggish after eating, you can do yoga for digestion with great results.
Choose yoga poses and breathing exercises based on your goal. The point of doing yoga for digestion may be to “keep things moving,” to eliminate bloating, or to calm an upset stomach. First, consider why your digestion may be off. Digestive problems can be due to anxiety or stress, or they can be caused by physical issues within the gut itself.
Yogic Breathing for Digestion
Our gut is like our second brain, so when we’re tense, we often experience stomachaches, intestinal distress, and other problems. If this is your experience, yogic breathing exercises can help calm anxiety.
First, sit comfortably and breathe slowly into the abdominal region. This can help soften and relax the belly and release anxiety, which can lead to digestive issues.
Kapalabhati (Breath of Fire) is another option. To do this breathing exercise, take short, sharp exhalations. Kapalhabhati can help with digestion by pushing stale energy out of the body.
Yoga Poses for Digestion and Detoxification: Twist It Out!
Twists are great yoga poses for digestion. Both seated twists and supine twists (on your back) can help with tummy troubles. These poses help massage the internal organs and “twist” toxins out of the body.
When you do yoga for digestion, it’s a good idea to add poses that help detoxify the body as well. After all, detoxification and digestion go hand in hand. If your digestive system is sluggish, you not only have trouble digesting food but perhaps also with eliminating toxins.
Like yoga for digestion, detox poses include lots of twists. Add some side bends and poses in which you lift the arms and stretch the side body. Side bends can help detoxify the kidney region. You can also include forward bends over each knee while seated in easy pose.
When you do yoga for digestion or detoxification, think about lengthening the mid region of the body where the digestive organs are located.
Other Yoga Poses for Digestion
Poses that work the psoas and hip flexors are good for digestion as well. These muscles can tighten and interfere with digestion by pulling on the stomach.
Digestion is sluggish when we’re sluggish, so just yoga for digestion also works by simply getting things moving. For example, try a few rounds of cat/cow. Then do a few rounds of knee to nose/leg extensions. While on all fours, bring your knee to your nose, then extendg the leg out behind you. If you can, reach around and grab your foot. Do this on both sides.
Other yoga poses to try for digestion include:
- Lunges to lengthen the abdominals
- Cobra and Locust, which work the belly
- Full or Half Bow. If you can, rock back and forth on your tummy to massage the organs of elimination.
- Childs pose. Bring your awareness to the belly and press it into the upper thighs in this pose.
Proper digestion is an important part of overall health. It’s great that we can do yoga for digestion to help ensure that this vital system works smoothly!
If you want more guidance with yoga for digestion or yoga for detox, sign up for my free 28 Day Yoga for Beginners Program at Do You Yoga!
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!