Yoga Poses For Digestion: 9 Poses To Improve Your Gut Health 2023
You’re on a first date, enjoying those awkward but exciting moments as you talk over dinner. But as dessert comes, you feel your belly expanding. You try to hold it in and squeeze tight, but it’s no use. The gas is building up, and you know you’ll need an excuse to make it an early night.
If you’ve ever struggled with digestive issues, you know the frustration of random bloating, constipation, and gas. Luckily, there’s something that can help prevent this from happening again: yoga!
Yoga improves digestion and gut health by focusing on the breath, increasing blood flow to the digestive system, stimulating the digestive organs, and reducing stress.
Read on to learn the nine best yoga poses for digestion, so you can say goodbye to digestive distress and enjoy all the dates still to come. So grab your yoga mat, brew some ginger tea, and let’s get started!
Top 9 Yoga Poses To Improve Gut Health
If you’re wondering, how many yoga poses are there? The answer is — a lot! But these are the top nine to help you relax and ease digestive distress:
- Child’s Pose: Lets your muscles relax and helps put you into rest and digest mode.
- Cat-Cow: A gentle yoga flow that helps massage and increase blood flow to your belly.
- Downward Facing Dog: Stimulates digestive organs to get them moving.
- Twisting Chair: Relieves discomfort by stimulating organs, movement, and blood to flow to the digestive system.
- Triangle Pose: Stretches and stimulates the abdominal organs.
- Seated Twist: Increases blood flow to the digestive system.
- Supine Spinal Twist: Stimulates digestion and promotes healthy gut function by massaging the internal organs.
- Bridge Pose: Stretches the abdomen and improves blood flow to the digestive system.
- Wind-Relieving Pose: Reduces bloating and gas by gently compressing the abdomen.
Is Yoga Really Good For Digestion?
The short answer is yes! Yoga is a great way to improve digestion, including digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome. Studies show it can even help to reduce painful symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, like gas, diarrhea, and bloating.
Yoga focuses on the breath, which is a fundamental aspect of digestion. When we breathe deeply, we stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and relaxation. And when we’re in a state of relaxation, our body can better digest food and absorb nutrients.
Read on to find out exactly how it makes your digestive system work more efficiently.
How Yoga Helps Digestion
Yoga helps digestion in several ways. First, it stimulates the digestive organs, such as the stomach, liver, and intestines. This stimulation leads to increased blood flow to these organs, which improves their function. When these organs function properly, they relieve constipation, digestion is more efficient, and there are fewer digestive issues.
Second, yoga is great for reducing stress, which can negatively impact digestion. When we’re stressed, our body releases cortisol, a hormone that can interfere with digestive function. But yoga can stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, reduce cortisol levels, and calm your body, thereby improving digestive processes.
Third, yoga helps to improve posture. Poor posture can lead to digestive issues such as bloating and constipation. Many poses also improve posture, which can alleviate these issues.
Finally, yoga helps to increase flexibility. When we’re more flexible, we can boost our muscular strength and mobility, helping us to perform daily activities more easily, including digestion. For example, certain yoga postures can help stretch the digestive tract muscles, making them more flexible and efficient.
9 Best Yoga Poses For Digestion
Yoga is just one of many ways to help create digestive health. So the next time you feel a bit backed up and need some movement, give these twists a turn:
This dynamic duo of poses is great for promoting spinal mobility and flexibility, which can help reduce bloating and ease digestive discomfort. Start on your hands and knees, then bring your hips back towards your heels while lowering your forehead to the ground. Reach your arms forward or alongside your body. Hold the pose for a few breaths, then slowly release it.
This dynamic duo of poses promotes spinal mobility and flexibility, which can help reduce bloating and ease digestive discomfort. Start on your hands and knees, then inhale and arch your back while lifting your head and tailbone to perform the cat pose. Exhale and round your spine while tucking your chin to your chest to move into the cow pose. Repeat the movement several times, coordinating with your breath.
Downward Facing Dog
This pose is a classic yoga posture great for lengthening and stretching the spine. It’s also fantastic for increasing blood flow and increasing digestive health by alleviating constipation.
Start on your hands and knees, then lift your hips up and back while straightening your arms and legs, forming an inverted V shape with your body. Try to keep your heels on the ground and your head between your arms. You can also make it a twist by holding one hand on the opposite knee, then reverse.
This pose helps to massage internal organs and promote digestion. Start in a chair pose with your feet together and your knees bent. Inhale breathing deeply, then exhale and twist to the right, bringing your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Hold the pose for a few breaths, then repeat on the other side.
This pose stretches the sides of the body and massages the internal organs. Start standing with your feet wide apart. Turn your right foot out, then extend your right arm towards your right foot while lifting your left arm. Keep your chest open and your gaze up. Hold the pose for a few breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Sit with your legs extended in front of you, bend your right knee, and place your foot outside your left knee. Twist your torso to the right, placing your left elbow outside your right knee. Breathe deeply, hold for a few breaths, then repeat on the other side.
By twisting the body, you can stimulate the digestive organs, which can improve their function and help with issues like bloating and constipation. Plus, this pose can help to increase blood flow to the digestive system, allowing for better nutrient absorption
Supine Spinal Twist
This pose is like a gentle hug for your internal organs. The twist stimulates your internal organs, including the stomach and intestines. It can relieve gas and bloating, so you can say goodbye to that uncomfortable feeling in your belly. Plus, it’s a relaxing pose that can help in decreasing stress, which is always a win in my book!
Start by lying on your stomach, then place your hands next to your shoulders. Inhale and lift your chest off the ground, pressing into your hands. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows close to your body. Hold the pose for a few breaths, then slowly release it.
This gentle backbend stretches the front of the body, including the chest, shoulders, and abdomen. It also helps stimulate the abdominal organs, speeding up the digestive process and reducing bloating.
Lie on your back, your knees slightly bent, and your feet flat on the ground. Inhale, then exhale and lift your hips off the ground while pressing into your feet. Try to keep your shoulders on the ground, and your chin tucked. Hold the pose for a few breaths, then slowly release it.
This gentle yoga posture has you hugging your knees into your chest while lying on your back. It’s great for digestion because it gently massages the intestines and stimulates digestive organs, helping to relieve gas, bloating, and constipation. Plus, you can do it after a big meal to help get rid of any discomfort.
You can practice this yoga sequence regularly but also listen to your body to determine what works best for you. Finally, always try to end in Corpse Pose or Savasana. This final pose is like the “nap time” of yoga. It’s when you lie down on your back, close your eyes, and totally relax your body like a jellyfish. It’s also perfect after a hard workout or just as a way to take a break from life’s hustle and bustle.
Precautions And Safety Tips
Here are some precautions and safety tips to keep in mind while practicing yoga for digestion:
- Listen to your body: Remember how you’re feeling during your practice. If a pose feels uncomfortable or painful, stop and adjust or skip it altogether. Remember, yoga is supposed to be a healing practice, not a painful one.
- Avoid overeating: It’s best to practice yoga on an empty or lightly filled stomach. Overeating can make digestion more difficult and uncomfortable during your practice. While some gentle yoga poses for digestion after eating is safe, it’s usually best to wait at least two to three hours before starting your practice.
- Take it slow: Rushing can put unnecessary stress on your body and disrupt your digestion, so move slowly and gently.
- Practice Breathing deeply: Deep breathing is an essential part of yoga that helps improve digestion. Focus on inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly throughout your practice to gain the biggest benefits.
- Seek professional advice: If you have any doubts or concerns about whether a particular pose is right for you, seek the advice of a professional yoga teacher. They can guide you and provide modifications to make your practice safe and enjoyable, especially if you have injuries, chronic conditions, or are pregnant. Try attending yoga class if you feel you need group support or guidance from yoga teachers.
- Take care of your mat: Keeping your yoga mat clean and free from bacteria and germs helps avoid any infections or illnesses that can affect your gut or skin health. Clean your mat after each practice, and avoid sharing it with others.
Remember, yoga is a journey, and the key to a successful practice is to be patient and mindful and to practice with a sense of playfulness and joy. By considering these precautions and safety tips, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits that yoga has to offer for your digestion and gut health.
The Bottom Line
Bloating, gas, and constipation can be a real pain in the gut, especially when you’re around other people. Thankfully, yoga can improve digestion and gut health by increasing blood flow to the digestive system, stimulating the digestive organs, and reducing stress.
While yoga can be a great tool for improving digestion and gut health, it’s important to approach it cautiously and listen to your body. Remember to avoid overstretching, stay hydrated, and work with a qualified yoga instructor if you’re new to the practice.
If you want to say goodbye to digestive pain and all the awkwardness it brings, give these yoga poses a try. With regular practice, you’ll be on your way to a happy and healthy gut — and social life!
+ 4 sources
Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here
- Kavuri, V., Raghuram, N., Malamud, A. and Selvan, S.R. (2015). Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Yoga as Remedial Therapy. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, [online] 2015, pp.1–10. doi:https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/398156.
- Sharma, P., Poojary, G., Dwivedi, S.N. and Deepak, K.K. (2015). Effect of Yoga-Based Intervention in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, [online] 25(1), pp.101–112. doi:https://doi.org/10.17761/1531-2054-25.1.101.
- Dr. Farhan franklin (2021). 12th International Conference & Exhibition on Physiotherapy, Physical Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine. Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy, [online] 0(0), pp.1–2. Available at: https://www.longdom.org/open-access/role-of-yoga-in-our-digestive-system-82614.html
- Mertz, H. (2017). Stress and the Gut. [online] Available at: https://www.med.unc.edu/ibs/wp-content/uploads/sites/450/2017/10/Stress-and-the-Gut.pdf.