After a large or indulgent meal, many of us feel like a beluga whale that has just landed ashore. You can choose to lounge on the beach and let nature take its slow and steady course, or you can use your yoga practice to ease you back to your digestive normalcy.
There are a variety of yoga poses that can help you beat belly bloat, gas, and indigestion. Experiment with one or a few of these poses to see what feels right for your body. They will all help get your tummy back on track.
Here are 10 Yoga Poses to Beat Belly Bloat and Promote Digestion:
1. Corpse Pose
By allowing your body to stretch out and remain open and uncramped, your digestive system has the room to operate at its optimal potential. Additionally, this pose relaxes the body and reduces stress, which for many is a cause of digestive upset. To get into this pose, lie flat on your back with your hands to each side and your feet outstretched. Play some relaxing music and place an eye pillow or scarf to shield the light from your eyes and help you to achieve a deeper state of relaxation.
2. Wind-Relieving Pose
With a name like this, you can imagine what this pose promotes – release of “wind” and relief of bloating and gas. This pose stimulates the nerves to aid elimination. From corpse pose, place your hands on your knees, hug your knees to your chest, and rock from side to side. Maintain deep and steady inhales and exhales.
3. Cat-Cow Pose
On your hands and knees, do a slow and controlled transition between cat – round your upper back and look down while pressing your hands to your mat – and cow – drop your tummy toward your mat and lift your chest, hips and head. Use controlled inhales with your cow and exhales with your cat to stimulate your organs and relieve pressure in your neck and down your spine.
4. Downward Facing Dog
While you might think that the last thing you want to do when feeling full is to lean forward, this pose actually aligns your body and resets your digestive system. From Cat-Cow, tuck your toes and lift your hips skyward to create an upside down V shape with your body. Spread your fingers and direct your gaze up to your tummy. Breathe deeply into your tummy to stimulate digestion.
5. Child’s Pose
From all fours on your mat, bring your big toes together and draw your seat down towards your heels. Then, fold forward and rest your head on your mat with your arms placed gently to each side. This natural, resting pose will calm your body and mind to promote proper digestion.
6. Extended Puppy Pose
From a neutral spine on all fours, walk your hands forward and rest your head onto your mat, a blanket, block or bolster, leaving your booty in the air, hips aligned over your knees. This pose is a relaxing combination of Downward Dog and Child’s Pose that allows gravity to open up your heart and stretch your belly.
7. Bridge Pose
This pose is great for compressing your digestive organs and encouraging blood flow throughout your digestive system. Lie on your mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Then, raise your hips and keep your neck, shoulders and feet on the floor while your torso lifts to create a gentle spinal arch.
8. Spinal Twist
To soothe your tummy, inhale as you lie on your mat and hug your knees into your chest. Exhale as your drop your knees to the right and use your right hand to pull your knees toward the mat. As you gaze in the opposite direction, you incorporate the full length of your spine in the twist. Stay in this pose for several breaths and then repeat on the opposite side.
9. Legs Up the Wall Pose
Rest a bolster or blanket in the curve of your back and gently swing your legs up to stretch against a wall, so you are sitting as close as comfortable to the wall. Remain in this position for several minutes to help your body transition into a digestive mode.
10. Standing Forward Bend Pose
To relieve tension in your neck, start in Mountain Pose and inhale as your reach your arms above your head. Exhale as you bend forward at the waist with a straight back and reach the top of your head toward your mat. Reach down toward the floor and grab your toes or a block and hold this pose for several breaths.
Depending on your level of discomfort, these poses can encourage proper digestion and help you to get the juices flowing. Do what feels right for your body in the moment and for as long or as short as you feel you need. Even if you have just a few minutes, these poses can help you to feel better or even make room for dessert! ☺