Whether you’ve overindulged in a big meal, are dealing with constipation, or suffer from a chronic issue like Irritable Bowel Disease, digestive discomfort is never fun. Bloating, gas, and abdominal cramps can be unpleasant, inconvenient, and downright painful. While over the counter antacids, prescription medicines, and avoiding certain foods can help, there’s also an age-old practice that has been shown to help ease digestive discomfort: yoga. We’re sharing our favorite stretches for a happy, flat tummy.
How Does Yoga Help Your Digestive Health?
Yoga not only stretches your muscles, but helps detoxify the body, massage your internal organs, and, er, “get things moving again” so to speak by stimulating the body. Not only that, but yoga helps to relieve any mental stress that may be impacting your physical health. Our stomachs and minds are closely related; if you’re in constant “fight or flight” mode due to anxiety, your body is unable to relax and digest properly. By practicing the following yoga poses, you’ll get everything flowing in harmony again, so you can get back to your day with a calm mind and a happy tummy.
Related: 6 Yoga Poses That Relieve Anxiety
7 Yoga Poses That Help Your Digestion
The following yoga practice incorporates poses like twists, which help detoxify the body; forward folds, which help massage the internal organs; and inversions, which help boost circulation and stimulate the abdominal muscles. Be sure to breathe deeply throughout the entire practice, as this will help the digestive process too. You can practice this yoga sequence in its entirety or use the poses individually, either after meals or whenever you have unwanted gas, cramping, bloating, or other digestive woes. Hold each pose for 30 seconds to a minute. Click on the image or the name of the pose for full instructions on how to perform the pose.
This is a great way to start any yoga flow, and it’s technically two poses: cat and cow. As you alternate between cat and cow stretches, you’ll lengthen and compress the intestines. According to Yoga Journal, this movement “helps bring fresh blood to the epithelial cells,” which are responsible for healthy gut function.
A deep forward fold will instantly boost your circulation, improving blood flow to the digestive organs. Forward folds are also great for promoting relaxation and peace of mind—chill out here for a few breaths and feel each part of your body slowly release tension, including your stomach.
Wake up the abdominal organs with this energizing pose. Upward dog is a great pose to open up your upper body and stretch out your torso, stomach, and hips. You can flow in and out of this pose in a sun salutation sequence whenever you want.
Ease digestional discomfort by opening up the torso with this amazing stretch. Camel pose expands the abdominal area and can be particularly beneficial in aiding elimination if you’re suffering from constipation.
Lord of the Half Fishes is a great twist pose; as we said before, twists help to detoxify the body by wringing out anything that doesn’t belong there. This pose will help stimulate your digestion and cleanse the internal organs. Be sure to perform this twist on both sides.
This pose is another twist that’s great for stimulating the abdominals and helping to get things moving. Perform this yoga pose on both sides.
Child’s pose is a wonderful pose to end any yoga practice, especially if you’re suffering from digestive discomfort. You may find that you not only experience a sense of physical comfort in this pose, but emotional, as it’s a very restorative and calming pose. Child’s pose compresses the abdomen and massages the internal organs, stimulating digestion and hopefully helping you feel better soon.