Poor digestion is something most of us have had to deal with from time to time. Whether you’ve eaten too much, eaten the wrong thing (I’m looking at you cheese!) or you’re stressed, research has shown that by practicing yoga you can aid your digestion and improve gut health.
By increasing circulation and energy to your digestive system, yoga can stimulate your internal organs. It also helps with decreasing stress, soothing the sympathetic nervous system and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system helping you to rest and digest.
So grab your yoga mat and start giving your internal organs a well-deserved massage!
1. Breathing to encourage a healthy gut
Ok, this may not necessarily be the pose you were hoping for, you breathe everyday! We get it. But hear us out for a moment. Breathing mindfully and deeply into your belly relieves tension in the abdomen, a place where we tend to hold tension which then causes issues for our digestion.
- Lie on your back with your fingers loosely linked together and gently resting on your lower abdomen
- Inhale, opening the link between your fingers as your belly expands and hold for 1-2 seconds
- Exhale, focussing on drawing your navel to spine and closing the link between your fingers and hold for 1-2 seconds
- Repeat for 10 breaths
2. Childs pose to promote proper digestion
This is our favourite restorative yoga pose. It will activate your rest and digest system (the parasympathetic nervous system). Performing Childs pose with your stomach resting on top of your thighs will massage your internal organs and get your digestion moving. By regularly repeating this pose you can strengthen your intestinal tract and help with acidity.
- Begin on your hands and knees, with your knees wide apart and big toes touching
- Rest your buttocks on your heels as you lower your belly between your thighs
- Rest your forehead on the floor and extend your arms with palms facing down
- Breathe gently and hold the pose for as long as you intuitively feel
3. Seated twist to improve digestive health
Your digestive organs will love twists. During a twist, you will be compressing your digestive organs, causing a lack of circulation. When the twist is released, fresh blood will rush to your digestive organs, bringing fresh oxygen and nutrients. They will also help relieve gas, bloating and constipation.
- Sit on the floor with legs stretched in front of you
- Cross one leg over the other with your foot next to the opposite knee
- Hook the other elbow around your knee and gently twist
- On every inhale, lengthen your spine
- On the exhale, twist to further deepen into the pose
- Repeat for 10 breaths and do the other side
4. Bow pose to stimulate your gut
Warning, be cautious when doing this pose in public. This one relieves gas buildup if you get what we mean. The bow pose stimulates energy flow through your internal organs whilst utilising the entire body to strengthen the muscles in the front and back of your body. This one is also great for posture!
- Lie flat on your stomach
- Hold the outsides of your ankles, inhale, and push them away from your body whilst exhaling
- The movement will lift your chest off the ground like the bow in a bow and arrow.
5. Savasna for encouraging smooth digestion
Everyones favourite yoga pose! That’s right, the one where you just lay down and relax. As you lay still the pose increases oxygenation to the digestive organs, helps your blood flow and slows your heart rate. It’s one of the best poses for healing and creates the ideal environment for digestion and cleansing.
- This one is pretty self explanatory. Lie on your back, close your eyes, have your palms by your side facing up and take some deep belly breaths.
There are so many ways you can ease poor digestion. If you’re regularly experiencing digestive problems, perhaps a cleanse might be calling your name. A cleanse will help reduce your toxic load and support your precious digestive organs by giving them a rest. If you’re unsure whether a cleanse is right for you, check out our post What a Juice Cleanse Does to Your Body or take our quiz Which Cleanse Level Should I Do?.