Yoga for Digestion
17 Apr 2020 12:36PM
Most of the Western world, whether they know it or not, suffer from bad digestion. Many of us suffer from blocked wind, constipation and other digestive issues which can be helped through the regular practice of yoga asana.
From the simple squat, through twisting postures and postures to stretch the abdomen and intestines, we are able to get our digestive organs moving to help us digest the food we ingest in order to reduce ailments such as bloating.
Below we have listed five poses you can try after a big meal or at the end of the evening. Often digestive issues get in the way of our sleep, so these poses can help with a number of aspects within our lives. We are effectively ‘rinsing’ out the organs, so be sure to drink a lot of water after you practice!
Sit with your buttocks to a yoga block or pillow, knees wide. Bring your hands to heart centre and use your elbows to bring your knees wider. Breathe here for five breaths or until you feel comfortable.
We used to sit in this position to eat as it made digestion easier. This has since changed since the invention of chairs, which has resulted in a higher level of digestion issues in the Western world.
Swan / Sleeping Swan – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Bring one leg forward with the knee to the front of the mat, other leg extended behind. Use as many pillows as necessary to make the posture comfortable. There are two variants for this posture – one with the chest upright and one with the chest folded, shoulders released. Start with the chest raised, and then when comfortable bring the chest down to the floor or to some pillows. Try to focus on releasing behind the shoulders, in the hip and behind the eyebrows (we keep a lot of tension here). Stay here on each side for five to ten breaths.
If you have trouble bringing your front leg to the Earth, you can take a figure of four position. Laying on your back with feet to the ground, bring your right ankle over your left knee. This may be enough, otherwise you can bring the left foot off the ground and hold onto the left thigh, focussing on bringing the right knee away from the body.
Sphinx / Seal – Salamba Bhujangasana
Laying down on your front, bring the chest up by placing the forearms to the ground with elbows under shoulders. Focus on bringing the shoulders back and away from the ears, feeling a stretch through the front bodies. If you are comfortable here, you can come up to seal position by placing weight into the hands and lifting the elbows from the ground. If you feel compression in the spine, return to sphinx.
This pose is good for stretching the front bodies and internal organs. Stay here for five to ten breaths.
Supine Twist – Supta Matsyendrasana
Hug your knees into the best and then bring knees off to the side, being sure to keep knees on top of each other (you can ensure this by moving the hips to the centre of the mat to maintain a neutral spine). Once comfortable, bring both shoulder blades to the Earth and look to the opposite side. You can use pillows here under and between the legs for extra comfort.
Here we are twisting the abdomen and clearing out the organs. Stay here for five breaths on each side or until you feel ready to move.
Laying on your back, let your arms and legs fall out wide. After doing any of the previous postures, it’s a good idea to let the organs settle again. Stay here for three to five minutes (the length of your favourite song) and breathe, feeling your body rest on the ground. You can place a pillow behind your knees to release the lower back or provide extra comfort.