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5 Yoga Poses for Digestive Health

June 03, 2021

If you’ve ever noticed a rumbling in your tummy, or even a bit of gas escaping as you do your downward-facing dog, there’s a reason for that. Many people do yoga to improve strength, balance, flexibility and focus. But yoga also can aid in digestive health by reducing stress, increasing circulation and helping move contents through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. That can translate into big benefits for your overall wellbeing. 

Five Poses 

Cat-Cow Pose 

This basic pose is often used as a warmup. It’s great for waking up the spine and stimulating the organs. 

Starting on all fours, with your hands aligned with your shoulders and your knees below your hips, lift the tailbone, draw your shoulders back and lift your gaze upwards. This is cow pose. 

Then, slowly tuck in the tailbone, let your head drop, round the spine and draw the navel in to compress the organs. This is cat pose. 

Repeat as desired. 

Puppy Pose 

This is another basic pose that is great for relieving discomfort, especially if you’re feeling bloated or overly full. 

Starting on all fours, stretch your arms forward in front of you and let your chest rest downwards. Keep your backside in the air as you do so. 

Hold for as long as desired. 

Bow Pose 

This more-challenging pose massages and stimulates your digestive organs using gentle pressure from the floor. 

Lie on your stomach and bend your legs at the knees, bringing your feet toward your back. Reach back with your arms and grab your ankles, stretching the front of your shoulders and allowing your chest to come off the floor. Holding this pose, breathe in and out as you gently rock your body back and forth. You can also lift your navel off the floor by pressing the tops of your feet into your hands. 

Repeat as often as desired. 

Twists 

These basic yoga poses can be performed sitting or reclining. An aid in the elimination of stuck intestinal toxins, they will help relieve discomfort from bloating and constipation. 

For the seated version, come to a seated position with any kind of leg variation, including cross-legged, or with your legs out in front of you, knees slightly bent and one knee over the other. Inhale and lengthen your spine, making yourself long and tall. Twist gently to one side as you exhale. Repeat on the other side, being sure not to force your twist too far. 

For the reclined version, start on your back. Bend one leg about 90 degrees and draw it across to the other side of the body. Turn your face in the opposite direction for a full spinal twist. 

Hold as long as you wish. 

Forward Fold 

This basic yoga pose will give your digestive organs an easy massage and encourage blood flow to the brain for some instant invigoration, counteracting feelings of lethargy and sluggishness from eating a large meal. 

Stand with your feet more or less hip width apart, but don’t lock your knees. Pivot forward from the waist, simply allowing the top half of your body to hang. 

Repeat as often as desired. 

Starting To Do Yoga

Most gyms that offer group fitness classes have a variety of yoga classes to fit your needs, and a variety of online fitness platforms also offer yoga classes of differing lengths and for different abilities. Many yoga videos are available for free online as well. 

How Often to Practice Yoga

Since yoga involves low-impact movement, it’s safe to do every day. You can also use it to supplement other fitness classes and activities by practicing one to three times a week in between running, biking or other cardio exercises.

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The Orlando Health National Training Center on the campus of Orlando Health South Lake Hospital is a state-of-the-art sports and fitness facility located in Clermont, Florida. The Fitness Center offers community fitness, sports and health memberships and programs for youth and adults.

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