When the digestive tract is not working properly, you can feel sluggish, bloated and miserable. Digestion uses up a lot of energy, which is why you may feel like taking a nap after a heavy meal. So supporting healthy digestion is a priority to ensure you’re flushing out toxins regularly and rockin’ proper elimination.
As a yogi, I love to practise deep-breathing exercises, twists and stretches. These gentle movements target my abdominal organs and wring out toxins that accumulate in the intestines and tissues.
Below are three simple yoga poses that help eliminate digestive discomfort like bloating, gas and constipation. During yoga teacher training, these are the poses we practised after lunch and before we started class.
Be sure to breath deeply to massage your organs as you alternately compress and lengthen the intestines. This action brings fresh blood to the epithelial cells, which are responsible for healthy gut function.
3 Gut Girl Poses for Healthy Digestion
(Pose descriptions adapted from Mind Body Green)
1. Apanasana (Wind-Removing Pose)
Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on your mat. Your heels should be aligned with your knees. Inhale and take your hands to your knees. Exhale and hug the knees to the belly. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
On an exhale, gracefully draw both knees to the left, compressing the right side of the body. Turn your head to the right. If it’s too much of a neck stretch, bring your head to neutral. Hold for 5-10 breaths. On an inhale, bring the knees to center. Repeat on the right side.
3. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
After you complete your twists, return your feet to the mat with knees bent. Hug the knees in and roll to your right side, resting your head on your right arm. Inhale fully and, on the exhale, use your arms to gently bring yourself up to a seated position.
Kneel on the knees (place a blanket under them if they feel uncomfortable). Sit back onto the heels. Widen the knees as much as needed and slowly fold over the legs. Place your forehead (or your third-eye point) on the floor. Bring your hands to your feet or fold them under the head like a pillow. With your belly relaxed, inhale and exhale fully for 5-10 breaths.
To conclude the practice, inhale and bring your hands flat to the floor right below the shoulders. Exhale and mindfully press up one vertebra at a time. Take a moment to check in with your body. Namaste
Want to learn more about yoga and meditation for digestive health? Email me or let me know in the comments below.