Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah are just around the corner which means A LOT of food. But sometimes the food is so yummy (thank you Mom) and you take the good times a little bit too far. You end up a spending the night and often the day after the feast with digestive issues and just wait for the discomfort to dissolve. Talk about unnecessary!
Thankfully, there are several yoga poses that can help ease digestive troubles. If you’re feeling bloated, suffering from IBS, or simply indulged too heavily this holiday season try yoga for digestion to ease your digestive distress, ensure a happy evening and a peaceful night’s sleep.
Malasana – Yogi Squat or Garland Pose
Yogi Squat deeply stretches the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calf muscles while strengthening the core and lower back. Practicing yogi squat prepares you for easy elimination and stimulates digestion.
From Mountain Pose, walk your feet a little further apart and turn your toes out. Slowly lower down to a squat. Your heels should be on the floor. If your hips feel tight, bring a block under your buttock. Bring your palms together in front of the heart and press your elbows against your inner knees.
Ardha Matsyendrasana A – Half Lord of the Fishes A (Seated Twist A)
Seated Twist A pose lengthens the back muscles and the spine. It stimulates the liver, the kidneys as well as the digestion.
From a seated position with your legs extended long, bend your left knee and place the left heel on the outside of your right leg close to the knee. Reach your arms up into the sky and with your exhale twist to the left. Put your right elbow on the outside of your left knee. Your left hand should rest behind your hip to support the twist but make sure to not put too much weight into it. Relax your shoulders down. With your inhale, lift the torso up and with your exhale, twist a little deeper.
Paschimottanasana – Seated forward bend
Seated Forward Bend stretches the entire back side of the legs and upper body. It releases tension in the lower back great, massages the intestines and can calm the nervous system.
Come to Staff Pose (extend both legs in front of you) and flex your heels. Inhale and reach your arms up and over your head while extending the torso long. Exhale, hinging at the hips, slowly lower the torso towards the legs. You can reach for your toes, feet, ankles or shins. You can also use a strap here. To deepen the stretch gently pull your torso forward. Think, belly to quads instead of hands to feet. This can also be an active or passive pose.
Dhanurasana – Bow Pose
Bow pose strengthens and energizes the whole body. It opens the shoulders and the upper back. Bow pose is great for constipation and menstrual discomfort.
Lie on your belly and bend your right knee. Grab the outer edges of your ankles or feet with your hands If you reach for the ankles, flex your feet strongly. With your next inhale, lift up your ribcage and shoulders. On the exhale, lengthen your tailbone and kick your legs into your hands. Gaze slightly forward. Make sure that the feet and legs are parallel and hip-width apart. Half Bow is a great variation!
Parivrtta Anjaneyasana – Revolved (Crescent) Lunge
Revolved Lunge lengthens your spine and creates flexibility in the rib cage. It also stimulates your internal abdominal organs and kidneys and improves digestion and aids elimination.
From High Lunge, bring your hand to prayer at the heart center. Inhale to prepare. Exhale and slowly rotate your torso to the left, hooking the right elbow outside the left knee. Think about opening your heart and releasing your shoulders down the spine. With each inhale, elongate the spine and on the exhale take the twist a little deeper. Firmly press the hands together to support the twist.
Parivrtta Trikonasana – Revolved Triangle
Revolved triangle stimulates the abdominal organs while stretching the legs, the hips, and the spine. It also opens your heart and improves your sense of balance.
From Mountain Pose step your right foot 3 1/2 to 4 feet back. Your back foot should be in a 45° angle (toes face the front right corner of your mat). Inhale, reach your arms up, exhale turn your torso to the left and place your right hand on the outside of the left foot. This is a very advanced pose, make sure you did some twisting poses before and use a block to bring the floor up a few inches. Reach your left arm up toward the sky. Your hips should be parallel to the mat – you will feel the left hip to slip out to the side. Try to counteract this by pressing the outer right thigh to the right.