There is far more going on in a yoga session than meets the eye. The blend of yoga postures, or asanas, with deep breathing and twists, stretches, massages and moves intestinal toxins out of the body. This helps with gas, bloating and constipation that can lead to more serious digestive disorders like heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, and pain. Many of the yoga postures that benefit digestion also help to flatten and tone the stomach.
Here are a few yoga postures that specifically target the digestive area:
- Vajrasansa (thunderbolt pose) properly aligns the body for digestion in this seated, kneeling posture. The buttocks sit back toward the heels. To enable ease and comfort in this posture, try putting a block under the buttocks or a blanket in between the buttocks and calves. This posture is wonderful after a big meal or any meal.
- Seated or reclining twists like Ardha Matsyendrasana (half lord of the fishes pose) or Supta Matsyendrasana (supine spinal twist) in combination with breath, provide a deeply targeted massage of the digestive region. Twists can also be done in a seated cross-legged position or in a chair with one leg crossed over the other. Twists squeeze out toxins from the body facilitated by deep breathing.
- Uttanasana (standing forward fold) improves digestion due to the compression of the abdominal area. It prompts circulation within the region and movement. It is also a multipurpose pose in that it calms the nervous system and allows for relaxation. Because the heart is higher than the head in this posture, there is a reversal of blood flowing to the brain.
- Balasana (child’s pose) Positioning the upper body to lay directly onto the thighs helps the digestive process as well targets the digestive region.
A strong, regular practice of diaphragmatic breathing, inherent in some yoga classes, moves the digestive organs giving them a steady massage. It activates digestion and burns away toxins. A regular yoga practice incorporating the above-as well as good food choices-is a great way to do something healthy and beneficial for the body and mind.