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Why Yoga Can Help Aid Digestion

Learn how yoga can alleviate discomfort, bloating, constipation and gas in the body.



We’ve all been there — constipated, bloated or gassy (this one can be particularly challenging in the middle of a crowded yoga class). Certain types of foods, long travel days or stressful situations can disrupt the body’s natural rhythm, leading to digestive issues and stomach pain. While we can’t always control or predict these situations, we can use yoga to relieve discomfort and help the body return to its natural flow.

Why does yoga help with digestion?

You may have heard that yoga helps the body achieve a “rest and digest” state. Yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system by relaxing the body and lowering cortisol levels so digestion and cellular repair can happen.


Along with the overall benefits of yoga, you can use specific yoga poses to massage, compress and stretch the internal organs. This helps increase blood flow, release excess air, eliminate toxins and make space in the body.


What yoga poses are most effective?

To eliminate discomfort quickly, I recommend practicing a combination of the below movements:

  • Diaphragmatic breathing: Use deep breathing to engage the core and get the blood flowing. Take full inhales feeling the belly expand as the diaphragm inflates. Take long, slow exhales to release all the air out of the belly. You can add pauses in between the inhale and exhale with box breathing to deepen the effect

  • Prone positions: Practice poses that involve lying on your belly to compress the internal organs. This can include cobra (bhujangasana) and locust pose (salabhasana)

  • Gentle stretches: Improve circulation, lengthen the intestines and stretch the abdominals with stretches like cat/cow (marjaiasana/bitilasana), puppy pose (uttana shishosana) downward dog (adho mukha svanasana) and bridge pose (setu bandha sarvangasana)

  • Twists: Massage the internal organs and activate the digestive system with poses like triangle (trikonasana), seated twist (marichyasana) and reclined twist (supta matsyendrasana)


Are you ready to try out the poses? I filmed a 20-minute video you can do in the comfort (and privacy) of your home. Make sure you are cleared by a doctor before exercising.



How do you feel after increasing blood flow, stoking the digestive fires, releasing stagnant energy, and creating space in your body? Leave me a comment below and let me know which poses felt best for you.


In gratitude and good gut health,

Shannon

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