Yoga for Digestion
Over the years one of the most important things I’ve learned about health and wellness is that your digestion and elimination process is of the utmost importance. It’s not something we generally talk about in everyday conversation but it is something that we should be thinking about. If you take a moment to think about babies and how their system works it gives you a good idea of how a clean system works. Food and nutrients go in – waste comes out. Knowing how important healthy digestion is – keeping the food moving rather than letting it rot within us – is one of the reasons I use a daily probiotic. In addition to my daily dose of certified organic probiotic I also use a variety of yoga poses to keep my system in it’s best shape.
Today I wanted to share with you my 5 favorite yoga poses to help with digestion. These are all relatively gentle postures and can be done regardless of the level of fitness you currently have.
Starting lying comfortably on your back – taking a few deep breaths. Get present in your body and notice how your belly is feeling. When you have taken a few breaths move into the first pose.
- Apanasana (knee into chest pose) Bring both knees into the chest and wrap your arms around them. If it feels good to rock a little bit side to side you can or you can stay in stillness squeezing the knees as tight as you can into the chest. Take 5 deep breaths.
- Jathara Parivartaranasana (reclined side twist) With the knees into the chest bring the arms out to T or cactus and on an exhale slowly drop you knees to the right side. Allow them to relax on the ground and if it feels okay on your neck gaze to the left or if that doesn’t quite feel right gaze to the ceiling. Take 5 deep breaths. When you are ready lift the knees back up to centre and drop them to the left side. Gaze to the right or gaze to the ceiling – whichever feels better. Come back to centre and rest your feet back down on the ground.
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) With your feet on the ground hip width distance apart and your arms down by your side. Press down into the feet and on your inhale slowly raise the hips up to bridge pose. On your exhale slowly lower down. Do this 3-5 times depending on how it feels in your body – inhale up and exhale down. Nice and slow. When you are ready move into your hands and knees.
- Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Cat/Cow Pose) Once you are set up with your hands directly under the shoulders and your knees directly under the hips – you can slowly begin to allow the belly to drop towards the ground and tilt the head up on your inhale and as the exhale comes drop the head and slowly push the belly up into the spine rounding the tailbone. Inhale slowly starting with the tailbone allowing the shift to come as it drops down, the back begins to arch and the head comes up and then slowly begin rounding once more. Continue to move with your breath inhaling into cow and exhaling into cat. Do about 10 rounds of breath for this asana. Once you have completed this come to a cross legged seated position. Take a few breaths here.
- This last pose doesn’t have a sanskrit name but in english it’s called Simple Seated Twist. Taking a few breaths in your cross legged position – slowly begin to bring your left hand to the right knee. Take your right hand and place it behind you as close to the base of your spine as you can. Take a big breath in and then on your exhale slowly begin to twist to the right. Once you are in the twist take 5 deep breaths. On your exhale slowly come back to centre. Take a moment breathe here notice whatever there is to notice for you. Then when you are ready take the right hand and place it on your left knee. Bring the left hand behind you as close to the base of the spine as possible. Sit up tall – take a big breath in and exhale to the left. Take 5 beautiful slow breaths here.
Once you have completed this sequence – take a few moments to check in with your body before moving on with your day. Notice how you feel and how the mind is.
Hopefully this has created a little more space in the digestive tract as well as a little peace and quiet in the mind.
If you are interested in finding out more and perhaps connecting for some private yoga – I’d love to speak with you. You can use the form below to get in touch.