This yoga sequence relieves stomach discomfort and promotes good digestion.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to talk about yoga poses that can aid your digestive system. All that delicious food can make it hard to stop eating when you’re full, and being overstuffed can cause some major indigestion.
Doing yoga can help to relieve you of any discomfort caused by indigestion through a combination of deep breathing, stretches that target abdominal organs, and twists that massage and wring out stuck intestinal toxins. The best part is that with better digestion comes more energy. In other words, you’ll be ready to play in that family football game even after stuffing your face with an extra helping of mashed potatoes.
By Casey Coviello
Cat Cow Pose
Bring your hands beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Inhale as you drop your belly button toward the earth and lift your heart and hips to the sky into Bitilasana (Cow Pose). Spread across your shoulders and sitting bones. Exhale as you round your upper back toward the sky, dropping your gaze to your navel and pressing your hands and feet into the earth in Marjaryasana (Cat Pose). Continue for 10 rounds.
Breathing deeply in these poses will massage your organs as you alternately compress and lengthen the intestines, bringing fresh blood to the epithelial cells, which are responsible for healthy gut function.
Come into Plank Pose to set up your hands and feet. Place your hands shoulder-distance apart and feet outer-hip-distance apart. Then, use your core to press your hips up and back. To broaden your back, bend your knees slightly to lengthen your spine and spread your shoulders wide. Use this Downward Dog to take deep breaths into your belly, pulling the navel up and in toward the back of your heart each time you exhale to nourish your intestines.
Step your right foot forward into a low lunge and then straighten the leg. Walk your left foot forward 6 inches and turn the foot at a 45 to 60 degree angle to the front of the mat with your heel flat on the earth. Rest your right hand lightly on your right shin or the floor and reach your left hand to the sky with your palm facing outward. Stretch the crown of your head forward as you reach your tailbone toward your left heel. Hold Utthita Trikonasana for 1 minute and then move to Pavrtta Trikonasana before switching sides.
Extended Puppy Pose
Come onto your hands and knees as if you were moving into Cat-Cow pose. Then keeping your hips where they are, walk your hands forward. Release your head onto the floor or a block and allow gravity to open your heart. Uttana Shishosana pose is especially useful for stretching the belly to relieve cramps after a large meal.
From Ardha Pawamuktasana, release your right knee to the left, stretching your right arm straight out to the right. For a deeper stretch, use your left hand to gently push your right knee closer to the earth or take your left hand to your outer right foot and extend the leg straight out. Relish in this deep, releasing twist as long as feels good.
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All images courtesy of YogaJournal.com.