Yoga for Digestion: 3 Moves That Get Things Moving
Tummy troubles are no fun. Whether it’s bloating, gas or constipation … ugh, who wants it? Not us, and turns out yoga for digestion is a thing. A thing that really works. Read on for Kate Hanley’s fave three yoga for digestion moves. They, well, get things moving! Kate is the author of A Year of Daily Calm, a yoga teacher for people who don’t do yoga and the mind-body blogger for Acacia TV. (Fun fact: You can now try many of Acacia TV’s yoga programs for free on SparkPeople.TV!) So, you know, she knows her stuff.
3 Easy Yoga Moves to Improve Digestion
Let’s talk about bloating, gas and constipation. Whee!
While these may not be your go-to topics of conversation, we all experience digestive ills from time to time — or, since you clicked on this headline, maybe it feels more like all of the time. These common symptoms suggest that your digestion could use a little love.
The great news is that yoga offers some powerful tools for keeping your abdominal organs happy, energized and running well. (To learn some simple but powerful ways to take good care of your digestion by eating better in the first place, see How to Finally Get Mindful About Eating on the Acacia TV website.)
Below is my all-time favorite yoga for digestion sequence for keeping things humming. It takes about five minutes and really wakes your belly and all your abdominal organs up so they can work better. Do it on a daily basis (or as close to daily as you can muster) and you will notice a positive change in your digestion.
This routine is from Kundalini yoga, which is different than most yoga styles practiced in America today. Kundalini yoga uses a series of rhythmic movements, hand gestures (known as mudras) and breathing patterns to wake up the dormant energy that yogis believe resides at the base of the spine.
It’s a little unconventional, but it is powerful. I did this routine nearly every day during both my pregnancies, and my digestion stayed right as rain — that’s saying something!
To try it, sit on the floor in a comfortable seated position, and do each of these moves for 2 to 3 minutes. Each one creates a lot of energy — so when you complete one two-minute session, take a deep breath and hold it in for as long as you can comfortably manage. Draw up on your pelvic floor (as if you were stopping a stream of urine) and lower your chin to your chest to force that energy to circulate throughout your torso. Hold the breath in as long as you comfortably can, so that you can release it without gasping. Then do the next move.
As you inhale, reach your chest forward and roll on to the front of your sit bones. As you exhale, roll back on to your sacrum, draw the belly button in and round the spine. Keep moving with the breath in this way for three full minutes. (If that feels easy, do three more!)
In this move, imagine you are using your chin to draw a big circle in the air. Inhale as you move your ribcage, spine and head to the right and then to the back. Exhale as you move it to the left and then to the front. Keep going, moving with the breath. Go clockwise for 90 seconds, and then counter-clockwise for 90 seconds. Again, when you’re done, sit still and hold your breath for as long as you comfortably can.
Place your fingertips on your shoulders, with your elbows at shoulder height. Inhale a small breath, and then exhale through your nose as your turn to the right as far as you can. Inhale back to the center, then exhale as you twist to the left. Keep going, for two to three minutes.
Finish with a final breath hold. Your digestive organs are now officially awake! —Kate Hanley