Digestion problems affect an estimated 70 million Americans. They include everything from irregularity to diarrhea and vomiting, but no matter what the issue is, there may be a simple solution.
It’s as easy as a toe touch.
Okay, maybe not that simple – but almost.
While it can be intimidating to take a yoga class– you don’t have to. In fact, you can gain all of the benefits of stretching and deep breathing right at home.
Just try these simple yoga poses (known as “asanas”) when you have a few moments to stretch. It could make all the difference in your digestion.
Here are three yoga stretches that helps with digestive problems:
1. Dandasana (Staff Pose)
Dandasana is super easy to do, so it is a great pose for beginners. Use this posture to lengthen the spine, and open the chest and torso to stimulate the digestive process.
To perform Dandasana, sit with your legs fully extended out in front of you. With your palms, place the hands deep into the floor at the sides of your body. Bring your elbows close to your ribs. Ensure that your spine is straight, and that your posture is aligned. Direct your gaze forward.
As you sit in Dandasana, take 3-5 minutes to practice deep breathing. To do this, inhale through both nostrils and fill your belly with breath. Exhale and blow the air out of your mouth. As you exhale, you may choose to engage your core by squeezing your thighs together and pointing your toes inward, closer to your body.
2. Bharadvaja’s Twist (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Bharadvaja)
This is (literally) a new twist on an ancient asana. Using the traditional seated position of Bharadvajasana I, this pose includes and additional twist to further stretch the spine and torso while opening the belly to improve digestion. To perform Bharadvaja’s Twist, begin in Dandasana pose. Then, shift your weight to the right side of your buttocks. Bend the knees inward towards your body, and then bring both legs over to the left side. Rest your legs on the floor and place your right foot on your left inner thigh.
Hold that pose and then inhale. On the inhalation, elongate your spine. Imagine it extending into the floor and upwards, toward the ceiling. As you exhale, twist the upper part of your torso to the right, placing your right hand on the floor behind you to support yourself. Rest your left hand on your outer right thigh, and turn it palm up.
Draw your shoulder blades down, and inward. There will be a slight bend in your back. Twist your spine from your tailbone to the crown of your head. On every twist, look over your shoulder, turning your gaze towards a wall or other focal point. Hold that position for up to one minute. Release the twist slowly, exhaling as you unwind your torso. Return to center in Dandasana pose. Then, repeat Bharadvaja’s Twist on the opposite side.
3. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
This pose is a wonderful chest opener, and it also works well to open the torso and ease digestive problems. To perform Bhujangasana, lie on your stomach with your legs fully extended behind you. Keeping the tops of your feet shoulder width apart, place your hands under your shoulders. Face your fingertips forward, and bring your elbows close to your body. Inhale as you lift your head and chest off of the floor, gently pushing your hands into the ground. Keep your lower ribs on the floor, and slowly push your shoulders backwards.
Inhale deeply, filling your chest with oxygen. As you inhale, bring your gaze to the sky and feel the natural extension of your spine. Do not force the backbend. Only straighten your arms if you are able to. Hold this pose for up to 30 seconds. Release as you exhale slowly, and lower your chest back to the ground. Turn your head to the right, and rest your left ear on the mat. Lay your arms at your side and relax your body until you feel able to stand up comfortably.
Breathe Your Way To Digestive Health
Deep breathing techniques, an intrinsic part of yoga, aren’t just great for stress reduction, they are also like a massage for your vital digestive organs. Because taking repetitive deep breaths moves your diaphragm and opens the ribcage, it increases transit time for bowel movements, and helps deliver essential nutrients throughout your body. This can help to stimulate the digestive process, easing digestive problems.
So, get off of your asana, and try these three yoga stretches for a healthier digestive system! They are easy to do, even while you’re watching TV.
For more tips on achieving optimum digestive health, keep reading here: