Try these yoga poses for better digestion.
RELATED: How Exercise Helps With Gut Health
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Yoga Poses and Postures for Healthy Digestion
Food, Yoga, and, Gut HealthThere are so many tips out there on what to eat for your gut, what supplements to take, and what foods to avoid. It can get a little overwhelming and cause stress with so much to think about when it comes to your eating routine. What you need to know is food isn’t the only factor in having a healthy gut. Stress can also cause an upset stomach! Thankfully, there are other ways you can improve your gut that doesn’t involve food. Did you know you can heal your gut by simply moving your body? Yoga has been known to improve gut health by increasing the diversity of healthy bacteria in your microbiome.
How Basic Yoga Poses Benefit the Body
A study researched the gut environments of active people versus sedentary people and found a higher presence of Akkermansiaceae in the active group. This strain of bacteria is linked to reduced inflammation in the body and a reduced risk for obesity. Yoga stretches can help a diverse range of healthy bacteria flourish within the gut.
Yoga is also commonly known to reduce stress, which definitely benefits the microbiome. The stress hormone, norepinephrine, can alter the bacteria responsible for communicating with your brain. This can then affect your mental and emotional balance. Chronic stress will impact gut flora, causing slowed metabolism, a depressed nervous system, and decreased nutrient absorption. Decreasing stress is reason enough to add restorative yoga poses into your daily routine. Here are some easy yoga poses to introduce into your exercise routine for a healthier gut and reduced stress.
1. TwistsTwists benefit the body because they aid in digestion and gut health. Every time you twist the body you are applying pressure to internal areas associated with the digestive system. Coupled with deep breaths, twists help rinse and release toxins from the gut. Revolved Lunge
- Try revolved lunge by stepping into a lunge position with the right leg bent in front and left leg extended behind you.
- Bring your hands to heart center and twist to the right, hooking your left elbow to the outside of the right knee.
- Repeat on the other side.
The revolved lunge can help get your digestive system moving properly and release stomach pain.
2. Backbends On The Belly
When you lie on your belly, you’re applying gentle pressure to the abdomen—this type of pose can also help stimulate the digestive system. Think poses like bow, cobra, superman, or upward facing dog. Bow pose is excellent because you can rock back and forth massaging the belly. This movement increases blood flow and oxygenates these internal organs. To get into bow pose, follow the steps below:
- Lie on your belly and bend your knees.
- Reach your hands behind you to grab a hold of each foot.
- Press your feet into your hands to lift both your knees and your chest off the mat.
- Rock a little forward and back.
3. Sun Salutations
According to Ayurveda and Hindu theory, digestion occurs through producing heat. This allows food to burn in order to create energy.
Ayurveda Definition: This is a 3,000-year-old holistic healing system that focuses on the balance of mind, body, and spirit. The best way to create internal heat is to move through several sun salutations to warm the body up. Here are the steps:
- Come to the top of your mat and inhale to reach your arms overhead.
- Exhale and fold from the hips. Inhale and lift halfway up, extending the back.
- Exhale to fold forward and step into plank.
- Either move through chaturanga, or lower your knees to the mat and then lower the chest.
- Inhale, upward facing dog. Exhale, downward facing dog.
- Repeat several times and notice how warm your body feels inside.
4. Corpse Pose
This pose may not seem like much but lying flat on the ground allows your body to melt stress away. By doing the corpse pose, your body taps into the parasympathetic nervous system, letting your blood flow from your hands, feet, legs, and arms to the organs in your gut. This gives your digestive organs enough oxygen to work and heal. Here’s how to do the corpse pose or Savasana:
- Lie on your back on your mat, making sure your spine is straight with your shoulders touching the mat.
- Lay your arms on each side of your body with your hands relaxed and palms facing the sky.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Feel your expand as you inhale and contract when you exhale.
- Stay in this pose for 4-5 minutes until you feel your whole body relax.
Attend a yoga class if you’re still new to the exercise. There are also apps that have yoga poses for beginners to help you with your gut health and overall wellness. Add BIOHM Super Greens to your diet. With it, you get a rich serving of fruit and vegetable essence together with BIOHM probiotic, prebiotic, and digestive enzymes.
Have you tried yoga poses to address digestion issues before? Share your experience in the comments section below.
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About the author: Kate is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach with a concentration of stress reduction and the plant-based lifestyle. She is also a 200-RYT certified yoga teacher in Nashville, Tennessee. As a certified meditation teacher, Kate loves helping people reduce stress to improve their digestive health and overall happiness. Instagram: @meditatekate / website is meditatekate.com
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 19, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.