Strike A Pose To Improve Digestion

Posted on November 21, 2018

Ever wish you could control the speed of your digestion? We don’t have a magic button, but we can offer you 5 time-tested moves to help digest even the heaviest holiday meal. Check out these ultra-effective stretches and poses to help relieve bloat and sluggish digestion during this season of feasting.

Head-To-Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)
Head-to-knee pose
  1. Sit up straight, and begin seated with legs extended straight out in front of you.
  2. Bend your right knee and bring the sole of your right foot to meet your inner left thigh. Your right pinky toe should be on the ground, and heel just in front of your groin area.
  3. Turn your torso toward your left foot (keep it flexed) and press down through the heel.
  4. On an inhale, extend both arms up alongside your ears and reach toward the ceiling.
  5. Exhale and bend at your hips over your extended leg. Let your hands fall wherever feels best.
  6. Stay here for 5-10 deep breaths. On an inhale, return to an upright position, and repeat on the other leg.

Tip: Don’t round your spine. Keep shoulders back and relaxed away from your ears.

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Seated forward bend
  1. Sit on the floor with buttocks on a folded blanket and legs straight in front of you. Rock slightly onto your left buttock, and pull your right sitting bone back. Repeat on the other side.
  2. Turn thighs in slightly and press down into the floor.
  3. Press through your palms on the floor beside your hips.
  4. Sit up straight, inhale and lean forward from the hips - not the waist. If possible, hold the sides of your feet. Use a strap to help if needed.
  5. If you’re holding your feet, bend elbows out to the sides and lift them away from the floor. If holding a strap, lighten your grip and walk hands forward, keeping arms long. The lower belly should touch your thighs first, then upper belly, then ribs, and head last.
  6. Slowly inhale and exhale. With each inhalation, lift and lengthen the torso slightly. With each exhalation, release a little more into the bend. Eventually you’ll be able to stretch your arms out beyond your feet.
  7. Stay in the pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes. To come up, inhale and lift your torso up by pulling your tailbone down.
Torso Twist
Torso twist
  1. Sit on the floor with back straight and shoulders down. With abs tight, extend your legs in front of you.
  2. Bend your right knee and place foot flat on the floor.
  3. Wrap your left arm around your right leg and twist to your right side, supporting yourself by placing your right hand behind you.
  4. Breathe deeply and hold for 10-30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

Tip: For a deeper stretch, place your right foot on the other side of your left knee.

Knees Hugged to Chest (Apanasana)
Knees hugged to chest
  1. Lie down, relax, and inhale. Place your hands on your knees.
  2. Exhale and hug your knees to your chest.
  3. Rock your knees from side to side to maximize the stretch.
  4. Stay for 5-10 deep breaths.
  5. Release your knees and repeat a few more times.

Tip: You can also do one side at a time. Leaving your left leg extended, bring your right knee up and hold it for 5-10 breaths. Then switch sides.

Breath of Fire
Breath of fire
  1. Sit cross-legged with both hands in Gyan Mudra (index fingers and thumbs touching; other fingers straight). Close your eyes.
  2. Begin to breathe rapidly through your nose with your mouth closed, approximately 2–3 breaths per second.
  3. Your inhale should be equal in length and strength to your exhale.
  4. Do this for 1–3 minutes. Work your way up to 10 minutes.

Tip: To inhale, relax your upper abdomen and allow the breath to come easily. To exhale, focus on pressing your navel back toward your spine. Keep your chest relaxed and slightly lifted throughout the cycle.

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