Feeling bloated? We all experience digestive discomforts from time to time. Gas and bloating can be extremely discomforting and often, embarrassing.
Practicing yoga helps to improve the function of the digestive system by increasing blood flow to the digestive tract and stimulating the intestinal action known as peristalsis which aids in digestion. Dynamic poses that fold, stretch and twist compress and massage abdominal organs which are helpful in eliminating toxins and relieving tension.
Try the following poses to alleviate discomfort, get rid of excess intestinal gas and promote digestion. You probably want to practice these poses in private.
Wind-Relieving Pose (Pavanamuktasana)
Lie on your back with legs stretched out and arms on the side. Inhale deeply and bring one knee to the chest. Wrap the arms around the knee with both hands, pulling it toward yourself. Exhale, lift the head, and bring the chin towards the chest. Try to touch your forehead to the knee. Hold for up to one minute. Exhale release the pose and repeat on the opposite leg. Next, do the pose with both knees bent.
Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
Lying on your back, bend both knees, and grab the outside edges of your flexed feet. Press both knees to the floor below your armpits and relax your shoulder blades into the ground. Stay in this pose for up to one minute.
Two Knee Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Lie on your back with your arms out in a ‘T’ position. Inhale and engage your core. Bend your knees in toward your chest. Feet and knees together. Exhale as you drop your knees toward the floor to the right, keeping them in line with your navel; your shoulders stay planted into the mat. Turn your gaze to look over to the left side. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
Child’s Pose Variation
Come into a kneeling position and sit back on your heels, make fists with your hands and place then against your lower belly. Lengthen your spine and bend forward. Allow your forehead to rest comfortably on the floor. Enjoy the gentle massage with each inhalation and exhalation. Stay in this pose for up to 1 minute.
Seated Spina Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Sit up straight with your legs extended forward. Bend the right knee, heel close to your body. Place your right arm behind your back, palm on the floor. Inhale, raise the left hand, lengthening through the spine then exhale bend your elbow and press it against the right thigh. Stay in this position for at least 30 seconds, deepening the stretch every time you exhale. Release the twist and repeat on the other side.
Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)
Come to a seated position with legs extended forward and your feet flexed. Keep your spine straight and engage your core. Inhale and reach your arms up. Exhale slowly hinging forward at the hips and lower your torso. Stay in this pose for up to one minute.
Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)
Come into Tabletop—on all fours, with your hips stacked directly over your knees, and your shoulders over your wrists, and the tops of your feet relaxed down on the mat. Keep your feet parallel and hip-width apart. On an exhalation, slowly begin to walk your hands out in front of you, lowering your chest to melt toward the ground as you gently drop your forehead or chin on the mat. Spread your fingers and activate your arms by pressing into the palms of your hands and lifting your elbows away from the ground. Use exhalation to deepen the stretch and keep reaching your hips up and back. Engage your core to prevent collapsing into the lower back. Breathe deeply into the stretch and hold for 30 seconds up to 1-minute.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Rest your buttocks on your heels. Inhale lengthen your spine, on an exhalation, fold forward, bending at the waist and rest your head on your mat with your arms back to rest alongside your thighs. Stay in this pose for up to 1 minute.
— Nerry Toledo is a Dubai-based yoga instructor. She conducts regular give-what-you-can community classes with the goal of making yoga more accessible for everyone. For schedules and locations, go to www.nerryfit.com