Improving Digestion With Yoga

Our digestive system is a reflection of our emotional and mental health. It is sensitive to emotions – anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut. When you’re stressed, your gut knows it immediately, and you also might experience gastrointestinal upset or stomach pain. Yoga asanas combined with breath work will not only take care of the digestive system, but also help to maintain a positive & healthy mindset. Kristen Butera in her article yoga therapy for digestive health said, “Yoga poses work on the soft tissues of the body, like a hand gently squeezing a sponge. When the organs of the digestive system are compressed in poses, stale and waste-bearing fluids in those areas are encouraged out of the tissues. Once these materials are freed up, the body is better able to eliminate them.”

Here are few postures that will improve your digestive health.

Vajrasana or Thunderbolt Pose


How to: Vajrasana is one of the beginners pose that can be performed immediately after meals. Kneel down, sit on your heels with your toes pointing out and big toes touching each other. Keep your head, neck and spine straight and place your palms on the thighs. Take long deep breaths and sit in this position for 10-15 minutes after meals and feel the difference.

Benefits: Vajrasana improves blood circulation in the lower abdomen, hence it helps in the digestion of food and relieves flatulence. It strengthens the legs and thighs, and can also be performed during meditation and pranayama.

Contraindications: People suffering from slip disc, spinal problems should avoid this pose. Also if you are facing trouble with your feet, ankle and knees, its better to avoid this pose.

Pavanamuktasana or Wind-Relieving Pose


How to: Lie down flat on your back or in supine position. Inhale and as you exhale, bring the left knee towards the chest and rest the thigh on the abdomen. Wrap your hands around the knee and interlock your fingers around the left shin. The right leg remains flat on the ground.
Inhale and as you exhale, lift your head and try to touch the tip of the nose/chin/forehead to the left knee. Hold the pose for 5 to 7 breaths and while exhaling, first bring the head down, then release the grip and lastly, bring the left leg back on the floor. Perform the same steps with the right leg and then repeat the entire sequence with both the legs together.

Benefits: This pose massages the abdominal muscles and the intestines, thereby helping with digestion. It tones the stomach and is also great for people suffering from backache.

Contraindications: People suffering from high BP, hernia, heart ailments or slip discs and women after the second trimester of their pregnancy should not perform this pose.

Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Bend Pose


How to: Sit on the floor with your your legs straight in front of you and your buttocks supported on a folded blanket, if needed. Make sure your spine is straight and toes flexed towards you. Press the heels on the floor and contract the thighs. As you inhale, lift both the hands up, lengthen the spine and as you exhale, stretch forward, bending from the waist.
Always lengthen the front torso into the pose, keeping your head raised. If you can, hold your toes and pull them to help you go forward. Place the abdomen right above the thighs and if possible, touch your forehead to the knees or shins. Stay where you are for 5 to 7 breaths. With every inhalation try to go deeper into the pose, but ensure your back is not rounded. To come out of the pose, inhale, lift your arms back up, exhale and come up in sitting position and lower the arms. Repeat this pose two to three times.

Benefits: This pose massages and tones the abdominal and pelvic organs, stretches lower back, hamstrings and hips. Improves digestion, relieves constipation and gastric troubles. Also, restoring mental health, it reduces high BP, stress and headache.

Contraindications: People suffering from back injury, knee injury or diarrhea should avoid this pose.

You can also watch this video

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