The holidays are upon us, and besides family and presents, that means food—and lots of it! My mouth is already watering for my vegan Thanksgiving dinner and desserts this Thursday, and after that all the treats for Chanukkah, Christmas, and my birthday! In preparation for my food-induced coma come next weekend along with a pair of loose pants, I’ve also got a little cheat sheet of yoga poses to help battle the bloat and indigestion the beyond maximum load of food is going to bring. Yoga is a great way to improve and aid in our digestive process. As One Medical’s Carrie Bowler, DO puts it, “By decreasing stress and adding some calm into our day with yoga, we calm the sympathetic nervous system, too. This can help regulate digestion. More specifically, any pose, like a twist, that applies gentle pressure to the abdomen is something like a massage for our intestines.”
So to help you too bring peace to your feasting and get the gas relief needed naturally, here are my favorite yoga poses to ease digestion this holiday season.
Every time I am in my bikram yoga class practicing this pose, the teacher always reminds us how crucial the knees-to-chest pose is for digestion, specifically in relieving pain from gas and bloating.
Lie down and hug your knees to your chest. Grab for opposite elbows if you can and rock your hips from side to side. Stay here for five breaths and then release.
Twists are incredibly important for soothing our stomachs and improving circulation. Lie on your back and hug your knees to your chest. Exhale and drop your knees to the left, then turn your head and opposite arm to the right. Rest here for five breaths then repeat on the other side.
Heart openers like camel stretch out the stomach and ease abdominal cramps. Get in a kneeling position with knees about six inches apart. Lean back until you can grab hold of each ankle with both hands. Look back at the wall and continuously push your hips forward. Stay here for five breaths.
Bridge pose is another good one for abdominal cramps and blood flow. Lie on your back with knees bent. Lift your hips up and hold for five breaths.
Seated forward bend
Forward bends help relieve stress that’s affecting your digestion. Stretch your legs out in front of you and bend your torso forward as you try to grab for your toes. You can bend your knees if necessary. Stay here for five breaths.
Help ease digestive pain with butterfly pose. Sit on the floor with your feet together. Holding onto your feet, slowly lean your torso forward. Rest for five breaths. Remember to keep your spine long for both seated forward bend and butterfly.
More yoga tutorials: Benefits of Twists and Binds + 6 Poses
Photo: Jessica Renae