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5 Simple Yoga Poses to Aid Digestion

Nausea, bloating, flatulence, heart burn and abdominal pain can all point to poor digestive health. Regardless how sensitive your system is, we’ve all experienced one or more of these problems and there are plenty of ways we can influence improved digestion with better lifestyle habits, such as exercise and diet.

Whether you already have an established yoga practice or simply experience frequent digestion issues, these simple poses can help combat digestive discomfort. Each of these yoga poses combines deep breathing with stretches that focus on abdominal muscles and organs to help relieve a wide range of common digestive upheavals.

upward abdominal lock
Photo by Fotolia/fizkes.

Upward Abdominal Lock (Uddiyana Bandha)

This pose is best done at the beginning of your asana sequence. Upward Abdominal Locks benefit digestion by massaging abdominal organs, stimulating blood flow and improving elimination to relieve constipation and indigestion.

seated twist
Photo by Chris Hornbecker, via YogaJournal.com

Bharadvaja’s Twist (Bharadvajasana I)

This simple, seated pose can help with a number of health problems, including digestion and menstrual pain. It’s also easily modified for those who may have limited joint mobility; simply sit sideways in a chair, rather than on the floor.

head-to-knee forward bend
Photo by Fotolia/fizkes.

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend (Janu Sirsasana)

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend stretches the legs and spine, but can also stimulate the liver which aids digestion by increasing the body’s ability to digest fats and absorb essential nutrients.

fish pose yoga
Photo by Fotolia/dadima.

Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

For beginning yoga practitioners, Fish Pose can be modified by supporting the back with a rolled towel or blanket, bending the knees with feet flat on the floor, or keeping legs straight pressed against the floor. Like Bharadvaja’s Twist, this pose can relieve pain associated with menstruation, fatigue and constipation.

reclining hand-to-big toe pose
Photo by Rory Earnshaw, via YogaJournal.com

Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)

Stretch hips, hamstrings and other leg muscles while improving digestions, relieving back pain and menstrual discomfort with this relaxing, low-impact pose. If you’re muscles are particularly stiff, try this pose with your heel against a wall or by using a yoga block.

Digestive health and gut bacteria have been popular topics of scientific studies in recent years, and have been linked to everything from mental health to weight control. Learn more and discover more ways to improve your inner ecosystem in The Vital Importance of Healthy Gut Bacteria.