Ease your upset tummy with this gentle yoga routine.
Eat too much? While portion control is a great thing to practice, sometimes we get carried away, leaving us with gas, nausea, diarrhea, and/or acid reflux. Thankfully, there are certain things we can do to ease this discomfort, like yoga.
Many yoga poses help to aid in digestion and relaxation by increasing vagal tone and peristalsis (1). Vagal tone is the state of our vagus nerve which regulates all the body’s major functions, like digestion. When vagal tone is increased, our parasympathetic nervous system – our rest and digest state – kicks in, helping us to relax and increase our digestion (2). Relaxing yoga poses and breathing techniques help to increase the vagal tone.
Peristalsis is the movement of food through our intestines. Twists and other yoga poses that compress the colon, help to increase peristalsis and aid in digestion.
Use this gentle yoga routine for an upset stomach to increase vagal tone and peristalsis, bringing you back to a state of comfort.
Practice this yogic breathing technique as you go through the routine to calm the body and mind, helping to increase digestion
- To begin, find a comfortable seat with your legs crossed and your palms facing up on your thighs.
- Seal your lips closed and place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. When you do this, you should feel a slight constriction in the back of your throat.
- Begin to breathe slowly in and out of the nose. Your breathing should feel textured and your exhales should be audible. Keep this slow, deep breathing in and out through your nose and continue on to the following poses.
This inverted restorative pose calms your body and mind, bringing you into a parasympathetic state. It also helps draw blood flow to the stomach to increase digestion and fight nausea.
- Begin sitting sideways next to a wall with a yoga block off to one side.
- Roll onto your back, bend your knees, and place your feet up on the wall. Lift your hips up and slide the block underneath your sacrum. Lower your hips down to rest on the block.
- Straighten your legs up the wall and bring your arms out long by your sides. Turn your palms to face up. Close your eyes and relax here for 10 slow ujjayi breaths.
Seated Cat Cows
This gentle spinal opener gets your blood flowing and massages the colon and stomach to help speed up digestion.
- Begin in a comfortable seat with one leg crossed in front of the other. Place your palms face down on your knee caps. Engage your abs.
- Inhale to bend your elbows and pull gently against your knees with your hands, arching your back. Lift your chest towards the sky while keeping your abs engaged.
- Exhale to straighten your arms and round your spine. Pull your navel up and in and draw your chin to your chest. Your should feel a stretch through the neck and back. Continue moving with your breathing for 8 rounds of breath.
This gentle yoga pose relieves tension in the lower back and increases peristalsis by massaging the colon with the thighs.
- Start by lying down on your back.
- Draw your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around your shins, reaching for opposite elbows.
- Allow your head and shoulders to stay resting on the floor and keep hugging the knees into your chest. Hold for 8 rounds of deep ujjayi breathing.
Gentle Spinal Twist
These gentle twists will help to increase peristalsis by massaging the right and left sides of the colon.
- To begin, lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
- Cactus your arms on the floor so that your elbows are in line with your shoulders. Then, pick your feet up off the floor and bring your knees to 90 degree angles, paralleling your shins to the floor.
- Take a slow inhale, then exhale and lower your knees to the left. Keep your right shoulder on the ground. You can bring your left hand to the outside of your right thigh to deepen the twist. Hold for 8 slow breaths and then inhale your knees back up to center. Switch sides.
Supta Baddha Konasana
This relaxing pose helps to improve digestion by increasing blood flow to the abdominal region, aiding in acid reflux, nausea, and poor digestion.
- Begin lying down on the floor. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground.
- Bring the soles of your feet all the way to touch and then let your knees fall outward.
- Take your arms out wide by your sides with your palms facing up. Close your eyes and relax here for 8 ujjayi breaths.
This relaxing pose helps to increase your parasympathetic state and massages the colon with the thighs, encouraging digestion through both peristalsis and the vagal tone.
- Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees.
- Bring your legs all the way together. Then, walk your hands towards your legs lowering your hips onto your heels.
- Use your hands to lower your chest slowly onto your thighs and bring your forehead to the ground. Extend your hands back towards your feet with your palms facing up. Close your eyes and hold for 8 breaths.