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Asanas Yoga

7 Yoga Poses to Strengthen the Digestive System

Poor digestion is the root cause of a majority of disorders in human body. It leads to decreased metabolism, poor assimilation of essential nutrients and a host of other diseases.

According to Ayurveda, it is important to ensure that we have good digestive fire to maintain a healthy body.

Yoga has strong regenerative powers, which can improve the functioning of the digestive system. Certain Yoga asanas or poses stretch the abdominal muscles, regulate bowel movements, increase the flow of blood and helps food to move smoothly through the digestive system. They also eliminate the risk of fatty deposits and detoxify the body.

How to Do Child's Pose (Balasana) - Yoga poses For Flexibility and Strength
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Yoga Poses You Should Practice Daily To Improve Digestion

 

Boat Pose (Naukasana)

Benefits – This is an excellent pose to strengthen the abdominal muscles and improve secretion of digestive juices. Boat pose is also effective in stimulating your intestines and ensuring a smooth digestive process.

Method

  • Sit with your knees bent. Both feet pressing the floor and hands placed on the floor next to hips. Follow a rhythmic breathing pattern and focus on the breath.
  • Keep your spine straight and lean back. Lift your feet and make them parallel to the floor.
  • Now, lift your chest. tighten your core and stretch your arms forward.
  • Balance on your sitting bones and maintain the spine in a straight position.
  • Keep breathing slowly in a rhythmic manner and fix your gaze on the toes.
  • Maintain the pose for five breaths initially. As you practice, increase the duration of hold gradually to one minute.
  • Your legs are at a 45 degree angle from the ground and body is in V shape during the pose.
  • Exhale and lower your arms and legs to release the pose.

Seated Forward Bend (Pachimottasana)

Benefits – This pose is ideal to reduce abdominal fat. It massages the abdominal region and helps to relieve constipation and flatulence.

Method –

  • Sit on the mat with your buttocks supported on a blanket or a bolster. Stretch your legs in front of the body and keep the feet strongly flexed. Your knees should be aligned properly and should not turn out.
  • Raise your arms slowly and gradually take them overhead. Stretch them towards the ceiling.
  • Slowly inhale and make your spine long.
  • Exhale slowly and bend forwards from your hips.
  • Lengthen your spine on each inhale and bend forwards on each exhale. Try to get your stomach to touch the thighs.
  • Try to hold your toes, ankles or shins depending on how long you can stretch. Do not force yourself into the stretch.

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Benefits – Camel pose stretches the abdominal organs,chest and shoulders. It is an excellent pose to improve your digestion and relieve constipation. It also works on your posture and opens the heart chakra.

Method

  1. Kneel on the yoga mat. Keep your body upright and place your knees right under your hips. Stand on your shins with the front of the feet resting on the mat.
  2. Place the hands on your hips and open your chest towards the ceiling.
  3. Hold the position of the chest, while you slowly move your hands to the back and grasp your heels.
  4. Bring the hips a bit forwards and see that they are right over your knees. Ensure that your thighs are upright.
  5. Let your head fall back to open your throat. If this position is not comfortable, you can also keep your chin tucked in.
  6. Hold the pose for as long as you are comfortable initially and gradually work up to one minute hold.

Wind Relieving Pose (Pavanamuktasana)

Benefits – Pavanamuktasana is a beginner level pose in yoga. It is a simple yet effective pose that offers a number of benefits. This pose gently massages the abdominal organs and improves blood flow to the internal organs. It is an excellent pose to remove gases from the large intestine, remove fat deposits from the stomach, thighs and buttocks, and to strengthen the spinal vertebrae and lower back.

Method

  • Lie on your back and extend your arms and legs.
  • Exhale and bend your knees. Hold them with your hands and try to bring them close to your chest.
  • Now hold your right knee and release your left leg. Stretch your left leg straight while the right knee is bent and held close to the chest. Hold this pose for a few breaths.
  • Now bend your left leg and hold it close to the chest, while you stretch the right leg straight. Hold the pose for an equal amount of time as you did with the right leg.
  • Now again hold both the knees close to the chest and hold the position for sometime.
  • Exhale and release both the legs and return to the supine position.

Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

Benefits – Supine twist massages the digestive organs and helps to relieve bloating and cramping. It stimulates waste removal from the body. Supta matsyendrasana provides the organs of the digestive system with fresh oxygen and nutrients. It also opens the lower back and shoulders, strengthens the spinal muscles and calms the mind.

Method –

  • Lie straight on your back.
  • Pull the right knee towards the chest, while your left leg is straight on the floor.
  • Now move the right knee towards the left side of your body.
  • Try to keep your shoulders flat on the mat and your arms stretched to the sides.
  • Your torso is twisted towards the left and gently massages the internal organs.
  • Hold the pose for a few breaths and repeat the same process with the left leg.

Bridge Pose ( Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Benefits – This is a rejuvenating back bend pose that improves blood circulation and strengthens the back and hamstrings. The bridge pose stimulates the digestive organs and improves digestion. It also works on the thyroid gland and improves metabolism

Method

  • Lie on your back. Place your arms on the side with the palms facing downwards.
  • Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Try to keep your feet as close to the buttocks as possible.
  • Now press your arms and feet into the floor and gently lift your hips up towards the ceiling.
  • Lift your chin slightly and lift your chest towards the chin.
  • Ensure that your knees are over the ankles and your lower back is extended.
  • Lift the hips as high as you can and hold the pose for a few breaths.
  • Exhale and roll your spine gently to the floor to release the position.

Triangle Pose ( Trikonasana)

Benefits – This is another easy yet effective pose for improving digestion. It stretches the abdominal muscles and relieves acidity, gastritis, flatulence and indigestion. It is good for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. It also is helpful in improving the functioning of the reproductive system and the nervous system.

Method

  • Stand straight with your feet apart and knees straight.
  • Place your right foot in front of your body and rotated towards the outside.
  • The left foot is rotated inside at a 45 degree angle.
  • Stretch your arms to the sides at shoulder height with palms facing the floor.
  • Extend your torso to the right while keeping the arms parallel to the floor.
  • Now stretch your right arm and try to reach your right foot. With practice you should be able to place the right hand on the ground beside the right foot.
  • Raise your left arm overhead towards the ceiling.
  • Lift your head and fix your gaze on the left thumb and hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths.
  • Now gently release the stretch and come back to the standing position and repeat the process on the other side.

Practice these 7 poses regularly to strengthen the digestive system and improve your metabolism, appetite and digestion. However, the most important point to remember while practicing yoga is to never overstretch yourself. Do not compare with others. Every person has his own ability and it is advisable to take it slow in the initial phases. With regular practice of yoga, you will be able to increase the hold to a minute and perform increased number of repetitions of the poses.

Do not expect any magical or instant benefits. You have to be consistent in practice and pay attention to posture and breathing while performing the yoga poses to enjoy maximum benefits.

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