Are digestive problems interfering with your daily life? These yoga poses will bring you relief.
A healthy gut plays a crucial role in your sound mental and physical health. But Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can cause bloating, acidity, constipation, diarrhoea, and many other digestive problems. Yoga for digestive system is your easy ad effective solution.
With the help of yoga practice you can keep your gut in gear and cure IBS. Right IBS remedies and Yoga asanas (exercise) are important to make sure that the food that you eat gets digested properly, sufficient nutrients are absorbed and you have a trouble-free bowel movement.
In the digestion process, the main role is played by agni or digestive fire, as per ayurveda. A weak digestive system will lead to major health issues over time as the food may not get absorbed properly.
Regular exercise is needed to stimulate the digestive processes.
Gut Friendly Yoga for Digestive System
Yoga not only prevents indigestion but also other illnesses caused by prolonged gut problems. Correctly performed yoga asanas with the right breathing techniques increases oxygen flow to the body, which makes healthy digestion possible and relieves your IBS symptoms.
Let’s take a look at some easy yoga asanas for a healthy stomach.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
This pose stretches the vertebral column, shoulders and hamstrings and helps in strengthening the back, pelvis. It is the best yoga for indigestion and gas problems. Pashchimottanasana also improves blood circulation that rejuvenates your whole body and mind. It makes your agni strong that results in better digestion. It calms your senses and relieves stress. It helps in easy digestion by giving your entire gut system a complete workout.
- Sit on a yoga mat with your legs stretched out. Join your toes. Keep your torso straight. If you have trouble doing that, add a pillow behind yourself for support.
- Take a deep breath while raising your arms upwards.
- Exhale as you gently bend forward and rest your forehead on your knees. Hold your feet with your hands like in the picture.
- Maintain this position for 5 seconds.
- Inhale slowly when coming back to the starting position.
- Perform this 5 times.
Tips for Beginners
- Do not force yourself as it is a difficult pose that requires flexibility and practice.
- Always do some warm-up and leg stretching before trying this pose.
- Avoid it if you have diarrhoea, it is good for constipation-prone IBS.
Pawanmuktasana (Wind Relieving Pose)
This pose is great yoga for stomach gas. As the name suggests it releases the gas and helps with bloating.
- Lie down on your back with your legs joined. Take a few breaths to relax your body.
- Bend your knees.
- Exhale as you bring your knees closer to your chest and hold them in this position with your arms wrapped around them (see picture). Simultaneously, lift your head up so that your chin touches the knees.
- Maintain this pose for as long as you can, ideally 5-10 seconds.
- Inhale as you gently return to the first position, resting your head and legs straight on the mat.
- This makes one cycle. You can repeat it 3-5 times.
Tips for Beginners
- Avoid this asana during periods as it may interfere with the Vata dosha needed for healthy flow.
- Do not try this if you have neck or spine issues.
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Regular practice of bhujangasana stretches lungs, abdomen and spine. It is a versatile pose that cures constipation and you can also try this yoga for stomach pain and other gut-related problems. This pose comes in the 7th step of Surya namaskar. It increases the body heat and stimulates the digestive system by making agni strong.
- Lie on the mat facing downwards and your arms on your side.. Keep your legs straight and your toes stretched out (see picture).
- Exhale as you lift your torso till your navel. Put your palms on the ground to support your torso.
- Keep your arms straight and in line with your neck and shoulders.
- Maintain this pose for 5-10 seconds.
- Inhale as you gently come back to the initial pose.
- Repeat 3-4 times.
Tips for Beginners
- Avoid straining your back, lift only as much as you can for the first time.
- Avoid it if you’re pregnant, have a headache or are suffering from back injuries.
Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)
Vajrasana is the best yoga for gastric problems too. Ths asana can be done right after the meal and is great for those who usually have a bad gut. So, if you think that you have overeating or had a late dinner, just sit in vajrasana for easy digestion. It activates agni and helps to cure IBS, hence it is a powerful yoga for digestive system.
- Sit on the mat with your knees bent. Place your palms on your knees (see picture).
- Keep your back straight and knees joined.
- Sit in a way that both your toes are touching but the heels are apart. Your hips should be resting on your heels.
- Sit in this pose for 5-10 minutes.
Tips and for Beginners
- Avoid it if you have knee problems, hypotension or hernia.
- Do not overdo this pose as it generates heat in the body.
- Pregnant ladies should avoid this.
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Having IBS can be stressful. Balasana improves blood circulation and provides relief in fatigue, stress and anxiety. It is one of the easiest yoga for digestive system. Following these tips strengthen your digestive system and bring relief to your IBS symptoms.
- Sit in vajrasana and straighten your back. As you breathe in, raise your arms.
- Exhale slowly as you bend forward your forehead on the mat and rest. Keep your arms stretched and place your palms on the mat (see picture).
- Maintain for 5-10 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times.
- Inhale as you come back to vajrasana pose.
Tips for Beginners
- Avoid it if you have diarrhoea or have a problem sitting in vajrasana.
- Pregnant ladies or women with periods should not do this pose.
- Avoid it if you have hypertension.
Some General Tips for Easy Digestion in IBS
The first step of digestion begins right when you chew it. Therefore, you should pay attention to what foods you eat and how you eat them.
- Follow an ideal Dinacharya or daily routine to maintain overall health. There should be a specific time of eating, sleeping, and exercise to maintain overall health.
- Chew food properly so that the enzymes in saliva can mix up with food particles and can kick-start digestion.
- Avoid overeating as it puts an extra burden on your digestive system, which in turn makes you sleepy so that it can utilise that energy in breaking down food.
- Avoid late dinners. As per ayurveda, the pitta cycle of midnight is used to heal and repair your body. If you keep your body engaged at this time, by staying awake or by eating food, you are hindering your body’s most important task.
- Do not gulp down water after eating, take a few sips only, or drink water after 30 minutes. Also, do not drink cold water before or after meals as this cools down the digestive fire.
- Only eat foods that are compatible with your dosha type to avoid side effects and help your body functions run smoothly.
Following these tips strengthen your digestive system and bring relief to your IBS symptoms. Prevention is better than cure, so you should make these asanas a part of your workout routine to cure IBS. Always warm-up before performing asanas and if you are a beginner or suffering from some ailments, it is advised to perform the above-mentioned yoga for digestive system under guided supervision.
Have a happy gut!
Anulom-vilom is the best pranayama for digestion, it is a gentle breathing technique that can be performed by people of all ages. It helps in balancing the dosha and calming Vata dosha, responsible for the bowel movements. Bhastrika is also beneficial in improving gut health along with yoga for digestive system. Do these exercises early in the morning to yield the maximum results and prepare your gut for the long day.
In addition to the above-mentioned asanas, these are also some good yoga for digestive system:
- Baddha konasana
It is important to give your stomach and entire gut system a break, every once in a while. This allows your body to clean the accumulated ama/toxins and rejuvenate digestive fire. You do intermittent fasting, recommended by Ayurevda.
You can also take these herbs to clean your system-
- Lemon water
- Hot water/milk with turmeric powder
- Triphala powder
Wake up early in the morning. Between 4-5 a.m. there is Vata dominant period. If you wake at this time your bowel movement will be healthy and natural. After waking up drink some water, but do not gulp it down. Sit down and sip this water slowly. Indian squatting pose for relieving yourself is the best but could be hurtful to your knees if you are overweight. Following this routine will train your body to get natural bowel movements in the morning. You should also perform yoga for digestive system after bathing to ensure good health.