Feeling bloated? Thank God for yoga pants, am I right?! While you’re enjoying the expansive comfort of stretching your belly out in yoga pants, why not hop into some yoga poses that might actually make that belly bloat go away? Yoga is a great practice for many things, including stress relief (which is a major cause of bloating), exercise, flexibility, and most importantly, for digestion. Ayurveda and yoga are “sister sciences,” so it only makes sense that Ayurveda—the practice of healing your digestion based off of your dosha—would be tied to a practice that can also heal digestion.
Here are five yoga poses that can help reduce belly bloat. These are beginner-friendly poses that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine for a happier tummy.
Downward Facing Dog
From plank position, lift the hips as high as you can. Draw the shoulders upward and soften the tops of the shoulders. Keep the legs straight and hug the ribs into the body. Now that you’re in a proper downward facing dog, breathe deeply. Hold here for at least five long breaths. This pose is a type of inversion, so you are allowing your digestion to reset and move. Turning your belly upside down in this pose has many digestion benefits.
From downward facing dog, reach one leg up, bend the knee and stack the hips. Keep pressing through the lifted leg until you “flip your dog” and end up in a backbend. Backbends are treats for your belly because they massage the organs in your digestive system and stretch them out. Come back to downward dog and repeat on the other side.
Upward Facing Dog
From downward dog, shift forward to plank and lower to your belly. Grab your feet and rock forward and back a bit to massage your stomach. Then place the hands underneath your shoulders and press up into upward facing dog. Draw the shoulders down and back and press the tops of the feet onto the mat. Your knees should lift off of the floor. Open the heart and feel your belly stretch out.
Twists are essential for optimal digestion because they massage your inner organs and stimulate digestion. Twists help get things moving, if you know what I mean. I like coming into a seated twist from pigeon. Start in downward facing dog with one leg lifted high behind you. Coil the knee into the chest and place the knee down between your hands, folding forward. Once you’ve enjoyed pigeon, lift the chest and swing the back leg around, placing the foot on the outside of the bent knee. If your right knee is bent on the mat, bring the right elbow to the outside of the left knee and twist to the left. You can also wrap the arm around if tucking your elbow feels too tight. Inhale to lengthen up through the crown of the head, and exhale as you twist deeper to the left.
Deep Belly Breathing
Yoga is all about the breath, and deep belly breathing is going to make your stomach feel incredibly good. Come to a comfortable seated position and place one hand on your belly and the other on your heart. Inhale deeply into the belly and feel it expand underneath your hand. Continue breathing in, moving the breath into the chest, feeling it expand. As you exhale, soften the chest, then soften the belly. Repeat for a few minutes.
Kate Wilke is a 200-RYT yoga instructor, meditation teacher, and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She teaches and works with clients in Nashville, TN. She believes in self-care in the form of colorful, healthy cooking, daily walks with her dog, and a glass of red wine. Follow her on Instagram — @meditatekate