5 Yoga Poses to Supercharge Your Digestion

5 Yoga Poses to Supercharge Your Digestion

Transform Your Post-Meal Woes with These Simple Poses for Digestive Bliss - By Beth Rush

Reading time: 4 minutes

Do you often experience bloating after a meal? Digestive issues sometimes arise at unpredictable times and you’re left wondering if you’ve eaten something you shouldn’t have. It can happen to everyone and its causes are diverse, ranging from stuffing up too fast, eating fatty foods or a health condition. Fortunately, certain yoga poses may help improve it.

How Can Yoga Help Digestion?

Experts believe the gut is the second brain because of the massive network of nerves it houses, forming the gut-brain axis. But how does this relate to yoga? The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body, connecting the brain to the digestive system and other organs. Stimulating it through yoga can activate the gut-brain axis and influence digestion.

The yoga poses you first thought you could only do in a studio every morning may be beneficial in boosting digestion. So, learning certain sequences can be valuable.

Common Causes of Indigestion

Common digestive issues, like gas and bloating, are often associated with two causes. You eat too fast, which can likely happen if you're served with your favorite food, like pizza, that 13% of Americans enjoy as a meal on any given day. If you're a pizza lover, the other reason is if you overeat fat and indulge in a take-out with an overwhelming amount of cheese and processed meat toppings. 

Regardless of what caused the stomach concern, you may quickly resolve it with a few yoga poses. 

Yoga Poses For Digestion

When you experience post-meal stomach pain, stand up from your desk and do these easy and gentle exercises. 

1. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

Stand with your feet, ensuring they’re aligned with your hips. Slightly bend your knees and take a breath in while raising your arms. On an exhale, fold forward from your hips and grab the opposite elbows, ensuring your back and neck are long and heavy. Sway it from left to right. Hold the position and repeat when needed. 

2. Seated Side Bend (Parsva Sukhasana)

This yoga pose elongates the belly muscles, helping alleviate gas and bloating. Sit on the floor while crossing your legs and your hands touch the floor at each side. Raise your left arm and bring it to the right through a nice, slow bend. Use your right forearm as a support while holding the pose and breathing in and out. Switch sides after a few inhales and exhales or until you feel better. 

3. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)

The cat and cow position is often the first pose in a yoga session, as it warms up the spine and introduces gentle movements to the body. It can wake your system up so you’re ready to take on the challenge of the succeeding poses.

Begin in a quadruped pose or tabletop position where your hands are directly under your shoulders and knees aligned with the hips. Spread the fingers wide and press firmly on the ground while the spine is neutral. Exhale while rounding the spine to form a C-curve, dropping the tailbone and drawing the belly in while looking down. Then, reserve the pose while breathing in. Raise the tailbone, arch the back and look up. 

Not only does this pose help you get over a post-meal slump, but it can also alleviate shoulder pain. Yoga is one of the effective holistic approaches to treating a sore shoulder. If you have both problems, hit two birds with one stone with a few repetitions of cat-cow poses after lunch or dinner.

4. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) 

One of the best yoga poses for digestion is the cobra pose. Begin by lying down on your stomach. Plant your palms on the ground in line with your shoulders. Take a few seconds to relax here. Then, as you inhale, lift the chest off while rolling the shoulders back. Maintain a neutral neck position while your gaze stays on the floor. Hold the form for a few seconds. This position activates mobility in the spine and may stimulate the gut-brain axis. 

5. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

From standing, kneel and sit on your knees. Gently lean forward, extending your arms as far as possible while the buttocks remain touching the heels. Then, rest the forehead on the ground. Hold this resting pose while breathing in and out and stay here as long as needed.

For a variation of the pose, move the arms next to your legs, with your palm facing up. Continue to inhale and exhale. 

Try These Yoga Poses to Soothe Indigestion

You can’t predict when you’ll have bloating or bellyache. These yoga poses for digestion can be great alternatives for pills whenever you experience immediate digestive discomfort after a meal. They're easy to do and are beginner-friendly. 

You can choose from either a standing, seated or kneeling position, whichever works best for you. If you're a practitioner, feel free to do a sequence of multiple poses. Yoga is a free and natural remedy for digestive issues. It is worth memorizing the poses as they come in handy.


Beth Rush

Beth is the mental health editor at Body+Mind. She has 5+ years of experience writing about behavioral health, specifically mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.