The holidays are a definitely a time of indulgence and it’s easy to feel bloated as we are often eating or snacking more and more often during the day. On top of this visiting family and travel can be stressful. Even the most dedicated of yogis have a hard time staying balanced since most of us end up out of our daily and weekly routine that provides discipline in our regular lives.
Here are some of my top yoga poses that will help to alleviate bloating and soothe and rebalance your digestion.
This restorative pose is not only good for the belly and digestive system since the thighs in the belly provide apana vayu (downward expelling energy), but it also offers a few brief moments of calm, introverted energy at a time in life where we get so scattered. This shift in our nervous system restores parasympathetic tone in the nervous system that is hugely beneficial to a stressed out digestive system.
Yes, it stretches the hamstrings and lower back, but in this pose really concentrate on using the diaphragm muscle at the bottom of the rib cage to create the longest inhalation you can. Let your belly go and this will allow the diaphragm to really descend deep into the viscera (belly organs). Yogis have long known that this “inner belly” massage is invaluable to stimulate digestion and relieve bloating.
This is a great one because it is hugely calming to the nervous system and also counters the dull energy of excessive sitting during the holidays with calm, sustainable energy for your system. When you press the sitting bones away from the hands, the whole spine gets long. The belly organs also get inverted and are treated to more spaciousness. It truly is one of the best holiday treats.
The act of folding forward places pressure on the abdominal organs and stimulates digestion. I also love this one because it helps me not to over eat as well. When I know I will be bending forward later in this awesome standing stretch somehow it is a reminder not to consume too much. This pose feels so good when we don’t over eat that your body will not likely fall victim to gluttony. And hey, if it does, don’t beat yourself up. Start where you are at fold, breathe and enjoy.
Twists act like a tourniquet for the belly organs. The yogic theory is that when we twist to one side, the belly organs on that side experience a temporary constriction to their blood supply. When we come out of the twist the organs get a flush of fresh, oxygenated blood. It’s like pinching a garden hose and releasing it. In particular the ascending colon on the right and the descending colon on the left are stimulated when we twist to each side. The yogis knew how to remove blockages not just in our hearts, but in our bellies too!
Have a happy Holiday Season!
Eoin and the Bliss Team