Yoga For Digestion

Published January 04, 2020 by Sheila Anne Murray

When you have an upset stomach or trouble digesting, yoga might feel like the last thing you want to do. Inhale, exhale, and trust me on this one. Time to relieve symptoms and restore energy and clarity.

These poses are designed to gently engage your side-body muscles, relaxing the rest of your core. Muscles that are normally tense surrounding your stomach, intestines, and pelvic floor will naturally loosen using these poses. I know that whenever I encounter digestive issues, it’s time to do a little digestive yoga session.

Side body stretch

Lay down on the flat of your back on a yoga mat or blanket. Inhale and stretch your arms over your head and your legs as long as you possibly can. Exhale and move your upper body and lower body over to the right, keeping your core body glued to the mat. You should feel yourself in a “C” shape here. If your lower back is a little uncomfortable here, you can make some adjustments in your hips — I sometimes find it helpful to pick up my hips and set them back down, allowing my lower back to come to rest on the floor.

Breathe here in this shape, for 2 - 3 minutes. Inhale deep into your low belly and feel your belly lift away from your spine, allow the diaphragm to expand. Exhale and belly comes back toward the spine as you release. You may even start to feel some movement, or hear some noises in your low belly as you move the air and the energy. Send yourself some extra love and compassion and try to release any sense of anxiety or hurry. Just breathe here into the pose and into the present.

On an inhale bring everything back to center and stretch long once again. Exhale and move your upper body and lower body over to the left, keeping your core body glued to the mat, creating that “C” shape once again, now to the left.

Breathe in this shape, in and out of your low belly for 2-3 minutes. Once again, sending some extra love and compassion to yourself. If your still feeling uncomfortable, remind yourself that this will pass and that your body is already doing the work to bring you back into a place of balance and clarity.

On an inhale bring everything back to center and stretch long once again, then release arms down to hips on an exhale.

Ardha Pawamuktasana (Half Gas Release Pose)

Hug knees toward chest, deep inhale here, exhale release left leg down so it lies flat on the mat. Continue to hug right knee into rib cage. Head can be heavy on the ground, chin tilted toward chest so that your spine feels like it’s in one long line. Breathe here for as short as 10 breaths or as long as 2 minutes. After, inhale left knee back up to meet right, exhale right leg down so that is lies flat on the mat, and move through the same steps on this side.

What does this pose do? This pose compresses the ascending colon on the right side and descending colon on the left, stimulating the nerves to aid elimination.

Balasana (Child’s pose)

Inhale knees together at the chest and begin to roll up and down the spine, creating some momentum. Roll all the way up to sitting at the front of your mat.

There are many other variations on these same poses that may ease digestive issues you are facing. Even if you’ve only got ten minutes in your day to spare, moving through a short flow like this will help clear your mind and body.


Sheila Anne