I Should Go Do Yoga....For Digestion

Ahhh it's that time of year again...when we just can't say no to another roast potato and keep delving into the choccies even though you're already full. It's the season of indulgence which also means it's the season when most of feel a little uncomfortable in the gut region.

Never fear! In true You Go | Do Yoga style I have put together some top yoga postures you can practice while watching Love Actually for the nine-millionth time to help move things along in the digestion department. Now can someone pass the mine pies please?

MARJAIASANA (CAT-COW)

To start with we're going to warm up the spine with a little flexion. Start on your hands and knees with your hands underneath your shoulders, knees underneath your hips. Press down through the fingertips to protect the wrists, and engage the arm muscles by pushing away from the floor. Tops of the feet should be flat (or as flat as possible) onto the ground, and feet in line with the knees and hands, like two train tracks.

Inhale through the nose, drop the navel down and open the chest, look forward.

Exhale and press away from the floor with your hands, rounding the back, sucking the navel in and tucking the chin into the chest. Keep moving with the inhale and exhale, for as long as you like, until the back feels nice and stretched out. This posture contracts the stomach muscles gently which starts the digestive process off by sending lots of nice fresh blood to your internal organs to get them moving.

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BALASANA (CHILD'S POSE)

From our table-top position we're now going to add a little further pressure to the internal organs, but also relax the muscles in the body to get rid of any nasty cramps. Send the weight back onto your heels and rest your forehead on the ground or on a block or blanket if it doesn't reach the floor. Breathe in and out through the nose for as long as you like here.

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MALASANA (GARLAND POSE OR YOGIC SQUAT)

This pose is great to fire up the circulation, open the bowels and ahem, get everything moving. From standing, bring your feet as wide as your mat, with the heels on the mat and the toes turned slightly outwards. Inhale and raise your hands overhead, bringing the palms together. On the exhale, squat down, bringing the outside of the triceps to the inside of the knees, pressing the palms together at the chest and opening up the hips. You can support yourself with a block (pictured) or a book (or stack of books), or just rely on the strength of your legs.

Your spine should be nice and straight, gaze forwards and shoulders relaxed away from the ears. Stay here and connect with the breath for as long as feels comfortable.

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Pavanamuktasana (Wind-Relieving Pose)

No I'm not joking, that's actually what this pose is called! I don't have to tell you why...

You can do the pose as pictured, or do it one leg at a time keeping the other leg out long and heavy onto the floor. This pose helps with the removal of excess air and helps to improve the quality and efficiency of your digestive system. It also relieves indigestion, bloating, flatulence, acidity, and constipation. 

Maybe don't try this one in front of the whole family...

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Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)

This pose stimulates the abdominal organs as well as stretching out the chest, which will help to relieve the feeling of heartburn. It also boosts your energy levels and leaves you feeling stimulated in body and mind. 

Lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent. Bring your heels close to the buttocks and the feet hip-width apart. Press down through your feet to lift your hips off the ground, pressing the hips upward to open the chest and the abdomen. Keep the knees in line with the hips, and take care to keep the ankles aligned underneath the knees (so the knees aren't hanging forward over the feet, or really far behind the line of the heels). 

Close the eyes and breathe here for 5-10 breaths. You can even bring the hands together behind your back (still on the floor) and interlace the fingers, opening the chest further and resting on the shoulders.

Repeat as many times as feels comfortable. When you come out the pose, slowly roll down the back, vertebrae by vertebrae.

Hopefully these poses will leave you feeling happier and less bloated this Christmas season!

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