Christmas, New Year, and Chinese New Year celebrations usually mean family, friends, and food. Lots of food…
If you usually feel stuffed during or after those dinners, you may need some help with digestion so that you’ll be able to sit and sleep comfortably, and importantly, be able to look and feel smashing in your party outfits.
Here are five of my favourite beginner-friendly yoga poses that improve digestion and reduce bloating. And you can do them in the comfort of your room.
Child’s pose is a crowd favourite as it is one of the most restorative and relaxing yoga poses. It is also soothing and relaxing for your digestive system.
How to do it: Start by kneeling on the floor with your toes pointed and your knees together or hip-width apart. Sit back on your heels and bring your forehead to your knees or the floor while keeping your hips down. Walk your hands forward to lengthen your spine. Breathe and rest here.
Hold this pose for: 2 minutes
This pose massages your digestive organs, promotes bowel movement, and reduces bloating.
How to do it: Start by sitting on the floor in a comfortable cross-legged position. Place your left hand on your right knee, roll your shoulder blades back, and sit up tall. As you lengthen your spine and reach the crown of your head up towards the ceiling, reach your right hand to the floor behind your right hip as you twist your body to the right. Turn your entire body, leading with your chest and shoulders, not just your neck. Hold and repeat on the other side.
Hold this pose for: 30 to 60 seconds per side
If you’re doing this after a festive feast, don’t feel pressured to pull and twist too much. Maintain a gentle moderate twist and stop when you feel any discomfort. As this pose releases tension in your stomach and spine, don’t be surprised if you let out a little gas.
The cobra pose opens your chest, stretches your stomach muscles, and improves posture.
How to do it: Start by lying flat on your stomach. Place your hands under your shoulders, roll your shoulder blades back, and lift your chest off the floor. Keep your elbows close to your body. The ditches of your elbows should face one another. Lengthen your neck and look in the direction where your chest is facing. Take deep breaths, draw your shoulder blades down, and keep pushing your chest forward.
Hold this pose for: 30 to 60 seconds
If this feels too intense, you can regress to a baby cobra. To do that, simply place your elbows where your palms are and lift your chest off the ground while keeping your elbows tucked close to your body.
This pose reduces compression in your abdomen, increases blood flow from your legs to your stomach and upper body, and stimulates blood flow.
How to do it: Lie flat on your back with your hips against the wall. Relax your hands beside your body with your palms facing up. Place your legs up on the wall with your feet hip-width apart. Slow down your breathing and enjoy the pose.
Hold this pose for: 2 minutes
For those who are tight and struggle to place their feet up against the wall, you can place your feet hip-width apart (or slightly further) or have a gentle bend in your knees to make it easier on your hamstrings.
This pose gently massages your digestive organs and relieves lower back pain.
How to do it: Lie flat on your back, bend your knees, and pull them into your chest. You can place your hands on your knees, shins, or under your knee (between your thighs and calves). Rock side to side or front and back to massage your spine. Breathe slowly and relax.
Hold this pose for: 1 to 2 minutes
As you may be able to tell, most yoga poses that open your chest and massage your stomach help to improve digestion, reduce bloating, and relieve discomfort from overeating.
If you’ve just had a big meal, avoid doing inversions (any pose that has your head below your hips) as it may make digestion slower or more difficult.
Carissa Wong is a 200h Certified Yoga Teacher who focuses on alignment, mobility, and strength. She started practising yoga in 2016, and has been teaching since mid-2020. Currently, she teaches private 1-on-1 yoga classes (online and in person) and creates personalised stretch and strength plans.