What yoga positions are best for improving digestion?
Kim-Lien Kendall (New York, NY) on Jan 20, 2012
For immediate relief (for instance if you ate a meal not so long ago, or are feeling bloated or experiencing indigestion) the best kind of yoga is restorative yoga. This generally involves making a supportive base (with props) for a non-strenuous posture. Stay in it and relax for a few minutes. Whatever position you choose, be sure that it does not require a great deal of effort on your fault. The reason for this is the balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic branch is known as the" fight or flight" branch, and the parasympathetic is "rest and digest". One branch often works better when the other branch is at rest. Putting yourself in strenuous postures, therefore, is mostly counter to the digestive process. Doing restorative postures, however, may promote parasympathetic activity, such as digestion.
Laura Plumb (San Diego, CA) on Jan 20, 2012
Twists are great for digestion because they direct blood flow to the stomach. Seated forward bends are good, too. Ironically, shoulder stands can also help with elimination. Finally, all poses that help you relax, release stress, and restore inner peace benefit the digestive process. Under stress, the nervous system shuts down the workings of the gut, sending blood and energy to the arms and legs to be available for the fight or flight response. Only when stress is reduced, the breath is deep, slow and even and the mind is quiet, does the system go back to rest and digest. So be sure to include forward bends, restorative poses and at least a few minutes of Shavasana every time you practice. The benefits go beyond digestion to include anti-aging, mental clarity, emotional stability, hormone health, energy and vigor and so much more!
Deborah Caruana (New York, NY) on Jan 20, 2012
Do twists while lengthening and stretching. Firm your foundation, press into the floor, feel your roots and lengthen up from your foundation. Inhale. Lengthen. Exhale. Begin to twist as you continue to lengthen. Twists are incredibly cleansing and purifying. Done fully, they will raise your metabolism.
Stephanie Culen (New York, NY) on Jan 20, 2012
Twists are good for improving digestion and squats can be helpful too.
Melissa Gutierrez (New York, NY) on Jan 20, 2012
Believe it or not, a focused breathing practice can often be more helpful than any asana/pose. It would be more helpful to know what kind of digestive issues are being specifically addressed. That being said, better breathing increases the flow of energy, oxygen, and blood to the stomach and intestines, thus toning and improving digestive processes. Having a focused breath/pranayama practice can get you in touch with your abs. It improves posture and strength, and helps alleviate stress. The more in touch you are with your core, the better you can deal with stress and keep your digestion strong and elimination steady. Movement is excellent! I highly encourage practicing yoga, but maybe the question you should ask yourself is, "How well am I breathing today?"