When you’ve accidentally overloaded on holiday food, the temptation can be strong to roll up into a ball on the couch and stay put. According to Aussie-born yoga pro Claire Grieve, the best move is to move! We’re sharing a simple and fun practice to test out this weekend and keep in mind for the food-filled festivities ahead. Discover the power of yoga for digestion…
Yoga Poses To Aid Digestion
It is common to feel sluggish after a long day of eating and drinking. Yoga can be a powerful tool to re-energize your system, practicing can leave you feeling lighter and more vibrant. Certain yoga poses, like the flow below, gently massage your internal organs activating your lymphatic, digestion and detoxification systems. The proper functioning of these systems are essential for optimal health. Breathe deeply as you move through each of the poses — this will help you to feel immediately energized. It will also help you to release any anxiety and stress that may have built up after a full day with your family.
Cat – Cow Pose
Cat-Cow is a great way to warm up your body and get your digestion moving. As you alternate between the two stretches, you’ll lengthen and compress your intestines, stimulating your digestive system.
Start on your hands and knees with your knees, feet and hips aligned. Keep your spine in a neutral tabletop position. Inhale, round your spine towards the ceiling, engaging your abdominals, pulling your belly button into your spine, tuck your tailbone and your chin towards your chest. Exhale, arch your back and lift your tailbone and head towards the sky as you relax your belly to the floor. Continue moving through cat-cow connecting the postures with your breath. Repeat ten times or more.
Down Dog Split
Down dog is a gentle inversion that will help relax your gastrointestinal system. It is also a full body strengthening pose that will help increase circulation, including to your digestive organs.
Start on your hands and knees. Knees should be below your hips, hands placed just in front of your shoulders. Inhale and exhale as you straighten your legs away from the ground, drawing your sit bones up towards the sky and lengthening your spine. Press your heels firmly towards the ground. Relax your head and neck and gaze back towards your feet. Extend one leg behind you keeping your hips square for and extra challenge.
Knee To Nose Pose
Knee to nose pose fires up your digestive system, which can aid with indigestion and constipation. This pose is also an intense abdominal strengthener, which will help you feel stronger and more body confident post feast.
Starting from Down Dog split, shift your shoulders over your wrists and draw your knee into your nose. Try to kiss the knee as you activate your core.
Warrior poses get your heart pumping and your energy flowing. Doing this pose will help you to feel strong and powerful in both body and mind. The side bend can help stimulate your kidneys, which are important for detoxification.
Start in Warrior 2 pose. Slide your backhand down your back leg and rest on the thigh or shin. Inhale the top arm up towards the ceiling gently reaching back by the ear and spread your fingers wide. Look up towards the sky. Keep your legs strong, sink your hips down toward the floor and relax your shoulders. Breathe into your ribcage creating more space in the torso. Hold for thirty seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
Crescent Lunge Twist
Adding a twist to your lunge is like giving your internal organs a mini massage, which increases blood flow to your organs of digestion and detoxification. As you twist take big inhales and exhales to deepen the detoxification properties.
Starting in crescent lunge, place your hands in prayer at heart center and gently twist your torso to one side. Hook your outer elbow over your outer knee. Inhale, lengthen your spine, exhale and gently twist deeper. You can open the twist even more by reaching one arm towards the sky. Gaze up towards your fingertips and hold for five deep breaths. Repeat on both sides.
Twisted Chair Pose
Chair pose builds fire in your core, energizing your entire body. The twist will activate your digestion and remove any abdominal blockages.
Stand in mountain pose, inhale as you sweep your arms overhead. Exhale, sit back over your heels with your knees at 90 degrees. Keep your thighs parallel to the floor. Bring your palms together at heart center of your chest in prayer and twist to one side. Press your elbow against your outer knee and twist from your torso. Hold for thirty seconds.
Crow pose creates fire in the abdomen and leaves you feeling strong and vibrant. It compresses and massages your belly, which can re-oxygenate the blood that flows to the digestive organs.
Bend your knees and lower down into a squat. Place your hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart with your fingers spread wide. Keeping your feet close together, place your knees onto your upper arms. Keep your gaze forward as you activate your core and begin to lean forward lifting one foot at a time toward your butt. Touch your toes together, draw your belly in toward your spine and breathe. Hold this pose for ten to thirty seconds.
Cow Face Pose With Eagle Arms
This posture has a deep detoxifying quality as stretching your hips will help to remove emotional blockages. This pose will also help to lengthen and align your spine allowing revitalizing energy to flow throughout your body. It is also an absolutely divine stretch that can help calm the mind and decrease tension, anxiety and insomnia.
Stack your right knee on top of your left. Inhale, extend your arms out at your sides. Exhale, sweep your right arm underneath the left, squeeze your forearms together, keeping them at a 90 degree right angle to the floor. Press your palms together or hold onto your opposite wrist. Lift your elbows slightly as you soften your shoulders down your back. Breath into the back of your shoulder blades as you gently draw your hands away from your face. Hold for two minutes. Repeat on the both sides.
Camel pose is a deep heart-opening stretch that will ease digestive discomfort and lift your energy levels, helping you to fight holiday fatigue, anxiety and loss.
Start on your knees with your shins on the ground. Your knees should be hip-width apart. Inhale, place your hands on your hips and exhale. Gently arch back. Reach your hands towards your heels and lower your head back. Take five deep inhales.
Pigeon pose is a simple and effective way to loosen your hips and release all of the emotional junk that may have built up throughout the day. Focus on your breath and inhale into the areas that feel tight. On each exhale, feel the tension melting away.
From Down Dog bring your right knee forward and place it in line with your right hand, ankle at left. Your shin should be parallel with the front of your mat. Extend your left leg back and rest your knee and top of foot on the ground. Square your hips and fold forward resting your forehead on your hands. Hold for two to five minutes on each side.