Constipation Relief - Yoga Help
Yoga for Excessive Gas Relief
Yoga can relax your mind, strengthen your body, and relieve uncomfortable stomach gas. Learn the best poses to practice to ease bloating and excessive gas.
By Diana Rodriguez
Medically Reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH
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Are you bothered by excessive gas? Practicing yoga may help. Yoga is known for its fitness and relaxation benefits. And just the right twists and turns may also improve digestive health and relieve uncomfortable intestinal gas and bloating.
"Yoga is one of those practices that has a multitude of physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional benefits," says Lisa Korchma, co-owner of Yogawood, LLC in Collingswood, N.J. "Yoga targets areas within the physical body and works toward strengthening muscles, calming the central nervous system, and increasing and improving blood flow and oxygenation to the organs.”
A regular and consistent yoga practice that includes specific asanas — the word for yoga movements — a healthy and mindful diet, and perhaps meditation may greatly improve digestive health, Korchma says.
Benefits of Yoga
Since part of digestion can be greatly influenced by stress and activity levels, says Korchma, people who want to target the gut may find that basic twisting postures, along with breathing exercises called pranayama, stretches, and repeating sequences of more active postures have “amazing effects.”
Various poses — moves done standing, seated, twisting, inverted, and supine (lying down with the face up) — all help to stimulate the gut in different ways. They stretch the belly, back, and sides, boost blood flow, and promote deep breathing.
Here is how these various poses help with digestion issues:
- Forward folding.Forward folding greatly compresses the organs in the abdominal cavity; when you release the bend, fresh blood and oxygen return to all the digestive organs.
- Seated twisting.These poses are particularly effective at managing stomach gas pain and bloating, says Korchma.
- Twists.These postures work well for relieving gas pain and discomfort. They “wring out” the organs and help "move things along," promoting regular elimination, Korchma says. It's recommended that the twisting always go from left to right to aid digestion.
Strike a Pose
According to Korchma, there are specific yoga postures that can help alleviate stomach gas pain and bloating. Some are good for beginners; others are more complex and will require more flexibility to achieve. When working with a trained yoga teacher one-on-one or in a class, these are the poses to learn and practice:
- Tadasana (mountain pose):Inhale and bring your arms overhead, then exhale and lower them back down to your sides.
- Urdhva hastasana (upward salute):Stand with arms held over your head. Stretch your upper body to the right and hold your breath for five seconds. Come back to center, then repeat to the left.
- Uttanasana (standing forward bend):Stand with your feet together. Bend from the hips to bring your face toward your shins, placing your hands on the floor next to your feet.
- Paschimottanasana (sitting forward bend):Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you, feet together. Slowly bend forward, grabbing your feet.
- Janu sirsasana (head-to-knee forward bend):Sit with one leg stretched in front of you and bend the opposite leg along the floor so that the sole of your foot rests against the inner thigh of the stretched leg. Keep your torso straight and bend forward. Switch legs and repeat.
- Marichyasana (the Marichi pose):Sit with one leg stretched in front of you and bend the other leg toward your chest, with the sole of the foot flat on the floor against the inner thigh of the stretched leg. Encircling the bent knee, clasp your hands behind your back and bend forward. Switch legs and repeat.
The following poses require more detailed instruction to do correctly:
- Supta padangusthasana, the reclining big toe pose
- Utthita trikonasana, the triangle pose
- Utthita parsvakonasana, the extended side-angle pose
- Adho mukha svanasana, downward-facing dog
These poses can be done as gently or deeply as a yoga student can and wants to do, says Korchma. Typically yoga poses are held for 30 to 60 seconds to achieve the desired stretch and need to be done regularly to increase flexibility, experience relaxation, and get the potential digestive benefits.
"Regular and consistent practice, especially with yoga, helps alleviate and eliminate frequent occurrences of gas pain and can aid in the improvement of digestive health issues," says Korchma.
Video: Yoga for Gas and Bloating
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