Yoga poses to assist digestion

Sometimes our eyes want to eat more than our stomach can handle.

The Ayurvedic guideline is to have 1/3 of your stomach filled with food, 1/3 with liquid and the remaining 1/3 is “space” to allow digestion.  I regularly misjudge the 1/3 food 🙂

Sitting on the floor while you eat helps to limit the food intake.

Generally it is NOT recommended to practice yoga with full stomach however there is one pose which is “do-able” if you overindulged.

Supta virasana (laying down hero) is one pose which can be practiced on full stomach.

The first variation (laying over a bolster or for more flexible students maybe laying back to a folded blanket.  Using the chair is an easier version and it is more gentle on the knees. The benefits of the pose are the same.

The aim in this pose is to lengthen the trunk.  Whilst you are in this asana you quadracep muscles will be extended too.

Most of us would not be comfortable laying back without support. For support you can use a bolster (or fold up two blankets).

If your ankles, knees or back does not allow you to lay back over a bolster use a folded-up chair against the wall and make sure it won’t slide away.  I suggest to sit on some elevation such as a block or a book as this will ease off the pressure from your knees.  .

Whichever version you do sit up tall before laying back and extend the tailbone away from your waist to lengthen to lower back.  Keep your knees either together or hip widths apart, a strap will assist.  Use a rolled up blanket, towel or a small cushion to support the back of your head and neck.  Once you established that you are comfortable in this pose stay in it for a few minutes.

 

Other poses to help digestion:

There are 6 poses in this series.

The food has to travel approx. 11 meters from entry to exit so the aim is to help the digestion process by pushing the food down.

These poses lengthen the trunk, open the sides, twist, squeeze and massage the organs in the abdominal cavity and finally assist towards elimination.

Brief description of the above poses:

1 & 2: Stand in Tadasana (Mountain pose) which is the basic standing pose. Inhale and raise the arms in front of you in line with your shoulders.  Interlace the fingers and on the next inhalation raise the arms above your head (or you can hold the left wrist with the right hand).  Try coming up on your toes.  Exhale lower the arms and bring the heels down. repeat a few times (4 to 8).

3. Stand in Tadasana, inhale raise the arms in line with your shoulders, interlace your fingers and raise the arms above your head .   On exhalation extend the right side of the body, keep the chest and hips to face the front. Change the interlacing of your fingers and repeat on the other side.  Repeat the cycle a few times.

4. Stand in Tadasana, inhale raise the arms shoulder height and with an exhalation twist to one side.  Allow the whole trunk to turn. Inhale back to the centre and exhale to the other side.  Repeat the cycle a few times.

5. Lay down on your abdomen, either have your elbows on the floor (like I have) or straighten your arms.  Tuck the toes under and on exhalation turn your head to inspect your heels (try to see both of them). Inhale, turn back to the centre and on exhalation do the other side. Repeat the cycle.  This pose will massage your internal organs.

6. Start with squatting.  It is a twisting movement, bring one knee towards the floor and twist away from it.  Repeat on the other side and complete a number of cycles.  This pose will help with elimination and it is the last one in this series.

Enjoy your practice!

 

Published by yogateachermary

Yoga teacher - specializing in teaching over 50's, seniors and the not so supple. Qualified 'Relax and Renew' teacher.

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