Did you know yoga is perfect for supporting and healing the gut, as many of the breathing and postural practices are directly aimed at the digestive tract?
Your yoga routine doesn’t need to be complex; a basic restorative yoga practice can improve your body’s ability to digest and detoxify, as well as improve your mood, motivation and energy levels. Certain yoga postures aim to massage your internal organs, and alternatively constrict and stimulate the flow of blood to specific areas of the body, maximising the absorption of nutrients and assisting the elimination process. Yoga can also help with symptoms such as bloating and constipation.
In her latest book, Supercharge Your Gut, Lee Holmes share the three key yoga poses that can help calm your belly.
UTTANASANA (STANDING FORWARD BEND)
- Start from a standing pose with your big toes touching, heels slightly apart, tailbone tucked under, and arms beside you with your palms
- Inhale and sweep your arms out to the sides, then up above your head.
- Exhale and gradually bend forward from your hips, lengthening your spine and lowering your upper body over your legs.
- Relax your upper body and bring your left hand to your right elbow, and your right hand to your left elbow. (If you feel any discomfort
behind your knees or in your hamstrings, feel free to bend your knees.)
- Hold for 10 breaths, then release slowly, rolling up your spine one vertebra at a time.
PARIPURNA NAVASANA (BOAT POSE)
- Start in a seated bend position, with your knees pulled up, thighs engaged, and toes pointed towards the ceiling.
- Keeping your feet together, slowly bring your legs straight up to a 45 degree angle while inhaling, without bending your knees.
- Without letting the spine collapse, lean back naturally as your legs are raised, so your body looks like a ‘V’.
- Stretch your arms out in front of you at shoulder level.
- Hold the pose for a count of 8, and then exhale, slowly releasing your arms and legs.
VIPARITA KARANI (LEGS UP THE WALL)
- Lie on the floor and walk your buttocks towards the wall. Extend your legs straight up the wall. If your hamstrings are tight, walk your hips about 15 cm (6 inches) away from the wall, or bend your knees slightly. Your arms can be out to your sides, palms face-up. Slowly and carefully tuck your chin into your chest, and extend the back of your neck on the floor. Soften your gaze and hold the pose for 2–10 minutes.
- To come out of the pose, slowly bend your knees and roll over onto your right side, curling up into a foetal position. Linger for a few breaths, then press up until seated.
With thanks to Lee Holmes, author of Supercharge Your Gut.