| OWL Venice

5 Yoga Poses for Digestive Health

Did you know that your digestive health is impacted by so much more than what you eat? How you eat, when you eat and the way you move your body all impact our digestive system. As a yoga teacher and holistic health coach I often look to yoga asanas (postures) as one of the tools I can use to improve digestive health. As a whole, yoga increases circulation to the digestive organs as well as decreases stress, both of which play a big role in digestive health! There are also poses that have specific actions on the digestive organs. Here’s my 5 favorite yoga poses for digestive health:


OWL Venice 5 Yoga Poses for Digestion

Pawanmuktanasana (Wind Relieving Pose)

HOW TO PRACTICE

Lay on your back, hug both knees into your chest. Wrap your arms around your legs holding onto your fingers, wrists or elbows (depending on flexibility). Let your low back, shoulders and head sink into the ground. Lay here for 5-10 breaths thinking about pressing your thighs into your stomach as you exhale.


WHY WE PRACTICE

This pose gently massages your digestive organs with the pressure of your thighs against the stomach. This position will also help release gas stuck in your digestive organs, great for when you feel cramping or bloating.


OWL Venice 5 Yoga Poses for Digestion

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose / Half Seated Spinal Twist)

HOW TO PRACTICE

To begin with the right side, begin in a seated cross legged position. Step the right leg over the left and stamp the right foot onto the ground directly outside the left knee. Bring the right fingertips to the ground behind your lower back. Root down through both sit bones and lengthen up through the crown of the head. Bring your left elbow across the body and hook it over the right knee. As you inhale, sit up taller. As you exhale, twist your spine to the right looking over your right shoulder. Continue for 5-10 breaths then switch sides.


WHY WE PRACTICE

This twist massages the digestive organs through the gentle pressure of the twist. This one also specifically benefits the health of the liver and pancreas, both vital for digestive function. The gentle twisting action of this pose can also help stimulate peristalsis (contraction in the walls of the GIT) which is crucial for regular bowel movements and to alleviate constipation.


OWL Venice 5 Yoga Poses for Digestion

Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

HOW TO PRACTICE

Come to a kneeling position on the ground. Then lift your hips up so they stack right over the knees and tuck all 10 toes (hello, bottom of the feet!). Bring your hands to your lower back and gently lengthen your tailbone towards the earth. As you inhale, lengthen your spine up towards your ceiling and on the exhale gently begin to lean back towards your feet. The hands can stay at your lower back or drop to your feet, depending on the flexibility in your spine. As you breathe in the backbend, stay mindful that the pelvis stays above the knees. Practice for 3-5 breaths, then gently lift back up to the starting position and sit your hips onto your heels.


WHY WE PRACTICE

This backbend opens the whole front body improving blood flow into the digestive organs. Proper blood flow is crucial to our digestive health as it’s what allows our body to break down the foods that we eat, assimilate the nutrients and eliminate the rest. When we sit all day our intestines are collapsed making it harder for digested food to move through. This pose helps to un-do some of the digestive damage done throughout our days.


OWL Venice 5 Yoga Poses for Digestion

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

HOW TO PRACTICE

Lie flat on your stomach, hands alongside the body and forehead on the earth. Bend your knees and draw your heels as close to your glutes as you’re able. Reach your hands back for your ankles. Inhale deeply then as you exhale press your hands into your feet and allow your shoulders and chest to lift up off the ground. Gently press your pelvic bones into the earth as you lift your shoulders and feet to the air. Breathe deeply for 3-5 breaths.


WHY WE PRACTICE

Similar to Ustrasana, this pose lengthens and stretches the abdominal organs which creates more space for food to digest and blood to flow. The gentle pressure on the abdominal wall that this pose creates will gently increase circulation to the area when you exit the pose. This is also a great pose to practice if you’re experiencing constipation because the pressure to the abdominal wall can stimulate peristalsis.


OWL Venice 5 Yoga Poses for Digestion

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

HOW TO PRACTICE

This one’s easy! Lie flat on your back, bring your arms alongside your body, palms face up. Extend your legs long on the mat and then allow your toes to drop to either side. As much as you can, release any tension you’re holding onto in your physical body in this pose. For optimal results, stay in this pose for 5-10 minutes.


WHY WE PRACTICE

This pose is the ultimate stress reliever. When we’re stressed our body tenses up and our breath shallows. This impacts the functioning of our organs as well as our blood flow. The more we’re able to dial down our stress our whole body the more our bodily functions (ahem, digestion) can flow as it’s meant to.


OWL Health Coach Lillian Jacobs

Lillian Jacobs

Lillian is a holistic health coach through The Institute of Integrative Nutrition and an Ayurvedic Health Coach through The Joyful Belly School of Ayurveda. Lillian’s passion for holistic health and wellness started at a very young age. She was diagnosed with a mysteriously long list of food allergies as a young kid. As a result of the restrictive diet she grew up in a household where we made our own food coloring with beets, ate 'kraut and introduced many other healing practices into her life. She was able to heal from her gut issues completely and the food allergies went away! The seed was planted for a career in health and wellness.

Fast forward a few years (2011 to be exact) and Lillian was introduced to Ayurveda during a yoga teacher training. She started incorporating Ayurvedic principles into her diet and then completed first 10 day kitchari cleanse. Suffice to say, she was hooked.

As she continued into her adult life, Lillian continued to learn over and over again that food is truly medicine. She continues to look to holistic healing practices to not only heal but to thrive in day to day life! Lillian is a firm believer that the body wants to thrive and be healthy. Every body is unique and has different health needs. As a health coach she aims to help individuals connect with their own bodies and find their unique healing path.


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