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5 Yoga poses to relieve bloating

Posted 5 years ago by Jo

Yoga is an ancient discipline believed to date back to as early as the 5th and 6th centuries. It combines physical, mental and spiritual practices using various asanas (body positions) and pranayamas (breathing techniques). There are many different forms of yoga, of which Hatha yoga is perhaps the most popular today.

Yoga carries significant benefits for physical health as well as mental and emotional wellbeing for calmness, clarity and strength of mind and body. Here we explore various poses that can be helpful to relieve bloating. Many people suffering with conditions such as Crohn's Disease and other chronic digestive problems experience relief from practicing a variety of poses such as these. As January is a perfect time to adopt new forms of exercise, I have selected 5 relatively basic poses that almost everyone can try, with great benefits.

1. WIND RELIEVING POSE or "Pavanamuktasana"  

As well as helping to strengthen abdominal muscles and easing the hip joints, this asana is very helpful for improving digestion and helping to release build-up of gas. It can be extremely effective so if you are suffering from bloating and gas it may be advisable to practice this pose in privacy!

Wind Relieving Pose

Wind Relieving Pose or "Pavanamuktasana"

Lie on your back with your feet together and with your arms down by your side. Breathe in and then as you slowly exhale, bring your right knee towards your chest and press your thigh into your abdomen. Breathe in again and as you exhale, lift your head and chest off the floor and touch your chin to your right knee. Hold the pose, taking slow deep breaths in and out. As you exhale, try to bring your knee closer to your chest and increase the pressure on your chest. Loosen the grip as your inhale. When you are ready to exit the pose, place your legs back on the ground and repeat with the left leg, and then with both legs together.

2. SEATED FORWARD BEND or "Paschimottanasana"

Stress is often a trigger for bloating, due to the effect it has on slowing down digestive transit.  The simple pose has a relaxing effect on the whole body, benefiting your digestion and helping to reduce bloating. It will also help to relieve wind.

Seated Forward Bend

Seated Forward Bend or "Paschimottanasana" 

Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Trying to keep your back straight, slowly bend forwards from the hips and lower your torso towards the floor. Aim to stay there for 5-10 deep slow breaths. Lower yourself as much as you can, bear in mind trying to keep your back straight and not over-stretching yourself. Breathing deeply will help you to intensify the stretch.

3. DOWNWARD FACING DOG or "Adho Mukha Savanasana"

This inverted pose provides a full body stretch and warm-up, helping to rejuvenate and energise the whole body and stimulating digestion. It also acts as a helpful stress relief pose.

Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog or "Adho Mukha Savanasana" 

Stand with your feet hip distance apart with your arms at your sides. Spread your toes and try to ensure your balance is evenly distributed between both feet. Keeping your back straight, bend forward at the waist and place your palms flat on the floor, with your fingers pointing forward and spread apart. If this position is too challenging, you bend your knees. Step each foot back until you are in the top part of  a push-up. Your hands should be beneath your shoulders with palms flat on the floor. Lift your hips toward the ceiling until your body makes an inverted "V." Press your chest toward your knees, look towards your toes and press your heels toward the floor. Breathe deeply and move deeper into the pose with each exhalation. Depending on your flexibility, you may be able to touch the floor with your heels.

4. UPWARD FACING DOG or "Urdhva Mukha Svanasana"

Stretching your stomach can provide benefits for digestion, as well as acting as an ideal opposing and balancing pose to Downward Facing Dog.

Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog or "Urdhva Mukha Svanasana"

Lie on your stomach, placing the tops of your feet on the floor. Position your hands beside your ribcage, spreading your fingers wide with your finger tips below the line of the chest. Press your weight into your hands, ensuring contact with the mat under the ball joints of your fingers. Squeeze your elbows by your side, and keeping your shoulders down, reach up through the top of your head. Pull your tummy in towards your spine. As you inhale, press into your palms and lift  your torso and hips off the mat so the tops of your feet, lower legs and palms remain in contact with the mat. Breathe in and out comfortably.

5. OPEN TRIANGLE POSE or "Trikonasana" 

The twisting action of this pose helps to massage the intestines, stimulating digestion and helping to relieve discomfort and bloating.

Open Triangle Pose

Open Triangle Pose or "Trikonasana"

Spread your legs to about 1 – 1.5 metre’s width. Don’t overstretch, make sure it’s still comfortable. Turn your left foot out to 90 degrees. Hold your arms up to shoulder height. Keep your hips facing forward. Push out your right hip, fold at your left hip, and push your body out to the left before slowly dropping your left hand - so your left hand reaches either your left shin, foot, or the floor in front of your left foot. Continue to spread your arms wide, raising your right arm, so it you’re stretching it directly upwards, mirroring your left arm. Look up to your right hand. Relax and hold for 30 seconds and don't forget to keep breathing! Look down to your left foot before straightening up before exiting the pose. Repeat on the other side.

Don't forget that digestive health problems like bloating are best solved holistically.  Read more about natural remedies for bloating here.

We hope these poses provide you with relief from bloating and abdominal discomfort. Please try not to feel frustrated if you are unable to practice the poses to the full initially, recognise your own limits and you will become more flexible as your practice develops.

If you suffer with any long term health conditions, back problems or are pregnant, it is advisable to consult your GP before starting to practice yoga.

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