I'm A Gastroenterologist & This Is My 5-Minute Yoga Routine For Better Digestion
When your digestion is not moving along on schedule, it can be more than annoying. However, there are some things you can do to help ease this gastrointestinal sluggishness and get things moving—including some targeted yoga poses.
Massaging and twisting our abdomens can not only feel very relaxing but also helps support digestion and encourage elimination, says gastroenterologist and mbg Collective member Marvin Singh, M.D. Here, he shares a quick and simple, five-minute forward-bend series to help with digestive health.
Forward bend series for digestion:
- Staff pose, dandasana: Sit on your mat with legs together, extended out in front of you. Sit up straight so your torso is perpendicular to the floor, sending your energy upward. Flex the feet up, driving the heels forward.
- Head-to-knee pose, janu sirsasana: From staff pose, bend your right knee and touch the sole of your right foot to your left inner thigh, like a half cross-legged seat. Inhale your arms up, rotate slightly to the left, and forward fold over your left leg with a long, straight spine, hinging from the hip. Hold for a minute, return to staff pose, and switch sides.
- Seated forward bend, paschimottanasana: From staff pose, inhale the arms up, and with a straight spine, fold over the legs, hinging at the hips once more. Grab the outside edges of your feet if possible, but focus on bending forward as much as you can with a stable spine. Hold for 1 minute.
- Relaxation pose, savasana: Roll down onto your back, bringing your heels together and toes apart. Palms lie faceup next to you. Breathe here.
- Knee-to-chest pose, apanasana: With your chin slightly tucked, exhale as you slowly pull your knees in toward the chest with your hands. If you have the reach, wrap your forearms around your legs, grabbing opposite elbows. Relax the back and shoulder blades flat to the mat. Hold for 1 minute, then return to relaxation pose.
- Supine twist, jathara parivartanasana: From relaxation pose, bend your knees up with the soles of your feet on the floor. Bring your knees toward your chest, open up your arms in a T-shape, and lower the knees to the right. Keep your shoulders flat on the ground and look to the left. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Finish with a return to savasana, and stay as long as you like.
Tips and modifications:
If your hamstrings are tight, using a strap can help in poses like head-to-knee and seated forward bend. Wrap it around your foot and pull lightly if you can't reach your feet with your hands.
In the supine twist, you can help your legs fully relax by placing a block or folded blanket under your knees.
What are the benefits?
According to Singh, this quick flow was specifically designed for digestive health.
On top of being great for your gut, all of these poses help support a strong and flexible spine. And because this isn't a particularly energizing sequence, you can do it before bed to help you unwind.
So the next time you're looking to ease bloat, try taking a few minutes for this simple sequence—your gut will thank you!
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.