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The One Yoga Pose You Should Do After A Big Meal

Supported Paschimottanasana for Digestion
Image by Koldunov / iStock
November 25, 2020

The holidays are by far my favorite time of year—the food is reason enough to get excited. There’s something so inviting about a table set with various dishes and flavors, even though time spent with loved ones looks different this year.The only downside? I, like most people I know, tend to overdo it with my portions and often end up with a stomach ache after plate number three. (What can I say? I'm human.)

As a yogi, I turn to my mat to aid my body, especially during the holidays, when the desire to taste every flavor profile can easily overwhelm my digestive system. Not only does movement seem to help my digestion, but it also gets me back to feeling energized (and, of course, ready for dessert).

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If you too tend to splurge a bit too much during the holiday season, I highly recommend working some yoga into your after dinner plans. In particular, I suggest giving the below asana a try—it's my go-to pose after I eat any sort of large meal. Here's how to do a supported seated forward fold.

Supported Seated Forward Fold

Ava Johanna - Forward Fold
Image by Ava Johanna

It's long been known that forward folds support circulation through the abdominal organs, and can even stimulate our digestion and metabolism. After a big meal, taking a bolster (aka a long, cylindrical pillow) to rest your stomach on supports your breath, and gently compresses and massages your abdominal organs.

How to:

  • Grab a bolster or roll up a towel and pillow to place on top of your thighs.
  • Note: The firmer the pillow the better to support in the gentle stomach massage.
  • Extend your legs straight and flex your toes back toward the face.
  • Fold your torso over the pillow or bolster and begin taking deep breaths into the belly and lower abdomen.
  • Hold here for as many breaths as you need to experience relief.
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There you have it—simple, but effective movement that can make all the difference in how you feel post-meal. Happy holidays (and even happier digestion) to you all!

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Ava Johanna
Ava Johanna
Registered Yoga Teacher

Ava Johanna is an internationally recognized and certified meditation and yoga instructor (E-RYT), breath work facilitator, and transformational mentor based in San Diego. Her mission is to bridge the gap for anyone craving more love, health, and happiness in their lives.

After suffering from severe corporate burnout, Johanna turned to yoga and holistic healing to redirect her life, and found these powerful ancient practices to be the ultimate rejuvenation of spirit. With great devotion to her personal healing, her mission is to share these modalities and can be found teaching yoga, meditation, and breath work around the globe, as well as provoking conscious conversations on her podcast, The Alchemized Life. The Alchemized Life Podcast features top thought leaders in the wellness industry and lessons to inspire listeners to blossom into who they were always meant to become.

Johanna has her bachelor's in integrated marketing communications from National University.