Even though yoga was created 5000 years ago, the number of people practicing it has only increased over the centuries, and the main reason behind this is its wide range of benefits. One such benefit of yoga is that it aids in digestion.
In Ayurveda, our digestive system is referred to as our Agni.
A strong Agni is essential for health, happiness, better digestion, vitality, etc. And according to Ayurveda, yoga asanas can stimulate digestive fire or Agni. This can improve digestion, relieve constipation, and balance metabolism.
There are various yoga poses that can massage your digestive organs. This improves blood flow, oxygen delivery, aids the process of peristalsis, and encourages healthy bowel movements.
Without further delay, here are 11 yoga asanas to improve digestion & relieve constipation:
1. Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)
To perform Vajrasana, kneel down on a yoga mat (Avoid performing this pose on a hard floor). As you kneel, pull your knees and ankles together. Make sure that the tops of your feet are laid out flat on the floor, and the bottom is facing upward.
Slowly, try to sit back on your legs. Instead of balancing yourself on the knees, try to rest your weight on your legs. Moreover, avoid sitting on your heels. In a way, you have to sit between your heels.
Once you find a comfortable spot, place your hands on your thighs. Finally, straighten your spine. Try to hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
2. Apanasana (Knees to Chest Pose)
To perform Apanasana, lie on your back with your legs extended out in front of you and your arms alongside your body. On an inhale, lift the feet off the floor and draw the knees towards your body. On an exhale, hug the knees into the chest as you clasp your hands around them.
Tuck the chin slightly to lengthen the neck. On an inhalation, revert to the original position.
3. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)
To perform Ardha Matsyendrasana, Sit up with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Make sure your feet are together and your spine is straight.
Bend your left leg and place the heel of the left foot next to the right hip. Now, Place the right foot next to the left knee by taking it over the knee.
Twist your waist, neck, and shoulder towards the right and set your gaze over your right shoulder while keeping your spine erect. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then revert to the original position. Repeat the same steps on the other side.
4. Malasana (The Squat)
To perform Malasana, just squat with your feet as close together as possible, then separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso. Now, press your elbows against your inner knees, bringing your palms together in Anjali Mudra. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
5. Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)
To perform Uttana Shishosana, kneel down on a yoga mat (on all fours) with your hip directly over your knees and shoulders over your wrists. Make sure the tops of your feet are laid out flat on the floor with toes pointing straight back.
On an exhalation, begin to walk your hands out in front of you as your chest slowly moves toward the floor. Allow your hips to lift high up toward the ceiling, opening up the chest and bending the back. Hold this pose for 10-30 seconds then revert to starting position.
6. Phalakasana (The Plank Pose)
To perform Phalakasana, kneel down on a yoga mat (on all fours) with your shoulders over your wrists. Now, move your feet back and straighten your legs. Balance yourself on your hands and toes as you lift the top of the thighs to the ceiling. Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
7. Ardha Pawamuktasana (Half Gas Release Pose)
To perform Ardha Pawamuktasana, Lie down on your back. While keeping your right leg stretched, lift and bend your left leg as you place the thigh on the left side of your chest.
Press your left thigh on your abdomen with clasped hands (Make sure your right leg is straight). Hold this position for 30 seconds, then revert to the starting position.
8. Pawanmuktasana (Gas Release Pose)
To perform Pawanmuktasana, Lie down on your back with your arms beside your body. On exhalation, bring your knees toward your chest and press your things on your abdomen with clasped hands.
Now, raise your head off the floor and try to tuck the chin slightly to lengthen the neck. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
9. Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)
To perform Supta Matsyendrasana, lie down on your back. First, bend the right knee and place the right foot on the left knee. Now drop the right knee over the left side of your body by twisting the spine and low back.
Bring your arms out to the sides with the palms facing down in a T position. Keep your shoulders flat, close your eyes and let gravity pull the knee down. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
10. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
This is the simplest pose on this list. To perform Savasana, lie down on your back with your legs straight and arms relaxed by your side. Let your feet fall to a natural position and rest your palms facing up. Stay in this pose as long as you want.
11. Uddiyana Bandha
To perform Uddiyana Bandha, sit down in sukhasana, cross-legged seated position with your palms facing down on top of the knees. Now exhale completely. Contract your abdominal muscles fully to push as much air as possible out of your lungs.
Try to suck the abdominal muscles to hollow the belly. Hold this pose for 10-15 seconds.
The benefits of the poses mentioned above are not just linked to digestion. These poses will also improve your overall flexibility, reduce stress and anxiety, burn calories, improve cardiovascular fitness, and more. You can add these yoga poses to your daily yoga routine.
My daily yoga routine: I perform pranayama, then Uddiyana Bandha asana along with a few more asanas for digestive health, then I perform Surya namaskar and Wim hof method. I know Wim hof method is not a yoga asana. But I like to perform it after yoga.
This simple 6-minute routine has helped me in keeping my digestive health in check, improve my flexibility, reduce my back pain, stress, and more.
If you are a beginner, start by creating a personal yoga routine. All you have to do is list out the problems you are facing and check whether yoga has a solution for them. If it does, add the solutions to your yoga routine and perform it consistently.
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