Even we yogis can’t resist going a little overboard on delicious grub. Yoga poses restrict, then flush blood and oxygen through your inner organs, stimulating your stomach, intestines, gall bladder and liver into digestive action.
Try these moves after a big meal that has you feeling like a stuffed baked potato with the works! With the exception of #1 below, wait at least an hour after eating! Don’t try these on a full stomach.
1. Walk It Off: After eating, try a 20 minute walk. No, this is NOT an exotic yoga move, but it’s simply one of the most perfect and simple ways to begin the digestive process.
2. Garland Pose: Stand with feet slightly wider than hip width apart, toes turned out. Place the hands palms together at the center of your chest with elbows straight out the sides. Bend the knees and gently come down to a squatting position, using your elbows to help keep the knees wide. Feet should be flat on the floor; if your ankles are stiff, place a rolled up towel or yoga blanket under your heels to lift them slightly off the floor and reduce the strain on your ankles. Hold this position for 1 minute, breathing deeply in and out through the nose. Slowly straighten the knees back up to standing.
3. Standing Forward Fold: Stand with feet hip width apart, inhale and reach your arms overhead towards the ceiling. Exhale and slowly bend forward with a flat back, focusing on drawing in the abdominals to support your lower back as your pour your upper body over your waist into a forward bend. A slight bend in the knees will take strain off your lower back, and touching your toes isn’t the goal. Try folding your arms and gently grasping opposite elbows with your hands, letting the gravity of your upper body gently draw you deeper into the fold. Breathe deeply for 30 seconds in the fold, then rooting through the feet, inhale and slowly straighten up to standing, reaching the arms overhead. Exhale and release the arms.
4. Leg Seated Twist: Sit on your mat with a long, straight spine, legs together and straight out in front of you, feet flexed. Bend your right knee and place your right foot flat on the floor. Slide it back until you get your right heel as close to you as possible. Place your right palm flat on the floor behind you. Inhale and reach your left arm up to the ceiling. Exhale, and begin your twist from the lower spine first, upper spine following. Place the outside of your left elbow on the outside of the right knee and remaining for 30 seconds, breathing deeply. Exhale and untwist. Remember to sit tall in the twist, keeping length in the spine, and be gentle with your neck: the head can turn a lot more than your chest, but it doesn’t need to in this pose.
5. Happy Baby Pose: Lie on your back, hugging your knees in to your chest with your arms. Take the knees wide apart and reach your hands between them to grasp the soles of your feet. Your feet should be flexed with soles facing the ceiling. Gently pull downward on the soles of the feet with your hands, encouraging your bent knees a little closer to the floor on either side of your hips. Gently rock from side to side to massage the lower back and ease bloating.