Feeling stuffed from all that stuffing? Before you pop that antacid or curl up in a ball in bed, try this short video to relieve symptoms of over-eating such as bloating, gas and heartburn. It may sound like a crazy suggestion to bust out some yoga poses when you are feeling so icky so start in a comfortable reclined position to relax and connect with your breathing. This quick sequence is designed for all levels of practice so feel free to gather all your friends and family into the living room for some after Thanksgiving yoga!
Yoga helps to promote healthy digestion in several ways.
Deep belly breathing
Digestion is optimized when we are relaxed. Our autonomic nervous system governs the physiological systems of our bodies such as digestion, reproduction and immunity. Lying on our backs in a comfortable position and allowing the breath to become deeper and smoother activates our parasympathetic nervous system. Blood flow is directed toward our organs and their function is improved. In other words, if you chill yourself out your tummy will feel a whole lot better a whole lot quicker.
Apply gentle pressure to the abdomen
It may seem counter-intuitive to compress the abdominal area when you are feeling full but practicing a few gentle twisting postures and bringing the knees to the chest will help to move food and air through the digestion system with more ease by stimulating the ascending and descending colon. Our intestines can get sluggish when we over-eat so a gentle “wringing-out” action in the abdomen can activate our GI system and aid elimination.
Stretch the abdomen
After deepening the breath and gently compressing the area, it will feel good to stretch the belly. This can help to relieve cramping as well as re-energize the body. It will also help to bring much needed blood flow to the abdominal organs to promote healthy digestion.
All yoga sequences usually end with final relaxation in Savasana, or Corpse pose. Not only will this help to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and keep us in a calm state, but Savasana helps to stimulate the transverse colon and help move everything along. Take these few extra minutes to relax so that all of the benefits of your yoga practice can settle in. You will be left feeling lighter, more energetic and far more comfortable both in body and mind.