Yoga for Digestion: 8 Poses for a Flatter Belly. Download your FREE guide to learn how to move your body in a way that will release and resolve chronic digestive issues like constipation, bloating, gas, and acid reflux
1) The Plank Pose
Plank pose is an all-over body toner that strengthens your arms, core and legs. It also works your inner thighs and lower back. Another perk is it can help you flatten your belly if you do it regularly. But don’t just perform plank pose on its own—because it’s an inversion (meaning you’re standing on your hands), it increases blood flow to your head and brain, which may be stimulating enough to keep you awake if you have a tendency to nod off after dinner. So save plank pose for morning or afternoon practice when you need more focus or just feel like some extra detoxification. If you want to try out plank pose at home, start with these three tips from yoga instructor Rachel Maloney of Exhale Yoga & Wellness Center in New York City. She recommends doing it on a soft surface such as carpeting or a yoga mat. If using carpeting, place two folded blankets underneath your shoulders so they are higher than your hips. If using a mat, place two folded blankets underneath your hips so they are higher than your shoulders.
2) Butterfly Pose
This pose is all about giving your digestive system a much-needed stretch, so it’s ideal for those who have constipation issues. Start on your hands and knees with your arms underneath you and your knees bent. Then raise your upper body until it’s in line with your thighs, pressing your torso forward as you raise up. Your lower legs should be parallel to one another with each foot touching lightly, keeping them hip-width apart to balance out your pelvis. Hold the pose anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 minute while breathing deeply through your nose and maintaining length in both sides of your waistline to maximize activation of abdominal muscles. Hold onto yoga blocks or anything that’ll keep you balanced and steady throughout each inhale and exhale! ( Source )
3) Bow Pose
Bow pose provides relief to many digestive issues because it stretches out and gently massages your abdominal organs. It also improves blood circulation throughout your body, which boosts energy levels. One of bow pose’s benefits is that it relieves flatulence and abdominal discomfort while improving digestion. Also called Uttanasana, bow pose may be familiar to you as adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog). The difference between them is slight but significant: In downward-facing dog, your thighs should parallel the floor, but in bow pose they should be slightly elevated from parallel—around 10 degrees above parallel—to maintain stability in both your hips and spine.
4) The Supine Twist
The supine twist is one of my favorite postures because it’s easy to do anywhere and it feels great. To do a supine twist, simply lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then cross your right leg over your left leg, resting it on top of your thigh. If you have tight hamstrings or can’t comfortably cross one leg over another, try placing a yoga block between them so they rest against each other instead. Next, take your hands behind you and interlace your fingers together; then extend them straight up toward the ceiling as you rotate toward to right side of your body until you feel a stretch in that side of your waist. Hold for 15 seconds; then repeat on opposite side.
5) Seated Forward Bend
This pose stretches your abdominal muscles and opens up your chest, making it great for overall digestion. It’s also good at helping to relieve gas, bloating and cramps in your belly. To perform seated forward bend, sit on a blanket or pillow with both legs extended straight out in front of you. Rest your hands on top of your knees with palms facing downward or place them behind you on either side of you on the floor with palms facing upward.
6) Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
Sarvangasana works to detoxify and strengthen your entire digestive system. It’s also an effective pose for flat, toned abs. If you have chronic acid reflux, try doing Sarvangasana while lying on a thick blanket or wedge to help alleviate heartburn and bloating caused by pressure from your abdominal organs pressing on your diaphragm. Once in shoulder stand, straighten your legs toward your head and wrap them around your neck if you can (or simply hold them if you can’t yet do that). Extend through both arms—but don’t pull them away from their sides—and gaze at an open space above you to prevent neck pain. Stay in shoulder stand for three to five minutes.
7) Cat/Cow Stretch
This pose is usually done at the beginning of a flow, or series of poses. It gently loosens up your spine and gets you moving in your practice. Cat/Cow begins on all fours, with hands beneath shoulders and knees below hips. On an inhale, arch your back like a cat, letting head drop down towards mat. On an exhale, round spine and drop head to floor while drawing belly button towards spine. Continue moving back and forth between these two poses as long as it feels comfortable to do so; five to 10 rounds is common in class settings. Start practicing alone by doing three rounds before moving into your next pose in class flow.
8) Viparita Karani Variation 1
Viparita Karani, or Legs-up-the-Wall Pose, is simple but incredibly powerful. Start by lying on your back, then lift your legs up until they’re against a wall. Your lower back should stay in contact with floor while you extend your legs straight out into tabletop position. You can fold your hands together and place them under your belly as you relax completely and take deep breaths. Since Viparita Karani is so relaxing, it’s not uncommon to feel lightheaded—so don’t be surprised if you start yawning!