The last thing you may want to do when you’re feeling uncomfortable digesting is movement, but gentle movement such as yin yoga or even walking helps to stimulate the digestive system, can aid in relieving bloating and cramps, and even passing gas (which is sometimes necessary to feel better). Whether you’re full from a big meal, perhaps are struggling with digestion during your period, or are looking for some bedtime yoga for digestion to help you to sleep, try out some of the poses or the entire sequence with me below and begin to feel better in as little as a few deep breaths.
Yin Yoga Sequence for Digestion
Practice with me or take pieces from this yin yoga sequence below when you’re short on time. Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more yin yoga and vinyasa classes with me!
Yin Yoga Poses for Digestion
Practice one of a few of these yoga poses for digestion after a meal or when your stomach isn’t feeling too hot!
Wide-Legged Child’s Pose & Child’s Pose with a Twist
Wide-legged child’s pose is a great pose when digesting as it gives your belly lots of room to expand. Adding a twist will help to massage your stomach, internal organs, and your spine.
Begin sitting back on your heels. Guide your knees to about mat width distance apart and walk your hands forward until your head and/or upper body come to rest on the mat. You have the option to keep your arms extended long, as done more traditionally, or to have your hands flat (or even in fists) to place your head. This is a gentle variation that could put you more at ease. Hold for 15-20 breaths.
To add the twist, extended your arms if they aren’t already. Gently push into your hands to lift your upper body off of the mat and thread your right arm under your left armpit so that your outer right shoulder and arm is on the mat, right palm faces up. Hold for 15-20 breaths and then repeat with the left arm threaded under the right.
Additional variations: Place a rolled blanket or towel between your thighs and calves to sit back onto if you have tight hamstrings or it feels uncomfortable with your glutes not touching your heels. A block can also be used under your head so that your arms can come long by your sides.
Half frog is a very relaxing and less intense variation of frog pose that offers more support as you open your hips and is quite grounding as your whole body is on the ground.
Begin laying on your stomach with your hands stacked and your forehead placed on the top of your hands like a pillow. Keep your left leg long as you bend your right knee to guide it to a 90-degree angle. Your right knee will land directly out from your right hip, your ankle directly in line with your knee, towards the bottom of your mat. Allow your right hip to feel heavy as you melt into the mat. Hold for 20-25 breaths and then move into twisted root, described next.
Additional variations: Place a folded blanket under your knee for extra padding and comfort.
Twists are said to aid in digestion because they massage your internal organs, especially around your abdominal muscles to help them relax.
From half frog with your right leg out, gently push your upper body up enough so that you can thread your left arm under your chest. Roll onto your back, keeping your right leg where it is (it may lift off the ground which is totally normal), and extend your right arm out long so that your arms are in a T shape. Allow both of your shoulders to touch the mat as your chest opens. Move your knee closer or further away from your chest to whatever position feels comfortable. Hold for 20-25 breaths before moving back onto your stomach. Extend your right leg and then repeat half frog and twisted root with your left leg bent.
Additional variations: Place a block under your knee if there is space between your knee and the mat. If twisted root feels like too much for your body today, bring your other knee under your already bent knee and move your knees closer to or further away from your chest for what is most comfortable. A block may also be placed between your knees, or under the bottom knee.
Perhaps the most famous yoga pose for digestion, wind-relieving pose can assist in, well, exactly what the name suggests! Bringing your knee into your chest not only massages your organs but helps to pass gas, ease bloating, and increases blood circulation in the hips.
Begin laying on your back with both of your legs long. Interlace your fingers and hug your right knee into your chest. Gently rock your knee from side to side for a massage and to find where it feels best for your knee and thigh to sit as you digest. Once you found a comfortable spot, find stillness and hold for 15-25 breaths. Repeat with your left leg.
Like the other yin yoga poses in this sequence, happy baby also massages the stomach and stimulates digestion.
Being on your back and hug your knees to your sides, on either side of your stomach. Allow the soles of your feet to shine to the sky with your knees still bent. Reach your arms inside your legs and then reach around to the outside edges of your feet. Allow the weight of your arms to guide your knees closer to the mat. Your knees may also open further to either side. Hold for 20-25 breaths.
Additional variation: For less intensity and a more grounding variation of child’s pose, keep one foot planted on the ground, knee bent, and reach for one leg with the same arm.
A yoga class of any kind isn’t complete without some type of relaxation pose at the end! Take your choice of what works for your body while you’re digesting. Perhaps it’s savasana, a variation, or maybe it’s crocodile or meditation pose.
Savasana variation: Keep your upper body the same as a traditional savasana but plant your feet on the mat and walk them out to the edges of your mat, then allow your knees to knock in towards each other.
Crocodile: Flip over onto your stomach and allow your whole body to relax into the mat, just like savasana but on your stomach and with your hands stacked, your forehead resting on them like a pillow. Your legs can be as close or far apart as feels good.
Meditation pose: Come to sit on your mat and cross your legs, that’s it! Sit with a straight spine and add a block or a blanket under your sit bones for added comfort and some height to tilt your hips forward which can feel lovely.