Disclaimer: Although yoga poses are generally safe, certain poses may be contraindicated in some conditions such as back injury or pregnancy. Always first discuss changes in activity with your healthcare provider.
Yoga is a great practice for physical and emotional wellness. It also doesn’t take much to get started! You simply need a calm environment, a supportive surface you can comfortably lie on (like a yoga mat or a rug), and an open mind. We’ve partnered with yogini Lauren Loy to bring you a gentle yoga sequence, perfect for those days where you want to “get things moving” but aren’t finding the motivation. This sequence is intended for stimulating your internal organs including your intestines and colon. Besides being supportive for a happy belly, these simple poses are great for promoting relaxation and stress relief -- and who couldn’t use some more of that lately?
Before beginning, it’s important to take a few minutes to focus your mind on your breathing. Start by simply taking a few deep breaths; in through your nose and out through your mouth. A good place to start would be in a comfortable, seated position on your mat. After 5-10 long breaths, move onto your back to begin the postures. We’ve provided some instructions below for how long you should hold each pose using your breath as a guide, but recommend holding each of these for as much time as feels good for you, whether that’s just a few seconds or a few minutes. Whatever time you can devote, your body will thank you.
Ardha Pawamuktasana (Half-Wind Removing Pose): Hug your right knee into the chest and extend the left leg along the mat. Flex both feet. This pose compresses the ascending (right) colon and descending (left) colon. Repeat this step on both sides.
Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist): From the position above, use your left hand on your right knee to find a twist, lowering your right knee down to the left and look over your right shoulder. You may need to shift your hips to the right. Relax and take 3 deep breaths. Inhale into your lower belly and exhale while pulling your belly button into your spine. Repeat on both sides.
- Either roll your mat, a thin towel, or blanket up. Place it horizontal and then lay face down on your belly with the roll compressing the very top of your belly, your transverse colon, which is located about 4 inches below the base of your sternum. Take 20 breaths. You may feel a pulsing as if you can feel your heart beating in the compressed area and that’s totally normal and welcomed! When you’re finished, roll over to your back.
- Pavanamuktasana (Wind-Relieving Pose): While still on your back, hug both knees into your chest. This pose massages your organs and may improve digestion and elimination.
- Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose):From the position above, lower your left leg with your foot placed on the ground. Bring your right foot to your left knee. Repeat on both sides.
- Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose): From the position above, place both legs back on the ground and roll over. Bring your right leg forward and extend your left leg backward. Cross your right foot slightly in front of you and rest your right leg down into a fold. Hold this pose and repeat on your left side.
- Parivrtta Anjaneyasana (Revolved Crescent Lunge): Rise from the position above and step your right foot to the back of the mat and frame your hands around your left foot. Your left knee should be above your left ankle. Lift your left hand up to the sky and look up at your thumb. Take 3 deep breaths in this twist, compressing your internal organs. Repeat on both sides.
This sequence can be done as a daily as a gentle start to your day or a way to unwind in the evening to prepare yourself for bed. Afterwards, I love to relax with a cup of low FODMAP herbal tea like peppermint, which is also wonderfully supportive of a happy belly.