Postures for Digestion
Malasana: this is by far one of my personal favorites for digestion because it really makes the most sense. This posture is also probably the most widely of these used by non-yogis. In fact, some toilets outside the U.S. are built so that you are practically forced to do this posture while using the bathroom. This posture works so well because it creates a kind of streamline effect for the digestive organs, bringing everything into alignment allowing for better waste elimination.
The pose: take your feet and plant them a little bit wider than hips distance apart, take your toes out a little wider than your heels, and squat down. Simple as that! If you have tight hips this is going to be a challenge and you may want to take some sort of support underneath your seat. If you’re feeling fancy you can bring the hands into prayer and press into the knees to open them up a little more. Wherever you are feel the crown of the head press up into the sky to keep the integrity in the spine.
Maricyasana Variations (pictured above): I love this pose because it almost feels like a little massage on my belly and I’m sure you can see why. This pose quite literally gives your internal digestive organs a massage and “shakes off” the lining of the intestines allowing built up waste to pass through. You can’t go wrong with this one for long term benefits to your digestive tract.
The pose: come into just about any seated position you fancy, I’ve provided 3 variations here: *for the purpose of this blog I’ll explain one side
1. a traditional cross-legged seated pose,
2. draw the left heel towards the right sit bone bringing the left knee in line with the tail bone and take the right leg and cross the right ankle over the left knee drawing the right knee up toward the sky (pictured above),
3. extend the left leg out long and draw the right knee in so that the right heel is in line with the right sit bone.
Whatever you choose make sure both sit bones stay planted and lift the arms over head planting the right hand along the spine and reaching the left arm over head hooking the left elbow on the right knee, or the left hand on right thigh if you are in a standard seat, and twist from the midline. Then, take the other side.
Legs up the Wall: this is a wonderful posture for digestion because it increases blood flow and fluid circulation in the intestines stimulating digestion
The pose: find a wall, scoot your butt up next to the wall, and let your legs extend up the wall. If this feels uncomfortable for any reason start propping yourself up, you can take a block, a pillow, or a blanket under the hips and any of these props along the body or under the head for a little extra support.
Wind Removing Pose: Do I need to say more?
The pose: lay on your back and hug your knees into your chest, so easy right? The perfect way to end a practice and that’s why I’ve put it last. Try it and in no time you’ll see how it got it’s name.
Pranayama (Breath Work) for Digestion
Kapalbhati: this breath is amazing for the digestive tract because it (like some of the poses) gives it a little massage and “shakes off” the gunk trapped on the walls of the intestines.
The breath: sit in a comfortable position with a strong spine, inhale passively and exhale forcefully drawing the belly button back towards the spine. Do this breath about 10 times and stop if you begin to feel light headed