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Yoga For Healthier Digestion

Yoga is a great tool for healthier digestion.

Being able to absorb and assimilate the nutrients and good stuff from our food is fundamental for our health.

Just take a moment to think about all of the unpleasant symptoms we can experience when our digestive system is not working well – indigestion, constipation, acid reflux, bloating and IBS are just a few.

A lot of us might reach for a  quick over-the-counter remedy and there is nothing wrong with that at all.

Yoga can offer a more natural and gentler way to relieve digestive ills.

It is not a magic pill (and I would always recommend getting things checked over with a qualified health professional)  but there are certain poses and practices which go a long way to help calm things down and I for one, turn to these before I go for the over-the-counter fix.

I am going to share with you a few of my favourite yoga poses for healthier digestion

But… before I get started (and because of my interest in seasonal health),  I want to share with you, the interesting fact, that this can be a time of year (i.e. late summer) when our digestive system can be more out of kilter than normal.

Why is this the case you may be wondering?

Well, it is all about nature’s influence on our bodies.  How we function and feel – inside and out – whether we like it or not – is directly affected by what is going on in nature.  We are, after all, part of nature’s living system.

Late summer is typically a time when things come to a lull.  Nature has reached its peak and we are getting ready for the cooler months to roll on in.  This stagnation can show up as digestive issues.

Our bodies just struggle to move things through at the rate it usually does (showing up as the symptoms described above).  Maybe you have noticed this in your own body – that you tend to get more digestive issues during the late summer than at any other time of year.

Late summer can also be an anxious time for us mentally.  Some of us (like me) might be grieving the loss of summer.  Sometimes, because September is often the time of the year for ‘new beginnings’ we may feel a little anxious or worried about what the future will bring.

When this happens it is usually our digestive system that gets affected. I don’t know about you but I certainly get an icky tummy for sure if I am at all worried or anxious about something  🤣🤣


So how can yoga help?

Yoga can support healthier digestion in two ways:

The first is the simple fact that the practice of yoga helps to soothe the mind and this is the first port of call I tend to take if my anxiety or stress levels are the cause of my digestive woes.

Effective digestion only happens when we are relaxed and at rest (we call this the parasympathetic nervous system mode).  Practising yoga helps us to get into this mode which promotes digestive health.

The second way is that there are many poses which help to support digestion in a more physical way.  Like I mentioned above, they are not a magic bullet, but if you are looking to try and reduce your reliance on over-the counter-remedies do give them a go.

So, without further ado, here are 5 of my favourite poses to support the digestive system.

Knees to Chest – wind relieving pose (Apanasana)

Knees to Chest is a gentle movement that massages the large intestine to promote bowel movements.

yoga for healthier digestion

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
  • Slowly bend your knees and bring them toward your chest, using your arms to pull them closer.
  • Hold this position for 4–5 deep breaths.

Simple Side Bending

This gentle stretch helps to alleviate bloating and gas. It supports general digestion by gently stretching the side body, belly, lower, upper back and shoulder area.

How to do it:

  • Sit on the floor in a cross-legged position, with your hands touching the floor at your sides.
  • Raise your left arm straight into the air, then gently lean to your right side.
  • Keep the left sit bone grounded and reach up through the fingers.
  • Slowly breathe in and out 4–5 times. Then, switch sides and repeat.

Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

Any twisting posture can help keep your tummy happier.  I have chosen my favourite seated and supine (lying down) twist for you to try.

Twists work well because they help to massage the small and large intestinal areas – helping to move things on a bit.  They can also soothe indigestion, tummy aches and bloating.

How to do it:

  • Sit on the floor, with both legs straight. Bend your left knee and cross it over your right knee or thigh, placing your left foot on the floor. Keep your left foot planted throughout the entire movement.
  • Then gently lean on your right hip and bend your right knee so that the sole of your right foot is facing inward toward your left buttock. If this is too difficult, you can keep your right leg straight.
  • Take your right elbow and place it on the outside of your left knee while you gently rotate your trunk to the left. Place your left palm on the floor to the left of your buttocks.
  • Turn your neck so it is slightly looking over your left shoulder.
  • Hold this position and breathe for 4–5 deep breaths. With each breath, notice your spine elongating. Then, switch sides and repeat.

Supine option:  try Belly Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)

How to do it:

  • Start by lying on your back, with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground, and arms stretched outward. Shift your hips about an inch (2.5 cm) to the right.
  • Lift your feet off the ground, keeping your knees and feet together.
  • Rotate your hips and bring your bent legs to the left. Keep your upper back flat on the ground. Allow gravity to lower your legs toward the ground.
  • Hold for 4–5 breaths.
  • Gently return your hips to a neutral position and bring your knees toward your chest with your hands. Then, slowly straighten your legs.


Cat-Cow (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)

Easy to do and pretty good for your gut as both poses together will gently stretch and squeeze the back and belly  – the perfect massage for that tummy area.

How to do it:

  • Start on your hands and knees with a neutral spine — that is, with a flat back and neck. Make sure your knees are aligned with your hips and your wrists are aligned with your shoulders.
  • Begin by entering Cow Pose. To do this, tilt your pelvis so that your tailbone goes up and your belly moves down. Be sure to engage your core.
  • Gently roll your shoulders back and raise your head by looking upward. Make sure to avoid overextending your neck.
  • From Cow, move into Cat Pose by curling the tailbone down and rounding the spine. Draw your belly button in and allow the crown of the head to relax down towards the floor.
  • Move through Cat/Cow for a few reps. You can also hold each pose for a few breaths rather than flowing in and out rhythmically with the breath. towards your spine, and roll your shoulders forward so that you’re arching your back.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

‘Against gravity’ backbends like Cobra are great yoga poses for digestive health as they provide a stretch for the front body.  On top of that, they add a warming tummy massage to the mix.


How to do it:

  • Start by lying on your stomach, with your feet hip-width apart and the palms of your hands flat on the floor by your lower ribs, elbows bent.
  • Extend your feet so that the tops of your feet are touching the ground.
  • Press into your hands and slowly bring your head and chest upward.
  • Make sure that the pelvis stays rooted to the floor. You can help this by ‘curling’ the butt cheeks (or tailbone) downwards at all times.  You should feel some length in the lower back and no pinching if you get this right.
  • Keep your elbows slightly bent as you slowly straighten your arms. Roll your shoulders back and down. Focus on lifting your sternum rather than raising your chin. Keep the chin parallel to the floor and draw the head back slightly so that it is in line with the rest of your spine.
  • Hold for 4–5 breaths.

Variation:  Another helpful backbend is Bow pose (Dhanurasana).  With this one, you have even more belly massage potential than cobra!

How to do it:

  • Lie on your stomach, with your legs straight behind you.
  • Bend your knees back and bring your feet as close to your buttocks as you can. Reach back and gently grab your ankles. Be sure to keep your knees no wider than your hips.
  • Pull your feet toward your body and slightly lift your thighs away from the floor. At the same time, lift your chest and head upward. Keep your pelvis flat on the floor.
  • Squeeze the inner legs together and curl the tailbone downwards to keep length in the lower back.
  • Hold for 4–5 breaths. The rhythm of your breath will massage the belly area.

Bonus Move Savasana (Yoga Relaxation or Corpse Pose). The perfect restful yoga pose for healthier digestion

Any pose which promotes you having a rest is going to assist digestion as it helps to stimulate the rest and repair state (parasympathetic nervous system

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back, with your legs straight and arms to the sides.
  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath to the count of four, hold for a count of four, and exhale for a count of four. To stay focused on the breath and not on intruding thoughts, notice your stomach or chest rise and fall with each breath.
  • Allow gravity to naturally relax your muscles.
  • Continue this for at least 5 minutes or as long as you want.

Yoga for  Healthier Digestion: Final Thoughts

I hope you can see how yoga is good for healthier digestion.

I just want to add here that giving your digestion a bit of love and TLC will stand you in good stead for better health in the Autumnal months.

A healthy digestive system means more absorption and less inflammation which in turn means less susceptibility to illness.

You can also read more about how to support your health in late summer with an earlier blog post I wrote.  You can access it here

Another important thing to reiterate is to do your best to manage your stress levels.

I hear you – it’s easier said than done, however, we live in a stressful, fast-paced world.

That is never going to change any time soon.  I find what helps me is to have a few tools, in the mindset toolbox, that I can turn to when stress hits.

For me, a combination of journaling and re-framing how I ‘talk’ to myself really helps.

When I start to focus on the negative inner talk I catch myself and challenge it.  Is this feeling actually the truth?  It certainly feels real but is it actually true?   Usually, by this point, I have realised that the thought is not true and that gives me the perfect window to ‘change the story – and make it more positive.

Anxiety and stress really upset digestion, so it is worth the time to work out what is going on in your life – what is working and what isn’t.

Can’t do it for yourself?  Get help.  Talk it through with someone or seek counselling if that feels like the right course for you.  The main point is – don’t stay stuck in a rut.  Get it sorted.  Your digestive system will thank you for it.

Other Things To Do Next

In addition to the above, why not give my chair yoga class a go:



Come and join me for a fun-filled afternoon of tummy love.  Learn how to beat bloat, tummy aches and a whole host of digestive woes with a smart yoga practice.

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