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Yoga exercises can help with digestion, bloating

If you’re looking for a better digestion boost, you can incorporate the following yoga poses into your afternoon to help get things moving and reduce gas and bloating.

If you feel bloated or full after lunch at work, and you’re stuck at your desk, you may think the only thing you can do is sit it out and wait until your stomach settles down.

Or, maybe you pop an over-the-counter pill to help aid in digestion, or take digestive enzymes. Regardless, if you’re looking for a better digestion boost, you can incorporate the following yoga poses into your afternoon to help get things moving and reduce gas and bloating.

These poses can be done after every meal, and focus on holding them each for 5 breaths. You’ll breathe in and out through your nose to help calm and soothe the body.

Seated Twist

Stephanie Mansour in the final position of a twisting chair pose, part of her yoga detox workout.
Stephanie Mansour in the final position of a twisting chair pose, part of her yoga detox workout.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Twists help improve digestion because they compress and then release the digestive track and the intestines.

Sometimes the digestive system can become stagnant, so bringing fresh blood into this area of the body will help with digestion.

To perform a seated twist, start by sitting up nice and tall at your desk, relax your shoulders and pull your naval in toward your spine. Then, slowly rotate to the right and hold this position for 5 breaths. Then switch to the left.

Single Knee Hug

Stephanie Mansour in final position of a single knee hug, part of her yoga for digestion workout.
Stephanie Mansour in final position of a single knee hug, part of her yoga for digestion workout.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Compressing your stomach can also help improve digestion and get things moving.

Simply hug your right knee into your chest and hold for 5 breaths. As you breathe out, allow your knee to come in further into your stomach. Then switch and hug the left knee in towards your chest. You can also bring both knees into your chest. This pose is good for releasing gas, too.

Child’s Pose

Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour in child’s pose, part of her yoga for digestion workout.
Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour in child’s pose, part of her yoga for digestion workout.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Finally, to help release gas and reduce bloating, you can move into Child’s Pose.

If you’re sitting at your desk, simply round forward and reach your arms in front of you onto your desk. Allow your low back to relax and breathe deeply. As you breathe in, you want to fill up your stomach so that it presses against your legs. As you breathe out, think about your stomach becoming smaller and moving away from the legs. Stay here for 5 breaths.

If you are on the floor or on a yoga mat, you’ll come down onto your knees and open the knees wide. Then gently shift back so that your glutes are reaching over your heels. Extend your arms out in front of you and relax the shoulders. Breathe for 5 deep breaths.

Stephanie Mansour wants you to ‘“step up” your fitness regimen. Mansour coaches private clients in weight loss, provides fitness/health/lifestyles advice on national TV shows, and offers her free 21 Day Challenge online. Check out her fitness tips every Sunday in the Well section of the Chicago Sun-Times. And visit her website at stepitupwithsteph.com.