Yoga Moves for Better Digestion

Digestive Health, Featured Article, Fitness, Workout Plans
on February 27, 2013
Woman in child's pose.

Next time you’re feeling a little bloated or your digestion needs a boost, these yoga moves might hold the key to relief. “Yoga poses that involve twisting, stretching your front, and squatting are excellent ways to help your body process and eliminate your food,” says celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor and trainer Kristin McGee. Her simple tummy-taming sequence has all three: twists that massage your internal organs to get things moving, yoga moves that stretch your hips and abdominals to keep them from interfering with digestion, and squats to encourage everything to head downward. Plus, there’s a bonus: “These poses will help relax you, and that’s important because stress can also wreak havoc on your digestive system,” McGee says. Do these soothing yoga moves at least 3 to 4 times per week, or whenever your tummy is feeling a little less than fine.

1. Awkward Chair Pose

Woman practicing yoga chair pose.
Stand with your feet together. Squat down and back, as if sinking into an imaginary chair; at the same time, raise your arms above you, palms together (as shown). Be sure not to let your knees go past your toes. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths, pulling in your lower abdominals and stretching up through the front of your body.

2. Lunging Twist

Woman practicing yoga.
Step your right foot back and lower into a lunge as you twist at the waist, turning to the left. Place your right hand on the outside of your left foot (or the inside, if that’s too challenging) and stretch your left arm up to the ceiling; gaze up at your left hand (as shown). Hold for 5 breaths.

3. Low Lunge Twist with Quad Stretch

Woman practicing yoga.
Lower your right knee to the floor and reach back with your left hand to catch your right foot as you lift your right heel up toward your right buttock. Direct your gaze behind you (as shown); hold for 5 to 8 breaths.

4. Cobra

Woman practicing cobra pose.
Release your right foot and move your left knee back next to your right knee. Lower down onto your belly, placing your hands near (or slightly in front of) your shoulders. Keeping your hips on the floor and shoulders down away from your ears, lift your upper body (as shown) as high as is comfortable and hold for 5 breaths.

5. Child’s Pose

Woman relaxing in child's pose.
Press into your hands and lift your hips up and back until your buttocks are resting on your heels. Lower your upper body, stretching your arms forward (as shown) or back alongside your waist. Stay here for 8 to 10 breaths, letting your mind relax, then round back up and return to standing. Repeat the entire sequence on the other side.

See more from Kristin at, on Facebook at KristinMcGeeFitness, on Twitter at @thebendigirl, and on YouTube at kristinmcgee.