Yoga for Digestion

Feb 08

Yoga for Digestion

Yoga for Healthy Digestion is a practice for all levels and perfect after any long weekend, or holiday season. I encourage you to use yoga as a natural modality of healing your body, instead of reaching for the nearest medicine cabinet. Breathe deep, connect with your body, smile, open your heart, and feel good!

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Warm up: Child’s Pose

Balasana

1. Kneel with big toes touching, and knees comfortably apart – about as wide as your hips.

2. Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs. Bring hips down towards your heels, and feel your lower back broaden and release.

3. Press your hands down on the floor, externally rotating shoulders to make space between your ears and shoulders.

4. Feel the opposing directions of energy – going through the top of your head and fintertips, and your hips and tailbone reaching down towards your heals.

Hold for 5 breathes

Downward Dog

Adho Mukha Svanasana

1. From Child’s Pose, come on to the balls of your feet and straighten legs to downward dog. Firm the upper arm bones in, externally rotate your shoulders, but at the same time press firmly into the ground with your thumb and first finger.

2. Press your hands down on the floor, externally rotating shoulders to make space between your ears and shoulders, and lift the spine and hips up towards the sky.

3. Your goal is to press your heels down towards the floor, but if you’re not there yet, no worries. It will come one day 🙂

4. Much like child’s pose, feel the opposing directions of energy – going through the top of your head and fintertips, and your hips and tailbone reaching down towards your heals.

Hold for 5 breathes

Extended Puppy Pose

Uttana Shishosana

1. Come onto all fours. See that your shoulders are above your wrists and your hips are above your knees. Walk your hands forward a few inches so your shoulders begin to drop down to the floor, and your hips remain over your knees.

2. Allow your forehead to rest in the pose. If you’d like to go deeper, then lift your head up and rest on your chin (as pictured above). Let the throat open.

3. Continue to externally rotate the shoulders to create space between the ears and the shoulders, and breath deeply in and out through the nose.

4. Relax the feet while in the pose, and pull belly up towards spine.

Hold for 5 breathes, or more if desired. 

Knee to Chest Pose

Apanasana

1. Lye on your back comfortably, with shoulders relaxed.

2. Pull your right knee into your chest, and clasp your hands over your right knee.

3. Use your biceps to pull your knee into your chest, while keeping your shoulders relaxed, and opposite leg relaxed on mat.

4. Slightly tuck chin to chest to lengthen back of neck and spine.

Hold for 5 breathes, then repeat other side. 

Tripod Headstand

Sirsasana II

1. Start with head on floor, with hands equidistant to your head so your head and hands are making an equal triangle. (Do this against a wall if you’ve never done a headstand before).

2. Carefully walk the toes in so your hips begin to line up over your shoulders, and continue to squeeze your elbows in towards your midline. This is the key to doing headstand.

3. Once you feel that most of your weight is over your head, squeeze your elbows together, your belly to your spine, and pull one knee in at a time to your chest.

4. If this is going well for you, then straighten the legs straight overhead.

Hold for 5 breathes, or longer if desired 

Reclined Spinal Twist

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

1. Start laying on your back. Then bring your left knee to your chest. You can rest your head on a pillow or blanket for extra neck support. Let your arms rest at your sides.

2. Extend your left arm out along the floor at shoulder-height with your palm facing up.

3. Shift your hips slightly to the left, then place your right hand on the outside of your left knee, and gently guide it down towards the floor. Place a block under your left knee if you feel pain in your hips or spine.

4. Twist from the torso, and try to twist your sternum up towards the sky, while keeping the hips stacked over each other (as shown above in photo).

Hold for 5 breathes, or longer if desired. Repeat otherside..

Legs Up the Wall

Vaparita Karani

1. Start laying on your back. Then bring your feet either on a chair (as shown), or over the ledge of your couch, bed, or straight up a wall. Whichever variation you are doing, place your hips about 5-6 inches away from the wall/chair. Let hands rest on the floor, with palms facing up towards sky.

2. Let the belly fall into the spine, and mind into heart. Completely surrender to gravity.

Modifications:
a) For extra support, you can place a folded blanket or yoga bolster underneath your hips.
b) If your neck feels flat to the floor, then support your neck by rolling a small towel and place it underneath your cervical spine.

Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 breathes, up to 15 minutes. 

To get out of the pose, carefully move away from the wall. After holding a pose for a long time, move your body gently with care.

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