Yoga for a good digestion

Yoga for digestion jpg

We can do yoga for many different reasons. Every sequence I post, you can do just because you want to do a good work-out, you want to calm your mind or because you need inspiration for your practice. However, I do like to focus on certain goals people want to reach. Therefore I always pick a theme for the sequence. This week: yoga for a better digestion.

To improve your digestion via yoga it is important to move the part where your food is being digested: the area of the abdomen. In general twists are good to detox your body and to help your intestines to squeeze, move and therefore digest your food. However, if you really have problems with digestion, only twists can also irritate this area and have a negative effect. So you need to balance your practice, as always, but stay focused on the movement you make and the pressure you put on the abdominal area.

This sequence can vary from 15 minutes up to 30 minutes, it depends on how long you hold the poses and how many repetitions you do. It is advisable to start the practice with 5 minutes of meditation, to calm the mind and be focused during the practice. End the practice with a Savasana pose (corpse pose) for a minimum of 10 breaths. Some basis rules when you perform the poses:

  • Make long, deep and controlled breathes through your nose. Focus on your breath going in and out while being in a posture. Try to make your exhale slightly longer then your inhale.
  • Let your breath initiate a movement. Inhale is a movement upwards, exhale is a movement downwards or a twist.
  • Work both sides of your body. Do every posture on the right side and then switch to the left.
  • While you’re in a standing pose always check your front knee. When it is bent, it makes a 90-degree angle with your ankle; however, it should never go over your ankle.
  • There is NO pose in yoga where we have our shoulders close to our ears. So when you are settled in a pose, always pay attention to your shoulders. Roll them backwards and down.

If you have doubts about the poses, below you can find the basic ideas and adjustments per picture:

  • Photo 1: Padmasana Twist
    Lotus pose twist. Remain seated in lotus pose (or just corssed legged). Inhale take both your arms up. Twist from your belly button towards the right. Left hand goes on your right knee, bring your right hand behind your back. Twist your head as last, to look over your shoulders. Stay for a minimum of three cycles of breath. Change side.
  • Photo 2: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
    Bridge pose. Lay down on your back, knees are up, feet are hip distance apart. Have your arms by your side, palms are facing down. On an inhale push your hips up as far as you can, on an exhale bring your hips down again. Repeat for at least 3 cycles of breath.
  • Photo 3: Release pose.
    Release pose. Lay down on your back. Bring your knees into your chest. Place your hands over your knees. Make small clockwise circles. Make them bigger as you go. Come back to the middle and change direction. This pose helps you to release tension from your lower back, by massaging it.
  • Photo 4: Reclining twist
    Reclining twist pose. Lay on your back. Arms are out in a cross. Bring your knees towards your chest. Make a 90-degree angle with your hips and your knees and knees and ankle. Move your legs to the right, look to the left; keep both shoulders on the mat. If you want you can place your right hand on your knees, to add extra pressure.
  • Photo 5: Marjaryasana
    Catpose. Come to your hands and knees. Knees in a 90 degrees angle with your hips, shoulders with the wrists. Inhale, look up and arch your spine. Exhale, look down and round your spine. Do this with a minimum of 5 times.
  • Photo 6: Plank pose
    Plank pose with one knee forward. Make it look like you are a straight plank. Have your hips aligned with your body, so not high in the air or close to the ground. Shoulders are 90 degrees over your wrists. Contract your abdominal muscles. Bring your right knee to your right elbow. Try to stay here for 5 cycles of breath.
  • Photo 7: Salabhasana
    Locust pose. Start by having your whole body on the mat. Bring your arms back. On the inhale take both your arms and legs up. If this is too much to begin with, then start with only taking your chest off the mat. Second time only the legs. And third time both the chest (arms) and the legs.
  • Photo 8: Adho Mukha Svanasana
    Downward facing dog: Come onto the mat on your hands and knees. Knees are 90 degrees with your hips, hands straight under your shoulders. Tuck your toes under and on an exhale lift your knees away from the floor. Keep them slightly bent. Stretch one knee, bend the other. Switch several times. Bend both needs slightly and push your sitbones up in the air, while you push yourself away from your hands. On an exhale push your heels towards the mat. Stay for a minimum of three breaths.
  • Photo 9: Virabhadrasana II
    Warrior 2 pose. Turn your back foot to a 45-degree angle. Open your hips towards the side. Roll your shoulders down and back. Look over your front hand. Stay for at least 3 cycles of breath.
  • Photo 10: Utthita Trikonasana
    Extended triangle pose. Straighten your front leg. Have your torso similar to the Warrior 2 pose. Bring your body weight forward. Bring your arm down towards your leg. Either grab your thigh, lower part of the leg or ankle. Make sure your torso is parallel with your front leg. Stay for at least 3 cycles of breath.
  • Photo 11: Parivrtta Trikonasana
    Revolved triangle pose. Straighten your front leg, have your legs similar to the extended triangle pose. Have your arms out wide, bring the back arm forward and place it on the outside of your front foot. Look up to your hand. If necessary use a block to stabilize. Stay for at least 3 cycles of breath.
  • Photo 12: Utthita Parsvakonasana
    Side angle pose. Your front foot is pointing straight forward and your back foot is at a 45 degree angle (pointing slightly inwards). So your legs are as in the warrior 2 pose. On an exhale place your hand on the outside of your front foot and the other arm goes straight up or overhead. Open your hips to the side. If it is possible bind the pose: bring your lower arm, via the inside, underneath your front leg. Your upper arm goes backwards and embraces your back. Grab with the lower hand the hand that wraps around the back. Stay for a minimum of 3 cycles of breath.
  • Photo 13: Parsva Balasana
    Thread and needle pose. With an inhale take one arm up, look towards it and then bring it through the hole of your knee and hand. Shoulder and ear to the ground. Try to keep your hips aligned.
  • Photo 14: Marichyasana 3
    Sage Pose. Sit on the mat, both legs forward and back straight. Bend your right knee and place your heel close to your hips. Have a fist distance between your leg and your heel. Inhale, take both your arms up. Twist from your belly button towards the right. Left hand goes on your right knee, bring your right hand behind your back. Twist your head last, to look over your shoulders. Stay for a minimum of three cycles of breath. Change side.
  • Photo 15: Halasana
    Plow pose. From the previous pose, shoulderstand, bring your feet down over your head. Make sure it is a controlled movement. Keep your arms in your back. Or if you want, interlace your fingers and stretch your arms out on the mat. If your toes can’t touch the mat, you keep your hands in your back – or you place blocks under your feet. Stay here for a minimum of 5 cycles of breath.
  • Photo 16: Salamba Sarvangasana
    Shoulder stand. Lay down on your back. Palms are facing down on the mat. Bring your knees into your chest. With the force of your hands push your hips off the floor. Place your hands in your back. Straighten your legs upright. Walk your hands closer to your shoulders blades. Stay here; wait until you can breath properly. If gravity is pulling you down, walk your hands closer to your shoulder blades and give yourself a lift. Stay for a minimum of 10 cycles of breath.
  • Photo 17: Matsyasana
    Fish pose. Lay down on your back. Place your hands under your hips, palms facing down. Breathe into your chest and bring it up. Place the top of your head on the mat. Make sure the weight is on your hips and not on your head. Stay for a minimum of 5 breath cycles.
  • Photo 18: Reclining twist
    Reclining twist pose. Lay on your back. Arms are out in a cross. Bring your knees towards your chest. Make a 90-degree angle with your hips and your knees and knees and ankle. Move your legs to the right, look to the left; keep both shoulders on the mat. If you want you can place your right hand on your knees, to add extra pressure.
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