Even saying the word “bloat” can feel uncomfortable. You know that time of the month has snuck up on you when your jeans feel a little snugger than usual, even though you haven’t gorged on a big meal.
Or, maybe it’s your body’s way of telling you that something you ate didn’t agree with you. Either way, sometimes it feels like there’s nothing else to do but lie back and rub your belly. Fortunately, there are plenty of therapeutic yoga poses that help to relieve the swelling and calm your stomach. Twists help speed up digestion, while inversions help release trapped gas and toxins.
Try this sequence to alleviate your belly blues.
Hero on Block
Sit on block placed between lower legs and feet with knees touching. Press tailbone down into block. Lift hips and move feet to just outside hips, then lower bottom to block between feet. Press all 10 toes down to floor. Root hips and sit with a tall spine. Rest arms on thighs, palms down. Hold at least 8 breaths.
Simple Spinal Twist
Lie on back and hug both knees to chest. Open arms wide and, keeping knees bent and together, drop them over to the right side. Push left shoulder down, elongate lower back and turn head slightly to the left. Hold at least 8 breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.
Modified Seated Half-Fish
Begin seated, with both knees bent and soles of feet flat on floor. Keeping left knee bent, lay its outer side on floor and bring foot to rest next to right hip. Cross right foot over left knee so it rests to the outside of left upper thigh. Sit tall and reach up with left arm as you inhale. As you exhale, drop left arm to outside of right thigh. Wrap left arm around shin and outer thigh. Place right fingertips beside right hip or behind tailbone. Press left arm into the outside of right knee to spiral chest open without moving hips at all. Gaze forward or past right shoulder. Hold at least 8 breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.
Supported Bridge With Extended Legs
Begin on back with arms on floor at sides. Lift legs up and stack a block the tall way under lower back. Rest hips completely on block. Rock outsides of arms toward floor to prop yourself up on shoulders. Bring both legs straight up in the air so that heels, knees, hips and shoulders are in one straight line. Keep thighs together. Press legs upward to help straighten them. Rest and extend upward through toes. Keep a slight lift in chin and gaze toward navel. Hold at least 5 breaths.
Draw knees into chest, hip-width apart, and hug tightly.
Head to Knee
Begin seated, with left leg straight and right knee bent. Bring sole of right foot to rest against left inner upper thigh. Inhale and extend spine. Exhale, spin chest over left knee, and grab outer edge of left foot, or clasp right wrist with left hand. Inhale and extend spine again. Exhale and fold torso over straight leg, bending elbows wide and relaxing base of neck. Hold at least 8 breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.
Legs Up the Wall
Begin seated, perpendicular to a wall. Bend knees and lie back on floor. Pivot torso and extend legs up wall so hips and entire length of backs of legs rest against wall. (It’s optional to use a strap to tie feet together so legs can relax even further.) Let arms rest next to you, palms up, or bend elbows at right angles. Rest at least 5 minutes (or however long feels comfortable).
© Prevention Australia
First published: 11 Apr 2019