Bloating is quite common during the holiday season. Too much eating, food allergies, digestive problems, stress, or not being active can all lead to this. Certain yoga poses may increase blood flow, activate digestion, and reduce stress, alleviating bloating symptoms. Read our guide to learn three yoga poses that can help you reduce bloating symptoms right away!
Bloating can occur from overeating, food allergies, digestive issues, stress, or a lack of physical activity.
Symptoms may include feeling fuller than usual, experiencing pain or discomfort, or having excess gas. In extreme cases, medical attention may be necessary.
Certain yoga poses have been shown to help with bloating. Yoga may reduce stress, regulate the nervous system, and promote digestion.
It is important to treat bloating holistically, taking into account diet, hydration, exercise, sleep, and lifestyle choices.
Bloating can make you feel uncomfortable, cause stomach rumbling, and potentially cause pain. While it’s important to enjoy food without restricting yourself during the holidays, there are preventative steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of bloating.
Just three yoga poses incorporated into your daily routine may be sufficient to stimulate blood flow, activate digestion, and release trapped gas from the intestines. Being mindful of nutrition, hydration, and stress levels is also key. Read our guide to learn more about the benefits of yoga for bloating, as well as three poses to help you get rid of it.
Is yoga effective for bloating?
Yoga has been used for centuries to improve physical and mental health. Many exercises include slow and controlled twists, turns, and bends. These movements can help with digestion by stimulating abdominal organs like the stomach, intestines, and liver. This can help food break down as it moves through the digestive tract.
Yoga focuses on the breath, which relaxes the stomach muscles and reduces the likelihood of inhaling too much air, which is another cause of bloating. One study followed two groups of adolescents with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). The first group did yoga, while the others did not. When data from the trial were compared at the end, the yoga group had significantly lower scores for gastrointestinal symptoms than the control group.
Health benefits of yoga for bloating
The benefits of yoga when it comes to bloating include but not limited to:
- Stimulates the digestive system. This can help to break down foods more effectively.
- Increases blood flow. This may help support digestion.
- Reduces stress. Stress has been shown to negatively impact digestion and blood flow.
- Calms the nervous system. An unsettled nervous system can hinder digestion.
- Mind-body connection. Being aware of internal signals could reduce the likelihood of bloating.
3 yoga poses to help reduce bloating
Below you find the three most common yoga poses with step-by-step instructions for expressing bloating.
- Lie comfortably on your back with legs bent, feet roughly under knees, arms by your sides.
- Prepare to inhale. Exhale and lift your hips up towards the ceiling, imprinting your lower spine into the mat.
- Create a long line from your shoulders to your knees, maintaining that position. Hold for five breaths.
- Your hips should be fully extended, ribs soft, whilst maintaining space between your chin and chest.
- To lower, peel down through the spine sequentially until your tailbone reaches the mat.
Repeat three to five repetitions.
Downward facing dog
- Begin in all fours, hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
- Tuck your toes (lifting heels off), press into your hands and send your hips up to the ceiling, finding an inverted ‘V’ shape in the body.
- Lengthen your spine and legs and soften your heels down towards the floor.
- Maintain connection between your stomach and thighs, as if they are drawing towards each other. Keep pressing out of your shoulders for support.
- Hold this position for five breaths.
For an extra stretch, peddle out through both feet, pressing your heels down towards the mat.
Seated twist pose
- Start sitting upright, legs extended in front and arms by your sides.
- Lift your right leg up and place the foot flat down on the outside of your left thigh.
- Bring your left elbow to the outside of your right knee, with your fingertips reaching up towards the ceiling.
- Place your right hand behind you for support, gently pressing into the palm for support. Inhale prepare.
- Exhale. Start to twist from the base, mid, and upper spines. Naturally turn your head and gaze with your spine until you are looking over your right shoulder. Hold for three to five breaths.
- Inhale to unwind the spine, back to your start position. Repeat on your second side.
Many studies show that yoga can help with bloating symptoms. Regular practice may help the digestive system, calm the nervous system, and make the blood flow faster. Even though yoga has been shown to help with bloating, it is still important to look at the bigger picture. People who are bloated from eating too much may feel better after doing yoga poses, but people with severe IBS or celiac disease may need to see a doctor.
Diet, exercise, sleep, and lifestyle are all critical factors. Staying hydrated and eating a diet full of fiber, fruit, and vegetables is essential to keeping your body healthy and stopping it from holding on to water. You might want to add high-quality probiotics as a supplement. One study in particular showed the group who took probiotics had reduced symptoms of bloating, IBS, and diarrhea compared to the placebo group.
If you feel like you are going to burst, come back to these yoga poses. Stick to your plan, eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of water. If you have painful bloating that will not go away, you should see a doctor.
- Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). Pathophysiology, Evaluation, and Treatment of Bloating.
- AM J Gastroenterol. Physical Activity and intestinal gas clearance in patients with bloating.
- Pain Res Manag. A randomized trial of yoga for adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome.
- Wiley-Blackwell Online Open. Systematic review: probiotics in the management of lower gastrointestinal symptoms - an updated evidence-based international consensus.