Yoga and Gut Health: 5 Poses to Help Promote a Healthy Gut
Our bodies are full of trillions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that make up our microbiome. While these words often have negative connotations, many of these microorganisms are actually extremely important for our immune systems, heart, weight, and other aspects of our overall health and wellbeing!
While we know the thought of having microorganisms in your body can give you the creepy crawlies — try not to fret. Most of them are good for you, and the ones found in your gut can help you with food digestion and turn nutrients into energy for your body to use. Good bacteria helps to keep the bad bacteria in check, so the only time a problem arises is when there is not a healthy balance between the two of them.
Your lifestyle has the greatest effect on whether or not you maintain a healthy gut — the foods you eat, your stress levels, sleep patterns, water intake, physical activity, and so forth. Yoga (especially hot yoga at Yoga Pod!) is an excellent practice to incorporate into your lifestyle to help maintain a healthy gut, and today we will be going over five poses to massage your digestive tract, encourage the liver and kidneys’ detoxification process, and aid with digestion. If you would like to try out these poses for yourself, come to one of our hot yoga classes at Yoga Pod in Golden and get 40 days of our all-levels classes for just $40!
The Gut-Healthy Yoga Poses
Pose #1: Revolved Crescent Lunge
This yoga pose helps to massage the abdominal muscles and twists internal organs like the stomach, intestines, and colon to help stimulate digestion. Performing these gentle twists can also help to relieve gas, bloating, and constipation.
- From a standing position, lunge your right leg back with both feet pointing forward.
- Inhale while placing your hands in a prayer position.
- Exhale while twisting your upper body to the left from your waist.
- Gaze up at your left elbow and hold this position for five breaths. Inhale as you slowly stand upright again and then repeat the motion on the opposite side.
Pose #2: Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)
This pose is excellent for stretching the stomach and intestines, which helps with increasing blood circulation through your digestive tract and can potentially help relieve constipation.
- Start on your knees about shoulder-width apart and your thighs perpendicular to the floor.
- Inhale while drawing your hands up the sides of your body as you push your chest up and forward. Exhale and reach your hands back one at a time to grab onto your heels.
- If you cannot reach your heels with your feet flat on the ground, curl your toes under and rest on the balls of your feet.
- Slowly bring your hips forward so that they are over your knees while allowing your head to gently fall back, opening your throat.
- Hold this pose for five breaths and then gently return to an upright position.
Pose #3: Child’s Pose
This yoga pose is the ultimate restorative pose, both in regular and hot yoga practices. It helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is commonly known as the “rest and digest” system. This pose can be performed at any time to help calm your nerves, your mind, and systems.
- Start on your knees with your toes touching.
- Begin spreading your knees wide while lowering your belly between your thighs. Rest your forehead gently on the floor.
- Extend your arms above your head with your palms facing down.
- Lengthen your body from your hips through your fingertips while breathing gently. Hold this pose for at least one minute.
Pose #4: Seated Twist
If there was one hot yoga pose you would really want to hone in on to improve your digestion, this would be the one. Like with the revolved crescent lunge pose, twisting like this helps with massaging your digestive organs and increasing blood flow.
- Sit on the floor with your legs flat out in front of you.
- Cross one leg over the other with your foot flat on the floor by your opposite knee.
- Hook your opposite elbow around your bent knee and gently twist your upper body.
- Every inhale you take, gently lengthen your spine.
- Every exhale, twist to deepen further into your pose.
- Repeat for 10 breaths and then repeat on the opposite side.
Pose #5: Savasana
This hot yoga pose is a total body relaxing pose that helps with calming your body, mind, and nervous system (which may be contributing to digestive issues). This pose is commonly used after a strenuous hot yoga practice but can be performed any time you feel like relaxing your entire body. Savasana gives your body a chance to rest and restore.
- Lie down on your back with your feet hip-width apart.
- Relax your arms by your sides, palms facing up.
- Allow your shoulders to soften away from your ears.
- Keep your neck long yet relaxed.
- Take nice, deep breaths and let your entire body melt into a deep, relaxed state.
Visit Yoga Pod in Golden Today
These yoga poses can be performed in a regular or hot yoga practice, and are excellent for helping aid digestion and improve overall gut health. Keep in mind that these poses are not a cure-all for an unhealthy gut, and are best paired with a healthy diet — including high-fiber foods like oats and peas, fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt, collagen-rich foods like salmon, and lots of water. When you pair these healthy habits together, you are helping to create a healthy environment in your stomach, which, in turn, improves your overall health. If you would like to make hot yoga a part of your gut-healthy routine, stop by or give us a call at Yoga Pod in Golden today! We are conveniently nestled near I-70 and Highway 6, and offer a wide variety of classes for people of all ages and skill levels.