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Try This Nourishing Sequence the Next Time You’re Feeling Bloated

Feeling sluggish in the mind and body? This short practice can help you “digest” both feelings and food.

If you’re having digestion issues, give your gut some love. Often referred to as the second brain, your gut is one of the places in your body where you integrate information. This sequence allows you to be present and integrate undigested experiences, emotions, and food.

See also How to Remain Steady in Crisis and Conflict

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

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Child’s Pose allows us to surrender to feeling calm, contained, and held. When you allow this pose to bring comfort, your ability to digest experiences and food will come with more ease.

Come to all fours, hip slightly wider than hip width apart. Take a moment to breathe deep into your stomach. Fold forward from your hips until your upper body rests comfortably onto the backs of your thighs. Bring your arms behind you and rest your hands on your feet or on the floor with the palms up. Breath deeply. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

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Bridge helps us to connect to our core, by supporting your back with your hands we create an even deeper connection to our core, allowing us to tap into where we are at with our digestion and what is a yes or no in our body.

Lay on your back, with your knees hip-width distance apart. Relax your glutes and allow the lift to come from the tailbone. Keep the heels pressing back and down towards the hips. Take the shoulder back and down as the hips come up. To connect with your core more deeply, place one or both hands on your belly.  

Garland Pose (Malasana)

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Feeling grounded is essential in the digestion process. Garland Pose promotes groundness and activates the apana vayu, the downward wind, which reduces abdominal stagnation and bloating.

Have your feet at a distance that feels appropriate to enter into a squat position. Lower down into a squat pose, keeping your sternum erect. Use a prop, for example a rolled-up blanket, if the heels do not touch the ground. Breathe deeply, as if you were breathing from your pelvic region. Allow yourself to find stillness and ease in this posture. Take 10 to 15 breaths.

Modified Crescent Lunge Twist (Parivrtta Anjaneyasana)

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This pose is always great to “wring out the extra wind” that we accumulate from undigested anxiety and food alike.

Come into a lunge position to begin. Bring your hands to prayer pose. Drop your left shoulder towards your right thigh. Press your elbow into your thigh while twisting to the right. Look up and breath deep and feel your right side body pressing against your thighs. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths and then switch sides. 

Wind-Relieving Pose (Pawanamuktasana)

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Wind-Relieving Pose allows for a deep decompression—it’s a very passive way to ease digestion, even if done as an afterthought while in bed. After reflecting on the day, utilize this pose to digest what is nourishing and relieve yourself of all else.

Lay down flat on your back, both legs extended. Bring your right knee to your chest and interlace your fingers around your shin. Breath deeply. Hold posture for 30 seconds to a minute. When completed, switch sides. Finally, hold both legs at once.

Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

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Decompressing the spine and allowing the spinal fluid to flow unhindered allows our body to rest and digest. Bring your shoulders to be all the way on the ground and breathe deeply.

Lay down flat on your back, with both legs extended. Place the arms out to T and bend your right knee. In a controlled manner, drop your right knee to the left side of your body, allowing the spine and lower back to twist. Breathe and sink deeply into the pose. Breath deeply for 30 seconds to a minute before repeating on the other side. 

From our Live Be Yoga Partner

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Monica Cadena is one of Yoga Journal’s Live Be Yoga Tour Ambassadors. This year, the Live Be Yoga Tour—our annual roadtrip—is going virtual. We are calling it The Decompression. Recently, we’ve all been asked to journey inward, to take moments of pause and stillness, and to slow down, rest, and prioritize the things we value. Follow the Live Be Yoga 2020 series here, stay connected with us at @livebeyoga on social, and join the movement to find beauty in stillness.