Christmas is such a magical time of year in many ways but its also a time that can be characterised by excess. Too much drinking and eating, rich foods, lots of treats and perhaps not so much exercise! The result is that many people come away from the festive season feeling heavy, sluggish and in need of a detox! This is where yoga comes to the rescue..


The beautiful thing about a balanced yoga practice is that it can help bolster your digestive system and support your body in detoxifying negative things it consumes. How does this happen? And what are the best things we can do in yoga to help?


Yoga is very helpful when it comes to digestion, elimination, alleviating bloating and increasing circulation. Postures that stimulate the liver, small and large intestine, and colon are the way to go for happy digestion and detoxifying. This is because the stomach plays a major role in digestion, the small intestine is all about nutrient absorption and the colon is what makes elimination possible!


So here is our go-to list for the best poses to support and aid your digestion this Christmas and beyond;


Deep Breathing

Believe it or not, deep breathing is actually a wonderful way to support your digestion. It works in a number of ways. Firstly, deep breathing actually acts as a gentle massage for your digestive organs and secondly, the process of deep breathing releases stress, triggering the relaxation response. This, in turn, signals to your body that it’s ‘A-ok’ to go back into the full swing of digestion, something that is commonly impaired when we are stressed.

Supine Twist On The Back

This is a wonderful, very accessible twist anyone can do. Twists, in general, are amazing for digestion as well as spinal health. Twists squeeze your body’s most key detoxifier – the liver – thus aiding a clean-up of all the toxins we ingest.

Child’s Pose

Come into child’s pose with hands in fists gently pressing on either side of the lower abdomen. This is a great way to stimulate circulation and release feelings of discomfort from bloating.

Squat Pose

This is an incredible pose for aiding elimination! It is not a coincidence that all over Asia people sit in this posture to eat, chat and while away the day. The posture helps stimulate your digestion and is particularly good if you are struggling with constipation. It also happens to be great for the reproductive organs too!

Hero Pose

Sitting on your shins for 20 minutes after each meal is meant to be yoga’s great elixir for all digestive issues. Try it and see how it works for you.

Apanasana- 1 knee to Chest on your back

This is another great pose to help release gas and bloating. Its English name ‘wind-relieving’ pose says it all!

Kriyas- yogic cleansing: kapalabhati- short, punchy exhales, passive inhales.

This is great for bringing vitality and energy to the belly. It is especially helpful in the cold winter months or when you are feeling stagnation in your digestion. This kick-starts your inner fire and helps your digestive system.

This is to be avoided if you are menstruating or pregnant.

Nauli- churning of the belly

 The perfect self-massage for your belly. Amazing for toning abdominal muscles and improve circulation in the area. Again, avoid if you are menstruating or pregnant.


So give these a try this Christmas and see what a huge difference it makes. Yoga as a whole is ideally calling us into presence and more mindfulness. This can really help in terms of being really present to when you have actually had enough- an instinct many of us have long forgotten how to honour! And if you can eat in community without the distraction of screens and technology this is even better for your digestion, mind and heart.


Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!

 

Written by Lucy McCarthy, Destination Yoga resident teacher. Find out more about Lucy and her upcoming retreats here

 

 

Destination Yoga has been running truly unique yoga retreats of the highest quality for over 10 years and has an array of fantastic trips on offer, pairing some of the best yoga teachers in Europe with simply stunning destinations – The perfect restorative getaway for individuals or groups of yogis of all abilities.

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