Many of us feel bloated after a heavy meal, if we have digestive problems, or when we are stressed. There is a feeling of tightness in the abdomen, which can cause stomach pain. Yoga practice improves digestion by increasing blood flow to the digestive tract, and twist poses compress and massage internal organs to relieve gas and bloating.
15 Yoga Poses To Relieve Gas And Bloating
1. Ardha Apanasana (Knee To Chest)
This pose literally translates into English as ‘Wind Relief Pose’ and is great for helping trapped gases move through the intestines.
- Lie on your back and stretch your legs on the floor.
- Bring one knee closer to your chest and wrap it around your shinbone or kneecap. Keep the back of your head on the floor.
- Keep the other leg extended. Hold this position for 5 minutes before switching sides.
- Alternatively, you can pull both knees into your chest and curl them into a ball.
2. Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby)
While it may feel a little silly in this form, Happy Baby is a great pose for releasing gas and relieving a bloated tummy.
- Lie on your back; bend your knees. Place your feet on the floor.
- Pull your knees into your chest and press your feet toward the ceiling. Bend your knees.
- Grab your shin, ankle, or foot (depending on your flexibility). Keeping your feet bent toward the ceiling, slowly bring your knees toward the floor and gently release your feet.
- Keep your head and neck pressed to the floor. You can rock it left and right if it feels good. Hold this pose for 1-5 minutes.
3. Supta Matsyendrasana (Spinal Twist)
Here, you imagine your body squeezing a washcloth to dry. A deep twist aids the digestive system by compressing the organs and moving gases throughout the body.
- Lie on your back and stretch your legs on the floor.
- Wrap your hand around your tibia or kneecap and bring your right knee closer to your chest. Keep your left leg straight.
- Pull your right knee over your body to the left. The knee may touch the ground or float. It depends on what feels good in your body.
- Extend your right arm out to the side and turn your head to look at your right hand. Keep your left hand on your bent knee, or extend your arm to the left.
- Hold this pose for 1-5 minutes. Gently roll onto your back and repeat on the other side.
4. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This mild inversion helps your blood flow and makes you feel more energized.
- Lie on the floor; bend your knees.
- Place your arms on your sides and your feet flat on the floor.
- Raise your hips and stretch your chest well.
- Try this variation to aid digestion – press one hip up and hold the pose. Take 5 breaths, then switch to the other side.
5. One-Legged Seated Spinal Twist
From a seated position, this twist pose will let you have more control over your stretch.
- Sit with your legs outstretched. Bend your right knee. Bring your heel closer to your body.
- Extend your right arm behind you. Place your palm on the floor. Bring your left elbow toward the outside of your right knee to aid rotation.
- Hold your breath five or more times, deepening the stretch with each exhale.
- Then loosen the twist and repeat on the other side.
This simple stretch pose helps you to relax and relieve the stress that’s affecting your digestion.
- Sit on the floor with your feet in front of you.
- Keeping your back straight, slowly bend your hips forward and lower your torso.
- Take 5-10 deep breaths there.
7. Marjaryasana And Bitilasana (Cat And Cow)
Transitioning between these two poses helps you to warm up your spine along with relieving the tension in your back and neck.
- Get to the floor on your hands and knees. Inhale and make sure your back is flat, and your abs are tight.
- Exhale, lower your head, and curl your spine into a Cat Pose.
- As you inhale, arch your back, lift your head, and bring your hips into a Cow Pose.
- Alternate between the two poses, connecting to Cow Pose on the inhale and Cat Pose on the exhale.
- Repeat several times.
8. Adho Mukha Savanasana
This stretch energizes your mind and body.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Keeping your back straight, bend forward, and press your palms to the floor.
- Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths.
- Alternate with child’s pose.
This pose helps you to strengthen your spine while relieving the tension in your neck and back.
- Stand with your feet apart and bend forward from your hips.
- Keep your back straight and place your hands on the floor.
This pose lets you tone your belly and get a good stretch.
- Stand up and take a big step back with your right foot and circle it to the side of your mat.
- Keep your spine long as you spread your arms and bend your hips forward.
- Lower your left hand to the floor.
- Raise your right arm and keep your arms spread out.
- Look up at your right hand. To come out of the pose, look down at your left leg before straightening. Repeat on the other side.
This pose opens up your chest and strengthens and tones your legs.
- Put your feet together.
- Bend your knees as if you were sitting in a chair.
- At the same time, raise your arms by your ears.
- To exit the pose, straighten your arms as you exhale.
- Then stand up in a standing position and bring your arms to your sides.
This simple stretch, also known as the wind-relieving pose, helps to gain relief from bloating and gas pains.
- Lie down and relax, place your hands on your knees, and inhale.
- Exhale and draw your knees to your chest.
- Move your knee from side to side to maximize the stretch.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths and release your knees. Repeat this movement a few more times.
13. Malasana (Garland Pose)
This pose is good for digestion as it helps release gases from the system that are interfering with the normal functioning of the intestines.
- Start with your feet slightly hip-width apart.
- Bend your knees deeply and sink until your hips are lower than your knees and a few inches off the floor.
- Tuck your elbows into your knees on the inside of your knees to open your hips, and slowly tuck your inner knees into your elbows.
- Hold this pose for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lean back or push yourself back to stand.
14. Prasarita Padottanasana
This open stance forward folds target the lower body. It combats stress and compresses the abdomen to stimulate movement and relieve bloating.
- Stand with your back straight and spread your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Bend forward from the waist and bring your chest toward your thighs. Bend your knees slightly if necessary.
- Place your fingertips on the floor. Alternatively, place your hands flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
- Hold the pose 3-5 times and feel the stretch in your lower legs.
- Inhale to reach the starting position.
15. Parivrtta Sukhasana
In seated spine twists, or “slight twist poses,” you move your torso from side to side to help gas flow and reduce bloating.
- Sit upright with your legs straight in front of you.
- Bend your left knee, cross it over your right leg, and place your left floor flat on the floor outside your right thigh.
- Shift your weight to the right, draw your right foot into your left hip, and bend your right knee.
- Twist your torso to the left. Place your right elbow on the outside of your left knee and your left palm on the floor behind you.
- Look over your left shoulder and take 3-5 deep breaths as you feel the stretch.
- Repeat on the other side.
Lifestyle changes can reduce gas and bloating. For example, avoid foods like lemonade and beans. Light physical activity can help move gas through the digestive tract and relieve symptoms like trapped gas. Yoga is effective in improving IBS symptoms. This includes physical symptoms like bloating and mental symptoms like stress and anxiety.