Unwanted gas in the body can be highly uncomfortable, both physically and socially speaking. If this is something you are dealing with regularly, you want to have a look at your overall diet and maybe work at cleaning the terrain.
I have many articles going into the types of practices you can utilise to help you in this department, but for right now I want to encourage you to move the body!
So many ‘solutions’ for IBS come in the form of costly supplements. What I love about movement is that it is for free.
We are going to get down onto the yoga mat (or the floor) and we are going to stretch and twist the belly with some simple yoga poses. You do not have to be a seasoned yogi to move through this practice, you simply need some space to move.
Firstly, let just get clear on excessive gas!
Gas in the digestive tract can be innocent enough. It can be the result of poor food combining, food intolerances, fermentation, unbalanced gut flora… there are MANY triggers.
When there is an excess amount of gas in body, you can be left feeling constipated, bloated and in pain. What is worse, is when this discomfort goes on for days.
For many people, it is a point of discomfort even just talking about what is going on in the belly. So luckily you have me here and I have no time to be awkward about digestive dramas.
So make some space on the floor. Roll out a yoga mat if you have one and let me share with you some tips and tricks in the form of asana and breathing to ease your digestive woes.
Cat-Cow Pose – Marijasana-Bitilasana
Come on to the hands and knees, making sure the hands are in line and underneath the shoulders, palms and fingers spread wide. The hips are stacked over the knees. With a breath in, drop the belly down and open the chest, bringing an arch into the back. With an exhale, push through the palms and round the upper spine, imitating an angry cat. Continue to move from Cat to Cow, using the breath as your guide.
Moving through these Cat and Cow Postures is an amazing way to alternate between stretching and compressing the belly. This works to pump the digestive organs.
Eight Limbed Salutation – Ashtanga Namaska
From all four, keep the hands underneath the shoulders and begin to bend the elbows back. Bring the chest down in between the palms and rest the chin lightly on the floor with the gaze up. Continue to squeeze the elbows in towards the body. The weight is in the hands.
In this posture you are stretching the belly, while having the hips high. Although the hips are up, this alignment actually encourages unwanted gas to move down (and out!). Spend as long as is comfortable here, as it takes a moment for the body to catch up to where you have put it.
Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana
Slide down onto the belly and keep the hands underneath the shoulders. Inhale, press into the palms and straighten the arms to bring the torso up. Drop the shoulders down away from the ears and squeeze the shoulder blades back and together.
You are lengthening the belly here while simultaneously providing a therapeutic stretch to the back.
Wind Relieving Pose – Pavana Muktasana
Flip over onto your back and bring the knees up into the chest. Lift the shoulders up off the earth so you can secure the arms around the knees. Grab for opposite elbows and then lie the shoulders and head back down onto the mat. Send each breath down into the belly and continue to pull the knees down, squeezing the muscles of the abdomen.
As you breathe deeply and squeeze the thighs down, the belly and digestive organs are being massaged. This pose is king when it comes to releasing unwanted gas so I encourage you to spend as long as is comfortable in this pose, sending your breath and awareness down into your problem area.
Plow Pose – Halasana
Keep the knees drawn in towards the chest. With an inhale start to send them up above the shoulders. Bring the hands to the low back for support. Palms pressing in, fingers pointing up. Have the knees bent and resting towards the forehead to begin. If this is comfortable see if you can reach the earth behind the head with the toes. If this is not available, continue to have the legs bent and knees resting on the forehead.
This posture compresses the belly, whilst sending the hips high. Although it might seem counter intuitive when you want stagnant energies to move down, to send the hips up, it really does work at sending stangnation out of the body.
Supine Twist – Supta Matsyendrasana
Use the support of the hands to roll back down to lying on the mat. Bring the left knee towards the chest and send the right leg out long. Interlace the fingers around the bent left knee and squeeze it down into the side of the abdomen. Start to take the left knee across the body, over to the right. Send the left arm out to the side like a wing, taking the head and gaze with it. Spend five breaths here at least, and then switch legs to change sides.
Notice how this postures wrings out the belly. As we twist we are cutting off circulation and as we release a fresh rush of blood is pumped into the area. This helps to encourage toxicity and obstruction to move onwards and out.
Take Home Message
If you have the time, I recommend spending as long as you can in each of these poses. The longer you rest and breathe, the more of a chance the body has to respond and open up. Don’t forget to include deep belly breaths in each of these postures as that is really going to help to get things moving.
When we use yoga and movement to eliminate unwanted gas, the aim is to:
stretch, twist, wring and compress the abdominal organs.
If you are already practicing yoga, these postures are going to fit very easily into your daily practice. If you are not so yoga inclined, just spend fifteen minutes a day stretching and breathing and see what a difference it makes.