Yin Yoga stretches (digestive health)

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Digestive Health

Yin Yoga stretches for better digestion

By Gabrielle Fairhead

Yin Yoga is a calm, passive style of yoga which involves holding each pose for a longer period of time, while paying attention to the breath and observing our thoughts, emotions and the body sensations we might experience.

Yin Yoga helps to stretch our yin tissues such as our fascia, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues, which get less blood supply and are less elastic, so they need more time to stretch. When stretched on regular basis, our circulation improves, and our organs work with greater efficiency.

The following poses are very effective self-help tools to massage the internal organs of the digestive system, releasing tension in the area and bringing nourishing oxygenated blood to the whole region upon release.

Start gently at first, building up to holding the poses for longer. Ideally done morning and evening.

 

A) Head to knee posture

From a seated posture, draw the right foot in to the inside of left thigh. Lengthen the left leg in front, flexing the toes towards you. Lift from the waist and fold forward over the extended leg, holding on to the left foot or leg, directing nose to knee.

Hold for 2 minutes, and repeat on the other side.

 

Benefits:

Massages the internal organs, focusing on one side at a time. It helps to stimulate the pelvic and abdominal region including the liver, pancreas, and spleen.

B) Wind removing Pose

Lying on the floor, draw one knee up to the chest and lengthen the other leg long along the mat. Hold the knee into the chest with both hands, either on top of the shin, or behind the thigh. Gently contract the bent knee in towards the chest and shoulder, and test out different angles of the thigh in compression with the chest.

Hold for 2 mins. Change sides.

 

Benefits: Massages the side of the body and the internal organs. Overall aid in digestion - Helps with constipation, indigestion and getting rid of excess gas.

 

C) Supine Twist

     

From the wind removing pose, still lying down (one leg drawn into chest, the other long) gently lead the bent leg to cross over to the other side with one hand, the opposite arm at shoulder height, resting on the floor. Look up, or in the direction of the lengthened arm.

Hold for 3 mins, change sides.

 

Benefits:

Stimulates the digestive ‘fire’ in the belly, as well as wrings out any stagnation in the central nervous system.

This posture provides contraction and twisting which helps to release tension in the spine as well as the abdominal region.

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