Our digestive tract is one of the most sensitive systems in our body. The discomfort felt in your abdomen from indigestion, menstrual cramps, constipation, or even simply overeating, can leave you doubled over in pain.
The most common response to digestive sensitivity is stomach bloat. The feeling of fullness and your abdomen stretching can be very uncomfortable. A laxative or a pain reliever like ibuprofen is a common solution, but practicing yoga for stomach pain can help too.
In this article we’ve prepared a list of 5-minute yoga stretches to help relieve your stomach bloat naturally. These poses will help stretch out your abdominal muscles and soothe your digestive tract.
What Causes Stomach Bloat?
First, let’s take a look at what might be causing your stomach bloat. Bloat is your body’s natural response to trapped gas. According to sources like Healthline, It can happen simply from breathing in too much air, or eating or drinking too much. Stomach bloat may also indicate a bigger digestive issue like celiac disease.
Period pain associated with menstrual cramps can impact your digestive tract resulting in stomach bloat as well.
If you’re unsure what’s causing frequent abdominal pain or stomach bloating, speak to a medical professional.
Why is Yoga So Effective?
Certain yoga poses can help you release the air trapped in your digestive tract. Traditionally, yoga has been practiced to both strengthen and relax the body and mind. The majority of yoga poses centre around your core and bring focus to your abdomen.
As effective today as it was 5000 years ago, yoga can help to relax your bowels and intestines to help pass the trapped gas in your abdomen.
5-Minute Yoga Stretches
The following poses performed for 30 seconds each should provide some relief for your aching stomach. Grab your yoga mat and find a clear spot on the floor and let’s get started.
These nine poses will increase blood flow and help move trapped air out of your abdomen.
This is the best pose to start with. Also known as ‘the wind relieving pose’ this can help soothe your stomach pain by improving digestion to release the air trapped in your abdomen.
- To perform this pose, lie flat on your back and inhale deeply.
- Then exhale and pull your knees up to your chest, hugging your legs into your body.
- Gently rock from side to side for at least 30 seconds.
- If this pose provides instant relief, feel free to hold it for up to one minute.
We love this pose for its promise to reduce bloating by stretching and contracting the abdomen. Performing this gentle movement can also relieve pressure in the back, neck, and chest.
- To perform Cat/Cow, start on your hands and knees. Your knees should be hip width apart and your hands directly beneath your shoulders.
- Move into Cow pose. While inhaling, sink your belly towards the mat, raise your tailbone, chin and head and pick a spot on the ceiling to look at.
- Next move into Cat pose. Lift your tailbone, arch your back like a cat and drop your head down towards the matt, all while breathing out.
- Repeat the transition between the two poses for 1 minute.
3. Child’s Pose
This seemingly simple pose is incredibly effective at relieving the stomach pain associated with bloat. The position applies pressure to the lower abdomen which helps move trapped air out of your body.
- Begin this pose by kneeling on the floor.
- Slowly lower your upper body so that your torso is resting on your thighs and your forehead is resting gently on the floor.
- You can rest your arms at your side with palms open to the ceiling, or for a more active pose, stretch your arms as far you can in front of you.
- Inhale and exhale deeply for 30 seconds.
4. Seated Forward Fold
Much like Child’s Pose, Seated Forward Fold applies a lot of pressure to your abdominal muscles. The best relief for bloat is to help release trapped air in the abdomen. Gentle pressure to this area can reduce the feeling of stomach pain associated with bloat.
- This pose begins seated on your yoga mat or on the floor.
- With your legs stretched out in front of you, bend forward at the hips and reach for your toes.
- Try to keep your spine as straight as possible.
- Can’t reach your toes? Don’t worry. Focus on stretching as far forward as your body allows.
- Inhale and exhale deeply for 30 seconds.
5. Seated Twist
This pose effectively twists your core to rid your body of extra air, the most common cause of stomach bloat.
The pose is also effective for sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome. The cramping of IBS is exacerbated by stomach bloat and Seated Twist will provide some relief.
- Begin this pose by sitting on the floor.
- Bend your left knee by bringing your left foot into your body.
- Pull your right leg over your left knee and place your right foot flat on the floor.
- Using your left arm, gently pull your right leg towards your body and twist your torso away from your right leg.
- Twist further with each exhale for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
6. Revolved Triangle
Much like seated twist, this yoga pose will twist your core, helping to move the trapped air out of your digestive tract. This pose is a muscle strengthener combined with an abdominal stretch which will increase the circulation in your lower spine, abdomen, and pelvic region. Revolved triangle will provide relief from period pain and constipation.
- Stand in tadasana: up straight, palms facing towards the wall in front of you and three feet apart.
- Reach your arms out as you turn your right foot outward 90 degrees and your left foot inward 60 degrees.
- Twist at the hips so your torso faces forward.
- Reach your left arm over your right leg until your fingers are touching the floor on the outside of your right foot.
- Extend your right arm.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds as you deeply inhale and exhale.
- Return to tadasana repeat on the other side.
7. Bow Pose
The idea of laying on your belly may feel overwhelming especially if you are experiencing abdominal pain due to indigestion or menstrual cramps. This pose is designed to massage your abdomen and stretch the entire front of the body. If it feels like too much, feel free to move on to the next pose.
To perform Bow Pose:
- Begin by lying face-down on your belly.
- Inhale and gently squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lift your chest off the floor.
- Next, raise your legs off the floor. Bend your knees and push your feet towards your head.
- Reach back with your arms and grab your ankles from the outside. This pose is quite challenging, so you may need a strap.
- Press your belly into the matt and gaze at a spot on the wall.
- Stay in this position for 3-5 breaths and release your arms and legs back to the floor.
- Repeat 5 times.
Before you shake your head at the idea of getting into and holding a plank position, hear us out! First, this yoga pose can be modified and still yield positive benefits. Secondly, when done correctly, you will engage and strengthen your abdomen which will increase blood flow to the area causing discomfort.
- Start on your yoga mat in a push up position – forearms on the floor.
- Keep your elbows below your shoulders and toes.
- Push up off the ground, while keeping your hips and back straight.
- For a tougher variation, prop yourself up on one arm and drive your hips towards the ceiling (side-plank)
- Draw your navel towards your spine, while keeping your torso straight.
- Hold this plank position for 3 breaths and release back to the ground.
- For a modified version, adjust the weight of your legs from your toes to your knees.
- Repeat five times.
9. Standing Forward Fold
This yoga pose reduces bloat by promoting circulation in the belly and digestive tract.
- Stand tall with your hands on your hips.
- Hinge forward until your torso rests on top of your thighs.
- If necessary, bend your knees so there's no gap.
- Grab opposite elbows and hang gently.
- If you’re more flexible, place the palms of your hands on the floor.
- Inhale and exhale in this position for 30 seconds and return to standing.
Final Word on Yoga for Stomach Pain
Abdominal pain can be difficult to diagnose. Food sensitivities, menstrual pain, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome can all cause bloating. Breathing in too much air can also be a culprit. Although a laxative or pain reliever can help, we also suggest a natural approach to eliminating stomach bloat.
Our 5-Minute Yoga stretches will help rid your body of excess air and promote blood flow to the abdomen and digestive organs. A daily yoga practice can also reduce stress levels.
The benefits of yoga or overwhelming, it’s no wonder yoga has been practiced for over 5000 years.