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‘I’m a Yoga Teacher and Acupuncturist, and These Are the three Moves I Do Whenever I’m Having Digestion Issues’

Yoga will help with so many things facets of our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. And that features our digestion. Yoga practice can reduce stress helps regulate the gut-brain axis. Even recent research suggests this yoga could be a cure for IBS.

And in the course of the holiday season, when well-being conscious people bask in festivities after which search for a yogic antidote, you will often see flatulence-relieving poses popping up in circulation. But poses are only one among them eight limbs of yoga. To truly embrace the practice, respect its roots, and feel its effects, we’d like to approach yoga holistically, reminiscent of bringing the correct focus and breath into each flow.

Yoga instructor Sara Sas, RYT, LAc., also adds acupressure to it. Also a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, she recently shared with Well + Good that when she has digestive issues, she combines certain yoga poses with acupressure (i.e. no needles!). This gives her extra relief and digestive support. Here he shares his three ideas.

1. Windproof Pose (Pawanmuktasana)

  1. Lying in your back, inhale and straighten each legs. As you exhale, bring your knees to your chest with each hands, connecting the tops of your thighs to your stomach/chest.
  2. In this position, take a couple of deep breaths, allowing your body to calm down and loosen up.
  3. Find your acupressure point (details below) and massage it for a few minute, holding this position while continuing to breathe deeply and mindfully.

Acupressure point: Stomach 36

Find it: Place your hand slightly below the other knee, with the side of your index finger along the bottom of your kneecap. About the tip of your little finger, just outside your tibia, you will find this digestive acupressure point.

Why it really works:

“By itself, Pawanmuktasana is an excellent pose for relieving gas and bloating because it helps expel air trapped within the digestive tract,” says Sas. “Combining this with acupressure on the command point of the abdomen, in accordance with Traditional Chinese Medicine, advantages the stomach and spleen by helping to nourish digestion, regulate bowel movements, and expel winds. It’s a win-win situation for each parties.”

2. Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)

  1. With your feet wider than hip-width apart, turn your toes outward. (Think: sumo squat or grand plié second position)
  2. Sink right into a squat, pulling your tailbone up barely while keeping your thighs externally rotated. Lock your abs and keep your spine straight along with your shoulder blades relaxed.
  3. Raise your heels by putting your weight into the balls of your feet.
  4. Lower your heels, transferring your weight to the back of your foot to lift your toes.
  5. Bend on the waist to grab your toes and stimulate your pressure points (see below for location). You can do it separately.
  6. Repeat raising and lowering your heels, focusing your attention on the acupressure point.
  7. Finish along with your feet flat on the bottom.

Acupressure point: Kidney 1

Find it: “this point is largely the middle of the only of the foot,” says Sas. (Think more in regards to the bottom of the metatarsals than the underside of the arch.)

Why it really works:

“Goddess pose helps generate heat throughout the body, and increased circulation will help with digestion,” says Sas. Adding the Kidney 1 acupressure massage can enable you focus. “Breathe deeply, sending energy to your feet to feel grounded, supported and robust,” says Sas. “When we’re grounded and focused, our digestion is supported.” The reverse can be true: after we are stressed, our digestion takes its toll.

3. Sitting Twist (Parivrtta Sukhasana)

  1. Sitting cross-legged, along with your spine straight and the highest of your head facing the sky, place your left hand in your right knee.
  2. Keeping your spine straight, twist to the correct, placing your right hand behind you on the ground, near your hip. Make sure you do not go too far and lose your posture.
  3. Look over your right shoulder and breathe deeply into the twist.
  4. In this position, locate and massage the acupuncture point along with your left hand (location described below).
  5. Change the cross-legged position (if the correct leg was on top, bring the left leg up) and repeat the exercise on the other side, ensuring you might be still respiration deeply.

Acupressure point: Spleen 21

Find it: “this point it’s called “The Great Embrace” and it’s on the side of the chest,” says Sas. “It could be easily stimulated if you twist your spine in a seated position as you cuddle.”

Why it really works:

Twisting poses are a well-liked alternative for digestive health, and for good reason: twisting your torso helps stimulate your digestive organs.

With a simple twist when seated, especially when starting with a turn right, you might be massaging the ascending colon after which the descending colon, turning to the left, helping to “move things”, as they are saying. Adding some acupressure enhances this effect. “Spleen 21 moves Qi [energy] and blood,” explains Sas. “It transforms stagnation within the body, especially across the diaphragm, which [according to TCM] helps in higher digestion.

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