Yoga For An Aching Belly

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This post comes from our contributor Kristen Hedges.

So far, I’ve been blessed with a rather easy pregnancy. I missed out on morning sickness all together, and haven’t had many symptoms other than a bit of fatigue, and an increased likelihood to cry my face off during the Free People catalog videos. My pregnancy has already introduced me to a lovely community of local mamas, many of whom have been spending their first trimester either in the bathroom, or laying in bed with lingering nausea. Luckily, I have a few yoga tricks up my sleeve, as well as many herbal remedies {ginger and peppermint, all day long} to ease their discomfort.

Whether it’s from the flu, or pregnancy, or because you really shouldn’t have opted for thirds, these four yoga asanas will help to relieve the pain & discomfort that accompanies unhappy digestion. So slip into something comfortable, cozy yourself up in bed, and begin to heal with gentle movement.

Cat & Cow.

You can begin on your hands & knees, with a flat back. Inhale softly here, and simply notice the space between your fingers, and the pressure with which you’re pressing into the mat, or the mattress. Exhale, and close your eyes.

Inhale, drop your belly down, lift your chin up, and tip your tailbone towards the ceiling. Allow your stomach to relax here – there’s no need to suck in.

yoga for aching belly

Exhale, drop your head and round your spine, allowing your neck to relax, and the muscles in your abdomen to engage.

yoga for aching belly

Repeat a few times, with your breath. If it feels good to you, maybe allow a little movement into your hips, toying with the position & adjusting where you see fit. The subtle shifting between an open belly & a belly that’s tucked in will help to relieve bloating & stagnant digestion.

Seated Forward Fold.

Transition slowly to your bottom, with your legs extended in front of you. Inhale, and straighten your spine. Exhale, and relax your shoulders away from your ears. Now, inhale, reaching your arms up high overhead, stretching out each finger, and as you exhale, hinge at the hips and fold forward, reaching for your knees, or your shins, or your toes – wherever your hands naturally fall is perfectly fine.

yoga for aching belly

yoga for aching belly

Make sure to keep your spine somewhat straight here, rather than rounded. Allow your belly to relax, and expand fully into the support of your thighs. Stay here for a few breaths before gently sitting back up.

Reclining Spinal Twist.

You can relax your back down onto the mat, or the mattress, and rest for a moment with your knees bent. Breathe deeply here, noticing the tension releasing from your spine.

yoga for aching belly

Allow your left leg to straighten, while your right knee remains bent. Using your left hand, grab hold of your knee & slowly bring it down to touch on the left side. If resting your knee down on the mat isn’t available to you, you may place a blanket or a pillow under your knee to gain a bit of height.

Extend your right arm out to the right, and let your head turn that way as well. Close your eyes, and inhale fully into the twist. Any kind of spinal twist will also help to wring out & massage the internal organs, including the belly & the intestines. This helps to relieve bloating, pain & even nausea.

yoga for aching belly

When you’ve rested on the left side for a few breaths, you may bring your right knee back to center, hug it to your chest, and then let it straighten. Then, repeat on the opposite side. Bend the left knee, and using the right hand, twist over to the right. Extend the left arm out & gaze softly towards your fingers.

Bound Angle Pose.

Sit comfortably, with a straight spine, and bring the bottoms of your feet together. You may rest your hands either on your knees, or a bit behind you – whichever feels most comfortable to you. As you inhale here, allow your belly to fully expand.

yoga for aching belly

Relax your shoulders away from your ears, lengthen your spine, and sigh all of your air back out. Usually, this pose works as a hip opener. But when coupled with an open heart, deep breathing & a relaxed frame of mind, it can help to relieve some of the stress that’s causing your muddled digestion. Rest here for as long as you’d like.

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Comments

Ella Wild -March 10, 2014, 7:20AM

I ♡♡♡♡♡ Yoga. I try to make it to two to three Hot yoga classes a week.
The only problem is u hate waiting around for my teacher to show. he’s a great
teacher and knows a lot but he always shows up 15-30 late…. so rude…

Ella xoxox

meg -March 10, 2014, 8:53AM

Thanks for the tip! I would MUCH rather try than take something. Natural is always better!

http://happinessiscreating.com/

Megan -March 10, 2014, 9:32AM

Just reading this makes me feel zen. I will definitely be doing this tonight before bed to ease any tummy troubles. Thank you for this Kristen!

LamentingLizzie -March 10, 2014, 9:59AM

Cat and Cow is my savior for like….. everything. I think it’s because I tend to carry most of my muscle tension in my lower back, but it always feels soooooo good.

Juliette Laura -March 10, 2014, 10:49AM

Cat Cow always makes me feel better. Perfect post!

juliettelaura.blogspot.com

Tereza -March 10, 2014, 1:21PM

Yoga is a amazing, such a beautiful practice for your body and soul

http://lifeandcity.tumblr.com

Nicole -March 10, 2014, 3:38PM

I wish I could do these at work… #stomachache

Margaret -March 11, 2014, 10:36AM

Just be wary of twists if you are pregnant! Wringing out internal organs is great, unless there is a baby in there!

Kristen -March 12, 2014, 10:28AM

Good call, Margaret! I forgot to mention that in there. I’m still in my first trimester {out next week}, so I’ll personally be practicing twists until the 2nd trimester.

elle north -April 9, 2014, 5:24AM

Be careful with twists — it’s not recommended for to-be mammas. xo

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