Inflammation is part of your body’s defense mechanism. It’s a necessary evil when you’re sick or injured and sparks your body into healing. Chronic inflammation however, happens when our body doesn’t need it. Think of it as an overreaction, in which your immune system tries too hard to protect your body. Inflammation of the stomach in particular can be painful, unpleasant, and induce unwanted side effects.
Luckily, there are ways to reduce stomach inflammation that don’t simply rely on taking medication. Practicing yoga regularly along with a healthy and balanced diet, is one of those ways. As both a yoga RYT-200 teacher and Cornell University certified wellness counselor, I thought it would be helpful to share the best yoga poses to reduce inflammation with you.
Yoga is just one incredibly useful tool in your body’s battle against inflammation. It’s not the only way to reduce inflammation and should be used in tandem with other lifestyle changes. But, its effects on the body and mind can prove incredibly useful.
Inflammation can be caused by stress, and yoga is a proven stress reducer. Likewise, yoga can contribute to a healthier body through weight loss and better flexibility and strength, all of which support a reduction in chronic inflammation.
Yoga has been shown to reduce inflammatory markers, and it does this in a few ways. For one, yoga is great at reducing stress and making yogis feel calmer. Naturally, all exercise has a positive impact on mental health, but the slow pace of yoga coupled with the breathwork and meditation often involved in yoga is a masterclass in improving mental health.
Carrying out a yoga session in and of itself is relaxing. Additionally, carving out time for yourself away from the problems and projects of day-to-day life reduces stress.
There are certain yoga poses that help to a greater extent with stomach inflammation due to their strengthening of certain muscles as well as their calming effect on the body. If you are struggling with inflammation, you might benefit from sticking to a more chilled type of yoga like vinyasa yoga, rather than sweaty, high-impact yoga like Bikram yoga.
Yes, there are certain yoga poses to help reduce inflammation! Here’s my list of the best anti-inflammatory yoga poses and an explanation of why.
The child’s pose is a classic yoga pose, and it’s easy for even beginners to master. To get into this pose, start on your hands and knees before slowly lowering your body so your bottom is situated on your heels.
Stretch your arms out in front of you, reaching as far as possible so that you feel a stretch through your arms and back. Hold the stretch for as long as feels right for you, taking deep breaths in and out as you do so. Child’s pose is one of the most relaxing yoga poses, so it’s extremely helpful in reducing stomach inflammation.
A forward bend is as simple as it sounds. You just lean your body forward getting as close as you can get to touching your toes. Keep your knees straight, but don’t lock them. Forward bends are great for stress and anxiety, which can reduce inflammation not just in your stomach, but your whole body too.
This intermediate yoga pose is great for grounding your body for calming vibes. It also stretches out your torso, reducing inflammation in your stomach area.
To perform a low lunge twist, you’ll need to move into a lunge position with one knee bent in front of you at a 90-degree angle, and the other stretched out behind you. From there, put one hand on the floor and slowly twist your body to the side, keeping one hand down and raising the other to the sky. After returning to the lunge gently, swap legs and practice on the other side.
Bridge pose gently stretches both your chest and abdomen, making it great for relieving pain and discomfort in your stomach. Likewise, it’s simple and relaxing enough to engage your parasympathetic nervous system, making you feel calmer and relieving stress.
To perform the bridge pose, lie on your back with your knees bent and hip-width apart, before slowly raising your hips but keeping your feet on the ground until your body shape resembles a bridge. Hold the pose for as long as you can while deep breathing at the same time.
Seated twists are perfect for stretching out your middle section. They help with abdominal discomfort and releasing any trapped gas. To perform this movement, start sitting cross-legged on the floor.
Next, bring your right hand to your left knee and put your left hand behind you, moving your body into a twist. Repeat on the other side.
This incredibly calming pose is perfect for stretching out your mid-section. To get started, lie on your back with your arms out to the side and bend your knees.
You should then slowly pull one knee up and twist it over to the other side of your body until you feel the stretch down the twisted leg and side. Repeat the supine twist on the other side for maximum inflammation reducing results.
The waterfall pose is an incredibly healing pose and a must try if you’re struggling with inflammation. It’s simple to do too. Simply lie on your back near a wall with your arms stretched out at either side.
Next, extend your legs to the sky (rest them against a wall if needed). Keep your legs straight, but not locked. Deep breathing techniques will help you to get the most out of this pose and reduce inflammation in the process.
This pose really is as fun as it sounds. I see the happy baby pose as an act of self-care, a way to relieve tension and bring joy to your life. You definitely need more these things if you plan on reducing inflammation.
To do happy baby, start by lying flat on your back and bend your knees toward your chest at a 90-degree angle. The soles of your feet should point at the ceiling. Grab and hold your feet (inside or outside) and spread your knees. Now, gently rock from side to side. As the name suggests you’ll resemble a happy baby.
This tension-relieving pose is perfect for reducing inflammation. The name speaks for itself too. You essentially lie on your back with both your arms and legs straight and spread at a 45 degree angle.
Let go of all the tension in your body. While it sounds a little bleak as you resemble a dead body, it’s perfect for relaxing your body and letting go of stress.
Breathwork is a crucial part of any yoga practice and is absolutely key in helping to bring down stomach inflammation. Deep breathing is a proven stress reducer. It helps reverse your body out of fight-or-flight mode and undo unnecessary inflammation.
There are plenty of different breathing methods including alternative nostril breathing and the 4-7-8 breathing technique. With alternative nostril breathing you breathe in through one nostril and out through the other using fingers to cover your nostrils.
To do 4-7-8 breathing, you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and breathe out for 8 seconds. Try a few breathing techniques and discover which one works best for you when it comes to reducing inflammation and stress.
That covers my list of the best yoga poses to reduce inflammation. But before I sign off I also want to share my bundle of online yoga classes too. I designed these classes with the sole purpose of using yoga to reduce stress and anxiety. So this is perfect for anyone looking to use yoga to reduce stomach inflammation.
On top of that, the videos are short, so they are perfect for those with a busy schedule that need to fit in quick workouts each day. Just click below to learn more and sign up!
If you are struggling with stomach inflammation, you can use the above yoga poses for help reducing it.
You can reduce the symptoms of inflammation and feel better with just a few lifestyle changes, including more yoga. By practicing yoga just a few times per week, you can reduce not only your stomach inflammation, but general inflammation too. It is helpful to select from the yoga poses discussed above to reduce inflammation to the maximum effect.
Other helpful lifestyle changes include eating a gut healthy diet with as many fruits and veggies as possible, reducing stress, and walking outdoors as much as possible. Stress relief is a key component of reducing inflammation.
Avoid becoming burnt out and invest in plenty of self-care. With just a few changes and regular yoga practice, you’ll feel better in no time.