Try these yoga poses to help reduce bloating

You have more control over your stretch since you are doing this twist pose from a seated position.  PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES 

What you need to know:

  • These yoga poses move your body into shapes that help gas travel through the digestive system and decrease that tight, pressurised feeling in your belly. 

Few things are as uncomfortable as bloating. Bloating is the uncomfortable feeling of being too full, usually caused by food intolerance, gas buildup, or even constipation. It is also caused by overeating.

Other than causing a swollen stomach, bloating can also cause nausea and excessive flatulence. If you feel better after belching or passing wind, that is also a sign that you are bloated. 

A bloated stomach can stand in the way of deep sleep at night, cause discomfort on long commutes, and kill your ability to have a productive day at work. Bloating is torturous. It is a nuisance. If only there were simple ways to relieve oneself of it. 

As it turns out, there are simple exercises that one can do to cause movement in the gut and cause relief.

According to Dr Ntege Ssengendo, a sports physician, taking hot tea or compressing the belly with a hot water bottle may help stop bloating but when these fail to work, some exercises can help. 

“There are exercises that can help, mostly yoga poses. But doing some cardio first before engaging in these exercised increases their effectiveness. Some of these exercises include the torso twist, the cat-cow and extended puppy pause, among others,” Dr Ssengendo says.  
1. Torso Twist
The torso is the part of the human body that starts at the neck and ends at the groin and tail bone. The torso twist exercise, therefore, involves twisting movements in this area. It is meant to create movement in the belly so that trapped gas, liquid, or solids in the gut can start moving and create relief. It also increases blood flow to digestive organs such as the stomach, waking them up to work, according to experts.
Doing torso twist

  • Stand up straight with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your arms to make your fists touch in front of your chest.
  • Rotate your torso and shoulders from side to side.
  • Or, lie on a mat with outstretched arms and knees bent above your belly. 
  • Activate your core and move your knees left and right, letting your thigh touch the ground.
  • Ensure your upper back stay unmoved as much as possible. 

2. Cat-Cow
This exercise is very popular with young children. It involves arching one's back up and down, creating movement in the gut. It is named so because of how cats arch their backs outward when they are stretching and how low cows’ bellies hung. 
Doing the cat-cow

  • Position yourself on all fours like a cow, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. 
  • Make sure your spine and neck are aligned.
  • Engage your core and arch your back like a cat and hold the pose for 10 seconds, while breathing.
  • Let your back come down to normal position and arch it downwards to make your belly hung low look like a cow’s belly. Hold the pose for 10 seconds.
  • Keep repeating for about ten minutes. 

3. Extended puppy pose
You know how dogs stretch their front legs in front of them so that the dog’s neck lies flat on the ground while extending their behind into the air? That is what this exercise was based on. It helps relieve bloating that came as a result of overeating because, according to experts, it relaxes the stomach.
Doing the extended puppy pose

  • Kneel on a mat and plant your arm onto the mat to appear like a dog on its fours, with your hands straight below your shoulders and your knees straight below your hips. Walk your hands a few inches forward
  • Exhale and lower your chest down while keeping your arms straight, pushing your buttocks backwards until your forehead reaches the mat.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.

4. Sphinx pose
This pose is when you lie face down, flat like an envelope before planting your elbows to raise your chest and head off the mat. It stretches the abdominal muscles and massages the digestive organs, moving the bloated gut and causing relief. 
Doing the sphinx pose

  • Lie face down with your elbows bent and palms next to your chest.
  • Keeping your belly down, raise just your chest and head by bending your spine. 
  • Your leg and glute muscles should be relaxed during this exercise.
  • Stretch your abdominal muscles and hold the pose for a few seconds before relaxing yourself back to the mat.
  • Repeat five times.

5. One-Legged seated spinal twist 
According to, you have more control over your stretch since you are doing this twist pose from a seated position. 

  • Sit with your legs extended.
  • Bend your right knee and place your heel close to your body.
  • Reach your right arm behind you and place your palm on the floor. Your left elbow goes outside the right knee to help you twist.
  • Stay for five or more breaths, deepening the stretch every time you exhale.
  • Then release the twist and repeat on the other side.

Who should limit or avoid yoga?
Yoga is typically a safe exercise for most people. Some individuals may need to use caution and talk with a healthcare provider before doing yoga or avoid it altogether. They include older adults, pregnant people, and individuals with arthritis, balance problems, glaucoma, lumbar spine disease, preexisting injuries and severe high blood pressure

People with health conditions affected by heat, such as lung disease or heart disease, should consider avoiding hot yoga. This type of yoga is done in temperatures up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.