Eat, Drink & Be Merry!
The festive season is a time for joy, cheer and indulgence. We move from advent calendars & selection boxes to 3 (or 4 or 5) course feasts to nibbles & after dinner mints on more than one occasion. There are lunches, dinners, drinks, work night outs, family get togethers and catch ups with friends before the New Year. We can all end up fitting about 3 months worth of feasting in to 2 weeks, and quite right too!
I don’t believe in feeling guilt or shame for enjoying yourself during a period of the year where ‘Eat, Drink & Be Merry’ is the motto.
Unfortunately however with the indulgence can come discomfort. We can spend Christmas evening or Boxing Day feeling bloated, uncomfortably full and downright miserable for it.
So what can you do when popping antacids just isn’t cutting it?
Try these 3 poses that will help create space in your body and soothe your digestive system!
This pose is wonderful to do at any time you are feeling bloated or uncomfortable. It creates space in the abdomen alongside stimulating the lower body.
To come into Hero Pose:
Start in tabletop/all fours with the knees close together and the feet wider than hip distance apart
Slide your hips back as you press the tops of the feet down, bringing the hips to the mat in between the heels
Roll the calves out of the way with the hands, draw your belly button in and up, ground down through your sit bones and lengthen through the crown of the head
You can stay in this position for as long as you like, trying to spend at least 5 to 10 deep belly breaths here.
If you are new to this pose or have any issues with your knees, please do not sit with the hips in between the heels. Sit instead with the hips on a block or bring the heels together and sit on them directly. You can also place a blanket in between your hips and heels to make the pose more comfortable.
Twists are wonderful poses for our digestive system. They switch on the ‘rest and digest’ part of our nervous system as well as stimulating our ‘detox’ organs, the liver and kidneys. Try Bharadvajasana to experience all those great benefits.
To come into Bharadvajasana:
From kneeling shift your hips to right so that your feet end up to the side of your left hip
Take your right finger tips behind you and bring your left hand to the right thigh. Press your sit bones to the mat to lengthen the spine as you inhale. Then gently twist the torso to the right so you are turning away from your feet
The left hand is gentle on the right thigh as you inhale to lengthen and exhale to perhaps move a little deeper into the twist. Your head and neck may follow. Do not pull with the left hand, this is just there as an anchor, instead think about the collar bones staying wide and the left side of the chest remaining open
Stay for a few breaths and then gently release back to centre
Repeat on the other side
For most people it will be necessary to place a blanket under the hips to even them out in this twist. If this doesn’t feel comfortable for your knees please take another suitable twist such as Half Lord of the Fishes or Reclined Twist.
This is the king of poses when it comes to beating the bloat, which is exactly what you would imagine from something that in English means wind relieving pose!
This pose does what it says and if you are in discomfort with indigestion and trapped wind it is a great way to ease the pain.
To come into Pawanmuktasana:
Lie on your back and gently hug both knees in towards your chest
Wrap your arms around your knees and lightly hold opposite hands, wrists or forearms
Lengthen through the spine relaxing the head down and ensuring that the sacrum (lower back) stays connected to the mat. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, breathing deeply into the belly
This pose can also be taken one leg at a time. To do this after hugging the knees into the chest, release the left leg long keeping the right knee hugged in. Hold for 5-10 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
One last thing…
While these poses are great to help make space in the body, there are a few other things you can do to help support your digestion during the holiday season:
Stay Hydrated – Make sure you are still getting your water in
Move – Movement is essential for a healthy digestive system, so make sure that your getting a little light exercise in. Even if it just walk from the couch to the fridge!
Rest – While it can be tempting to feel like you need to ‘walk it off’ after a big meal, give your body some time to digest before you get going.
Here’s to a very indulgent festive season!