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Marie Claire
Marie Claire
Chloe Gray

Constantly in pain? These are the only yoga poses for bloating that actually work, according to two experts

Best yoga poses for bloating: A woman doing yoga

You've all been there: woken up super bloated (thanks, PMS) and immediately reached for your phone to search for the best yoga poses for bloating. That, or perhaps you've eaten your food a little too quickly and are wondering how to aid digestion and avoid the dreaded painful stomach situ.

Either way, you're in the right place. Different types of yoga can really aid that painful, bloated feeling, according to studies - one 2017 study reported that 12 weeks of yoga was just as good as the infamous FODMAP diet for improving IBS symptoms, while a 2016 study reported that a similar-length yoga course eased severe abdominal swelling before and during periods. 

The main benefit of yoga for bloating? It can provide instant relief. "Yoga can give both short-term and longer-term relief from bloating," explains dietitian Sophie Medlin who specialises in gut health. "A regular practice will mean that you will feel more confident with the poses and your form is likely to improve over time, while stomach-stimulating poses can ease bloating immediately."

Senior yoga and breathwork teacher and founder of Yoga Collective London Laura Pearce agrees that yoga can be great for bloating, saying: "There are certainly ways in which yoga can relieve trapped wind, menstrual symptoms, and some other causes of bloating."

Together, Pearce and Medlin have shared the best way to implement yoga into your life for bloating. To elevate your practice, don't forget to check out our guides to the best yoga mats. If you're new to yoga, it might be worth checking out our beginner guide to yoga and edits of the best yoga for flexibility and yoga for lower back pain, while you're here.

Best yoga poses for bloating: your guide

How can yoga help bloating?

So, what exactly is it about yoga that can ease bloating and stomach discomfort? It depends on what's causing your pain, of course, but whether it's period bloat or food-related swelling, yoga can stimulate the gut to ease discomfort. 

"During most dynamic yoga practices there tend to be a lot of twist actions - movements that rotate the spine and massage the internal organs. Twists can be great for shifting and stagnant energy in the gut, and manually helping things ‘move along’ so they can be particularly beneficial for intestinal tract-based bloat symptoms," explains Pearce. 

Medlin adds: "Certain yoga poses help gas move through the digestive tract more efficiently and reduce that feeling of built-up air" which can alleviate bloating.

Bloating more down to the time of the month? "Yoga also helps improve bloating, swelling and pain during menstruation. Whilst many of these effects can also be seen in general movement and exercise practices, yoga can be a more gentle and less demanding form of exercise that’s generally more enjoyable if you’re experiencing bad period pains," says Pearce.

Not to mention, yoga is known for its mental health-boosting properties, and the gut-brain axis is an important element of bloating. "Stress has also been shown to be a significant cause of bloating as it can create inflammation in the gut as well as significant bacterial imbalances, so the classical stress-busting effects that yoga has can reduce stress-related bloating if practised consistently," explains Pearce. 

The best yoga poses for bloating

1. Wind removing pose (Pavanamuktasana)

What? "This pose does what it says on the tin - massages the colon to help remove gas," says Pearce.

How? Lying down, pull your right knee into your chest. Massage the digestive tract by moving your leg or compress by holding and squeezing. Swap to the left side - this order is important as the right side works the ascending colon and the left does the descending colon, so it's in mechanical order.

How long? Aim to hold the pose for 45 seconds to a minute.

2. Seated twist

What? "As mentioned, the twist effect is a great way to shift bloat, and performing it seated means gravity can help to enhance the downward effects," says Pearce.

How? A simple seated swift simply involves you sitting upright with a long spine, and turning your chest and shoulders round to one side, whilst keeping your hips static. For extra compression, you can bend your legs in towards your chest. 

How long? Aim to hold the pose for 45 seconds to a minute.

3. Standing forward fold (Uttanasana)

What? "There are lots of different types of forward fold you can try, and these can have a nice effect on your gut as forward folds compress the stomach and release the colon," says Pearce.

How? Lean the torso forward over your legs to feel a stretch through your hamstrings. 

How long? Aim to hold the pose for 45 seconds to a minute.

4. Child's pose (Balasana)

What? "Child’s pose is my go-to cure-all posture, it’s such a calming place for the body and mind and is particularly therapeutic for the lower back and pelvis," says Pearce. "Child’s pose can help relieve nausea and at the very least relieve some of the uncomfortable side effects associated with bloating."

How? From a kneeling position, open your knees wide and push your glutes back to your heels. Bring your head to the floor and extend your arms in front of you. 

How long? Aim to hold the pose for 45 seconds to a minute.

5. Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)

What? "This is a well-known pose for digestion as it puts pressure on your stomach and stretches out the abdomen," says Medlin. 

How? Lie on your stomach and place your hands on either side of your chest, then squeeze your glutes, roll your shoulders back and lift your chest, stomach and hips off the floor. 

How long? Aim to hold the pose for 45 seconds to a minute.

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What's the best type of yoga for bloating?

Pretty much all types of yoga are best for bloating, from faster paced, dynamic vinyasa to slow, stretchy yin. But is one type better than the rest? 

"There is some research that shows hot yoga specifically helps reduce inflammation, and a lot of people feel that a deep sweat help release water bloat," says Pearce. But ultimately, the best yoga pose is the one that you can commit to, especially for the long term de-bloating effects. 

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