After Thanksgiving, the type of stretching most people think about is the elastic-waistband kind. But don’t let your holiday be plagued by an indigestion infestation. A few simple yoga maneuvers can help.
It’s the third chakra of your body, located in the solar plexus, that Thanksgiving is most concerned with—it represents solar power, or fire, and your body’s metabolism. Psychologically, the transformational nature of fire also relates to our personal will power. Having second thoughts about that second helping? Downward Turkey pose, anyone? Our friends at Women's Fitness recommend these simple exercises to improve digestion. (Caution: do not do these poses if you have back problems, a hiatal hernia or are pregnant.)
1. Lie on your stomach with your forehead on the floor. Draw your legs together. Place your hands under your shoulders with your fingers spread apart. Move your elbows close to your body. Relax your shoulders and keep them lowered away from your ears throughout the pose. Squeeze your buttocks, and press your hipbones and pubic bone into the floor.
2. Using the muscles in your back, lift your upper body, beginning with your forehead. Next, lift your nose, your neck, and your shoulders, and finally, your upper chest.
Press down into your palms to lift your middle torso off the floor, as pictured. Imagine that you are a strong and flexible cobra. Breathe deeply as you hold here for 3 to 10 breaths.
3. To release, keep your buttocks squeezed as you slowly roll back down to the floor, starting with your middle torso and ending with your nose and forehead. Turn your head to one side and rest quietly. Let go of any tension.
Bent Elbow Spinal Twist
1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Throughout this posture, be sure that your sitting bones are firmly on the floor and that you maintain a tall spine. Do not round your back; sitting on the edge of a cushion can prevent this.
2. Bend your right knee and plant your right foot on the floor near the inside of your left knee or thigh. Lift your left arm out in front of you, bend your elbow, and place your elbow on the outside of your bent right knee with your palm facing away from you. Put your right hand on the floor behind you.
3. Twist your torso to the right to look behind you, as pictured, and hold for 3 to 10 breaths. Each time you inhale, lengthen your spine to grow taller. Each time you exhale, twist to the right a little more. Imagine that your belly is doing the twisting.
4.To release, slowly turn back to center and extend your legs out in front of you. Repeat on the opposite side.
Visit Women's Fitness to see more yoga poses.
- Jeff Koelemay