Yoga is known to be an effective remedy against many somatic and psychosomatic diseases. Many of which haven’t been fully understood by medical science yet. Belly bloat for one is a common gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that doctors are still trying to figure out.
However, while further studies about bloating and its treatment are necessary and hopefully on the way, yoga has proven to be a safe method to get it under control. We shall talk about how you can use yoga for belly bloat in a while but first let’s understand what it really is.
Belly Bloat: your personal nightmare!
Belly bloat has many names and faces. For a common person, it’s that painful sensation of being gassy and full which most of us try to counter by paying a quick visit to the toilet.
So, a lot of patients describe bloating as an unbearable feeling of fullness, heaviness, tightness, or discomfort in their tummy which is begging for an immediate release. Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility (JNM) defines bloating as “a subjective discomfort by intestinal gas which may or may not result in distension of abdominal girth.”
What causes bloating?
Although bloating is a subjective condition which is usually associated with functional GI disorders, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other organic diseases, it can also occur due to intestinal infections and dietary habits.
This can be seen among patients of all age groups but women are more likely to experience it than men. Reasons being the long reproductive lifespan of a female body and the hormonal changes that are associated with it.
These ever-changing hormonal levels go on to fluctuate until after menopause (ceasing of menstruation for 12 months) which usually occurs between the age of 45-50.
Also, if you’ve suffered from PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) at an early age and experienced some of these symptoms, chances are that you may fall victim to abdominal bloating easily after reaching your 50s.
How to deal with belly bloat?
Sadly, there is no special treatment for belly bloat as of now. Most of the available science-based options revolve around medications ranging from all kinds of antibiotics and probiotics to laxatives and anti-depressants.
The rather safer method includes dietary changes, behavioral and psychological therapies, physical exercises and posture training.
So, the smart thing here would be to change your eating habits and exercise daily in a well-defined way.
And when we talk about combining exercises and diet along with mental focus, and what’s better than yoga therapy!
Yoga: The Belly Bloat Burster
What makes yoga so safe and sound against bloating is its emphasis on treating the human body as a whole rather than examining it at the physical level alone.
Therefore, yoga therapy strongly supports the idea that physical well-being can only be achieved by balancing all the aspects of human life.
That is to say, yoga is an ancient and traditional “mind-body-breath” discipline which involves the unification of your mind, body and soul to attain perfect health.
In fact, the National Institutes of Health argues that Yoga could be used as a safe remedial therapy for managing abdominal bloating and many other GI and IBS related issues.
Therefore, to understand this balanced approach of yoga therapy more clearly, we must first explore the yogic concept of illnesses and treatment that is mentioned in the texts of Panchakosha as the five layers of human existence:
- Physical Body
- Vital Life-Force
All these five layers are intertwined in such a way that working on the first four with total awareness can transcend you to the fifth and final layer of human existence that is Bliss. Bliss is your ultimate goal because that’s where you achieve the perfect balance, harmony, and health.
Christopher Sartain has translated the Panchakosha concepts of human life in laymen terms in his enlightening book: The Sacred Science of Yoga & The Five Koshas. The kindle edition is available in Amazon for free. Grab it before the offer expires for more interesting facts on the science of yoga.
Remedial Yoga Therapy for belly bloat
Yoga therapy is a flexible method of healing with dozens of physical postures and movements that can be merged together with proper breathing and meditation exercises.
The best part is that yoga sequences can be customized as per your individual needs and limits.
I have taken the liberty of creating a special yoga routine for you to target that embarrassing and annoying belly bloat. Let’s get onto it.
(A-U-M, sound three times and OM, three times) puts you into the right mindset towards reaching your goals. So, start by chanting OM thrice followed by repeating your personal resolve for e.g. I am love, or I am slim.
By repeating your resolve, you’re feeding it into your subconscious mind, and boy do we need to talk about the power of your subconscious mind!
Are carried out to stabilize the flow of life-force (prana) in your body. Deep and slow breathing helps regulate your blood circulation and metabolism and reduces that bothersome belly bloat.
You may stretch, stand, sit or lie but make sure to breathe in and out evenly and slowly with your mouth. Here are some of the asanas that you can practice without hampering the rhythm of your breath:
- Moon pose
- Straight leg raises (in supine position)
Plays a vital role in absorbing the effects of yoga therapy. Albeit simple, this basic asana (Corpse pose) can offer you a number of health benefits apart from instant relaxation.
Fat loss, improved concentration and sleep, reduced stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety and tension are some of its superb advantages among many others. That’s why we’d be using it more than any other phase in our special belly bloat destroying yoga routine.
Sithilikarana Vyayama/loosening exercises
Are used to improve the mobility of your joints and muscles. They also help eliminate any tension and lethargy, and any energy blockages in your body. Some of these loosening practices that you can include are:
- Forward and backward bending
- Twisting and side bending
- Wind relieving poses such as Pavanamuktasana Kriya
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to help you follow-up on these loosening exercises.
And now relax with a corpse pose! Simply lie down with your heels spread out and palms facing up. Close your eyes, relax and focus on your breathing. Breathe slowly and let all the toxins and negative emotions out of your body. Stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes to cool down since the next phase of your yoga routine is going to demand strength and energy.
Standing, sitting, prone, and supine, warms up your belly by promoting circulation and digestion. This in turn burns calories and relieves bloating.
These yoga asanas are designed to alleviate any imbalances and dysfunctions from your excretory and reproductive organs that are responsible for urination, defecation, and menstruation.
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective yoga poses for belly bloat that you can choose from:
- Ardhakati cakrasana/half-waist wheel pose
- Ardha cakrasana/half wheel pose
- Padahastasana/hands to feet pose
- Trikonasana/triangle pose
- Parivritta trikonasana/revolved triangle pose
- Vrikshasana/tree pose
- Vakrasana/half spinal twist
- Pascimottanasana/seated forward bend pose
- Bhujangasana/cobra pose
- Shalabhasana/locust pose
- Sarvangasana/shoulder stand
- Viparitakarani with wall support/legs up the wall
- Matsyasana/fish pose
Certainly, again to relax, cool down and prepare for the rest of the session in savasana.
Kriya/cleansing and pranayama/regulated breathing
Are as essential in yoga therapy as the postures themselves. These cleansing and breathing techniques involve fast movement of your internal organs and forceful exhalation of breath (air and gas) from your body respectively.
For example, here are some of the best cleansing and breathing techniques to include in your yoga routine for belly bloat:
- Kapalabhati/forceful exhalation
- Uddiyana Bandha and Agnisara/abdominal lock and rigorous movement of abdomen
- Vibhagiya Svasana/sectional breathing
- NadiShuddhi pranayama/alternate nostril breathing
- Sitali/cooling pranayama
- Sitkari/cooling pranayama
- Bhramari/bee breathing
Integral for your mind, intellect and the final layer of existence i.e., Bliss. Stress and mental conflicts are main partners in crime when we talk about bloating or other excess fat-related issues.
Therefore, it’s important to first work on these emotional imbalances so as to reduce your bowel hypersensitivity. Yoga therapy emphasizes on putting an end to this uncontrollable speed of thoughts in your mind in order to understand and treat its physical consequences such as bloating.
- Nadanusandhana Meditation is a specific meditation technique in which your inner sound is aimed at looking inside thoughtfully. What this means is that your mind must be withdrawn from the external world and noises, and completely focused upon hearing your internal sound.
Closing affirmation of OM
In short, three times is the ideal way to come out of an intense and energetic style of yoga. You may affirm your initial resolve again in a clear and audible voice so as to strengthen that idea in your subconscious.
Although this yoga module has been designed to target your core, particularly to blow-off that belly bloat, the sequence will also work your entire body both internally and externally. Stretching, twisting and bending will provide the much-needed rest to your abdomen while removing any pain, bloating and distension.
In conclusion, by combining the traditional components of yoga therapy such as postures, breathing and meditation, not only can you enhance its therapeutic impact on bloating but many of its comorbidities like anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
A freelance writer, a poet and an avid reader. He’s a passionate wordsmith who believes in writing content which is simple, beautiful and informative. He’s a practised communicator coached by British Academy.
Apart from being a playful scribbler, he’s a hardcore music fan and loves exploring space and science. He is also a spiritual soul and fitness enthusiast. Yoga, meditation and workout are some of his favourite health activities.