Yoga For Gut Health: 8 Poses For Healing & Harmony

The health of your gut is directly related to the health of your entire physical, mental, and emotional body.


The health of your gut is directly related to the health of your entire physical, mental, and emotional body.

In the last few years, the incidence of gut-related diseases and issues has increased exponentially, and so have autoimmune diseases and other environmental conditions, and the demand for specific practices of yoga for gut health has grown.

They say “You are what you eat1 (n.d.). You Are What You Eat | Phrase Definition, Origin & Examples. [online] Available at:” and it is quite true.

What you put in your body does matter, and I am not speaking just about food.

What you choose to consume, including the media you read, the television you watch, and even the relationships that you sustain, will affect your body, mind, and soul.

Although the causes and symptoms of these conditions are varied and sometimes unknown, living stressed out and rushed all the time, doesn’t help us heal.

Yoga is more than just physical postures and also includes meditative and breath work practices, and it can be a great support when you’re working on improving or maintaining a healthy digestive system.

a woman making a love heart with her hands over her stomach

Basic Science Of Yoga And Digestive Health

There is much scientific evidence on the benefits of practicing yoga for gut health, in both modern medicine and more traditional practices like Ayurveda and Chinese medicine agree that there is.

In modern medical terms, stress is known to activate the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response, which can disrupt digestive processes.

When you’re stressed, your body diverts energy and blood flow away from the digestive organs, which can lead to issues.

5 Benefits Of Yoga For Gut Health

Although not all yoga may be suitable when you are dealing with digestive tract issues or discomfort, there are many benefits to practicing gentle, accessible yoga poses.

Here are some of the main benefits of practicing yoga for gut health:

  • Reduces stress
  • Increases blood flow
  • Strengthens the gut-brain connection
  • Balances your nervous system
  • Enhances self-awareness and mindfulness

It is important to speak to your doctor and nutritionist before starting to practice yoga for gut health. Feel free to also consult with an experienced and certified yoga teacher.

To help you find a yoga style that works best for you, especially when experiencing gut health issues.

8 Key poses of yoga for gut health

Please, listen to your body, and if you feel any pain or too much discomfort, come out of the asana, and explore different shapes.

Here are some of the best poses to improve and maintain your gut health:

1# Child’s pose (Balasana)

annotated image of a woman doing child's pose

This is a gentle, restful yoga forward fold posture that is particularly beneficial for gut health.

When you do this asana, you will gently compress the abdomen, which can help stimulate digestion and alleviate bloating or gas.

It’s a great stress reliever, and since stress is a known factor that can negatively affect gut health, practicing Balasana can be very beneficial for overall digestive wellness.

For those with severe acid reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), the forward bending might exacerbate symptoms, especially soon after eating.

Similarly, if you have a hernia, the abdominal pressure in this pose could be uncomfortable or harmful.

For folks with severe IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), or with an ostomy, the compression might trigger symptoms, so it’s essential to listen to your body and adjust as necessary.

For added comfort and to reduce excessive pressure on the abdomen, you can place a bolster or folded blanket between your thighs and calves.

This variation with props allows for a more gentle compression that is soothing rather than overwhelming for your digestive organs.

2# Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)

an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing cat cow pose

These two full body yoga postures combined gently massage your digestive organs and stimulate the gastrointestinal tract, which can help alleviate constipation, bloating, and discomfort.

To practice them, as you inhale, lift your sitting bones and chest towards the ceiling, allowing your belly to dip toward the floor (Cow Pose), opening the front of your body.

Exhale, coming into Cat Pose by rounding your spine upward, tucking in your tailbone, and gazing down toward your thighs or navel.

Repeat this sequence for several breaths, moving your spine from a rounded to an arched position gently.

If you have severe digestive issues such as ulcers or inflammatory bowel disease, the movement might feel uncomfortable or exacerbate symptoms.

Additionally, pregnant women should avoid deep flexion or extension of the abdomen, particularly in the later stages of the pregnancy.

3# Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

annotated image of a woman doing a camel pose

This yoga stretch is particularly effective in stimulating the abdominal organs, improving digestion, and relieving constipation.

The stretching involved in Ustrasana also helps in reducing abdominal cramps and bloating by enhancing blood circulation to your digestive organs.

Camel Pose is a deep backbend and may not be suitable for everyone, especially if you have lower back or neck issues.

If you have a herniated disc, severe back pain, or recent back surgery, it’s advisable to avoid this pose or make sure you speak with your yoga teacher first.

4# Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)

an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing cobra pose

The gentle arching action in Cobra Pose applies mild pressure to the abdominal area.

This pressure can stimulate the internal organs, including the digestive organs like the stomach and intestines.

Such stimulation can help to improve the efficiency of the digestive system, potentially aiding in better digestion and alleviation of constipation.

5# Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing bow pose

When you perform Dhanurasana, your abdominal area is stretched and massaged.

The pressure applied to the abdomen in this pose can also aid in relieving gas and bloating.

Personally, as someone with IBD, this posture is not comfortable for me, so I choose to practice Ardha Dhanurasana2 (n.d.). 3 Ways to Use Props in Ardha Dhanurasana (Half Bow). [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Feb. 2024]. instead when I am feeling well enough to lie on my abdomen.

Dhanurasana strengthens the muscles of the abdomen as well, which can help in supporting proper digestion and preventing issues common issues.

6# Seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana)

an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing seated forward bend Pose

As we talk about reducing stress and anxiety, we have to mention this excellent posture to help you relax, and also improve your digestive health.

The forward bending motion increases blood flow to the abdomen, thereby enhancing the functioning of the digestive organs.

Keep your knees bent and support them with a blanket or bolster so that you reduce the strain on the hamstrings and lower back.

7# Wind-relieving pose (Apanasana)

annotated image of a woman in black yoga clothes doing single leg wind relieving pose

Apanasana is particularly effective in promoting gut health due to its direct impact on the abdominal area.

By gently compressing the stomach and intestines, this pose aids in massaging the internal organs, which can help stimulate bowel movements and relieve gas and bloating, as its name indicates.

To perform this yoga for gut health pose:

  1. Lie flat on your back on a comfortable surface like a yoga mat or your bed.
  2. Bend your knees and bring them towards your chest, wrapping your arms around your shins or hugging underneath your knees.
  3. Gently draw your knees closer to your chest if you’d like, deepening the stretch.
  4. Keep your back flat on the floor, and if possible, your tailbone should make slight contact with the ground, ensuring a full range of motion in the hips.
  5. For some people, rocking side to side can make this posture feel even more soothing.

Apanasana is about nurturing and caring for your body, so it’s important to practice it in a way that is gentle and respectful of your physical limits.

8# Supine Spinal twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing reclined twist Pose

Although a twist can be a massage for the abdominal organs and help with digestion, for those with severe digestive disorders or recent abdominal surgery, the twisting might be uncomfortable or inadvisable.

Try this yoga for gut health and digestion practice with some of the postures of yoga for gut health we’ve explored.

Breathing and Meditation For Your Digestion

Meditation and breathwork techniques performed before, after, or during your yoga for gut health practice, can significantly impact the functioning of your digestive system.

Regular meditation practice has been linked to reduced levels of stress and inflammation3 Gerbarg, P.L., Jacob, V.E., Stevens, L., Bosworth, B.P., Chabouni, F., DeFilippis, E.M., Warren, R., Trivellas, M., Patel, P.V., Webb, C.D., Harbus, M.D., Christos, P.J., Brown, R.P. and Scherl, E.J. (2015). The Effect of Breathing, Movement, and Meditation on Psychological and Physical Symptoms and Inflammatory Biomarkers in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, [online] 21(12), pp.2886–2896. doi: in the body.

This reduction in stress can help alleviate symptoms of various digestive issues, as stress is known to exacerbate conditions like ulcers, IBS, and chronic indigestion.

Breathwork techniques like Agni Sara, help stroke your digestive fire, strengthening your gut health.

Simple breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing or ‘belly breathing,’ expand and contract the abdomen, gently massaging the internal organs and improving oxygen supply to the digestive system.

To Close

Your digestion is often a reflection of your overall health.

One of the greatest disruptors of gut health is stress, and more people are searching for ways to regain balance.

Integrating breathwork, meditation, and yoga for gut health into your daily routine can lead to significant improvements in your digestive health and a greater sense of harmony in your life.

Remember to consult with your doctor and a trusted yoga teacher before you get started with yoga for gut health!

If you want to read about yoga for IBS, read this next!

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Laia is an Afro-Catalan accessible and inclusive yoga & meditation teacher. She has trained in hatha, vinyasa, trauma-informed yoga, yin yoga, and restorative yoga and holds E-RYT 500 and YACEP accreditations with the Yoga Alliance. Additionally, she is a freelance writer and translator, publishing in Catalan, English, and Spanish. As a former professional athlete who lives with a chronic illness, Laia has gained valuable insights into the benefits of self-care and the importance of pausing and slowing down. She is dedicated to sharing accessible and sustainable practices of yoga and meditation to help people create a more harmonious life. Being a black and chronically ill individual, her mission is to empower non-normative yoga teachers to find their unique voices and develop tools to make wellness practices accessible to the communities they serve, thereby taking up space and creating a more inclusive and diverse yoga industry. Furthermore, as a writer and creative, she is passionate about supporting other creatives and innovators. She fosters a genuine community dedicated to finding balance while staying productive and inspired. Laia has developed unique techniques that intertwine yoga and meditation with writing, journaling, and other accessible methods to help each other stay creative and mindful.

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