Belly bloat is a common part of life, even if you stay active and maintain a healthy diet. Sometimes, certain foods such as gels taken during long runs don't agree with the stomach or stress gets the best of our intestines. The key to reducing this bloat is to work postures into your routine that will help things move through your body, almost like a cleanse.
Kristin McGee, a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor and Health magazine contributing yoga and wellness editor, shares three key moves sure to diminish a bloated belly.
MOVE ONE: Cat/Cow Pose
Start on all fours, inhale to lift your head and tail at the same time; then exhale to tuck your tailbone under and round your head in to your chest. In cow pose, you want to drop your tummy and chest toward the floor and in cat you want to use your abdominals to round your back as much as you can toward the ceiling. Arch and round the spine 8 to 10 times.
Why it Works: "The cat/cow pose reduces belly bloat as it stretches and contracts the abdominal region, all in one move," McGee says.
MOVE TWO: Crescent Lunge
Start on all fours, then lunge your right foot forward. Slide your left knee back a bit on the mat and shift your hips forward as you lift your arms up and arch your chest back. Keep your lower back long, your abdominals and pelvic floor engaged and arch out of your upper back. Keep your shoulders soft as you reach long through your arms. Hold 5 to 8 breaths.
Why it Works: "By doing a lunge, you are opening up the front of body, stretching your abs, hip flexors and psoas muscles," McGee says. "Tight psoas muscles can compete with organs and cause your belly pain and bloating."
MOVE THREE: Seated Spinal Twist
Start seated with your right knee bent underneath you and step your left foot outside your right thigh (if your hips are too tight, you can keep the right leg straight). Lift up out of your lower back and wrap your right arm around your left knee, place your left hand behind your back and twist to the left. Inhale to lengthen taller; exhale to twist deeper. Hold 5 to 8 breaths then repeat on the opposite side.
Why it Works: "This seated spinal twist stimulates digestion and helps to relieve gas," says McGee, who advises ending with this move.
Photo Credit: Appcession
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