These five poses can help you beat bloating, according to a yoga teacher

Ease digestive pain and relieve wind with this quick yoga flow

Woman practicing yoga at home, barefoot on a mat, performing a seated pose
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Digestive issues plague Americans; the American College of Gastroenterology estimates that 10-15% of the population suffers from IBS, but only 7% have received a proper diagnosis. 

While moving might feel like the last thing you want to do with a tummy ache, some gentle yoga could get your digestive system moving and ease pain caused by trapped wind. 

We spoke to yoga instructor Nick Higgins, who is the co-founder and head of teaching at Hotpod Yoga: "Certain poses and techniques are said to aid digestion and can relieve related symptoms such as bloating and belly pain. If you’re suffering from digestive issues, these are some poses that I’d recommend, with some simple instructions on how to ‘flow’ between them." 

Nick Higgins of Hotpod Yoga
Nick Higgins

Nick has been teaching yoga for over 10 years and is one half of Hotpod Yoga’s founding duo. Nick’s classes and teaching focuses on both the mental and physical aspects of yoga. His down-to-earth approach and accessibility is what Hotpod is all about, as well as bringing fun and light-heartedness to the practice. In charge of developing and managing the quality of teaching across the Hotpod Yoga network, he has helped hundreds of teachers develop their teaching technique and effectively bring their personality to their classes.

How to do the workout

  • Cat-cow
  • Downward-facing dog
  • Twisting poses
  • Seated forward bend
  • Wind-relieving pose 

Hold each pose for five breaths before moving into the next position.

The exercises

1. Cat-cow pose (marjaryasana-bitilasana) 

  • Begin on your hands and knees in a table pose with a neutral spine.
  • Inhale and tip your pelvis back, dropping your belly towards the floor, lifting your chin and chest, and looking forward and up. This is known as cow pose. 
  • To move into cat pose, exhale and pull your belly into your spine, rounding your back towards the ceiling. This dynamic movement helps to flex and extend the spine, which can stimulate the digestive areas.

2. Downward-facing dog (adho mukha svanasana) 

  • From the previous pose, curl your toes under and spread your fingers evenly on the floor.
  • Keeping your wrists straight, engage your lower belly and draw the navel back to the spine.
  • Press through your hands to lift your hips back and up, bringing yourself into what resembles an upside-down V pose. This pose can stretch out the abdomen area and drawing your navel in can stimulate the digestive area. 

3. Twisting poses (ardha matsyendrasana)

  • From downward dog, walk your hands back and come to sit on your bottom with your legs stretched in front of you.
  • Take the right leg up and over the top of the left leg, so that your right foot rests on the ground outside of your left knee, while keeping the bottom leg outstretched.. 
  • Plant the right hand behind you on the ground and hook the left arm around the right knee, coming into a twist. 
  • Breathe in to lift your torso tall and breathe out to twist, repeating four to five times, before unwinding your legs to repeat on the other side. This pose can help stimulate the digestive organs.

4. Seated forward bend (paschimottanasana)  

  • Move both legs out in front and place your hands on your legs, ankles, or toes, or beside the legs, depending on where feels most comfortable. 
  • Lift yourself up tall, breathe in and fold forward as you exhale into a seated forward bend.
  • While in this position, flex your toes towards your belly, feeling the stretch through your legs. The seated forward bend can stretch the spine and massage the internal organs, supporting your digestion.

5. Wind-relieving pose (pawanmuktasana)  

Yoga teacher Nick Higgins performs wind relieving pose

(Image credit: Hotpod Yoga)
  • Slowly roll the spine up, then roll onto your back. 
  • Bend your right leg and take hold just below the knee/shin with both hands.
  • Draw the leg towards your right shoulder and massage the hip.
  • Hold for three to five breaths and repeat on the left side. As its name suggests, this pose can help to release gas from the digestive system.

Need help finding a new yoga mat? Our guide to the best yoga mats can help.

Lou Mudge
Fitness Writer

Lou Mudge is a Health Writer at Future Plc, working across Fit&Well and Coach. She previously worked for Live Science, and regularly writes for and Pet's Radar. Based in Bath, UK, she has a passion for food, nutrition and health and is eager to demystify diet culture in order to make health and fitness accessible to everybody.

Multiple diagnoses in her early twenties sparked an interest in the gut-brain axis and the impact that diet and exercise can have on both physical and mental health. She was put on the FODMAP elimination diet during this time and learned to adapt recipes to fit these parameters, while retaining core flavors and textures, and now enjoys cooking for gut health.