It may be an uncomfortable topic for some, but what’s more uncomfortable is when your belly is hard and rounded with trapped gas. Bloating typically comes from eating or drinking, especially when we take in too much air.

Yoga can help relieve the discomfort of bloating through different poses that will help you pass gas – there’s even a pose called “Wind Relieving Pose” for just that. Using a few of these poses in one sequence can help you feel better almost instantly while improving your overall digestive health.

1. Poses with a Twist

Think of how your body moves when it twists. When the upper body is turned one way, and the lower body another, you are wringing the gas out from your belly.

You can add a twist variation to quite a few different yoga poses, such as Chair Pose (Utkatasana), where you place your hands in prayer, twist the body to one side, and place the inside elbow on the thigh with the outside elbow turning back.

Another added benefit of Chair Pose is that squeezing your core also helps to force the gas out from your body. An easy seated posture is Marichi's Pose, named from Marichyasana III.

With your sit bone on your yoga mat, one leg is extended while the other is bent with the knee pointing upwards, which can be used as leverage to help hold your twist. Even if you're not flexible in the side body, a gentle twist will work just fine to help rid the body of uncomfortable bloating.

2. Leg-Lifting Poses

If you have ever regretted having eaten before a workout class, a leg-lifting pose was probably why. Lifting your legs helps contract the abdomen and opens the buttocks, which is an ideal position for letting out any trapped air.

Use this position to your advantage when you're bloated by incorporating some leg-lifting poses into your yoga practice. You can giggle when you hear the name of Wind-Relieving Pose (Pavanamuktasana) – it is perfectly okay to take delight in your body! This pose is completed while laying down on the back. One leg is relaxed to the ground, while the other bends towards the tummy.

You can then bring the hands to the calf and help bring the bent leg closer to your chest and stomach. This will reduce clenching while gently pushing the lower stomach to release trapped gas. You can also engage in Waterfall Pose (Viparita Karani) where both legs are lifted with your back remaining flat on the ground.

You can complete this pose against a wall to help hold your legs and still receive the same bloat-alleviating benefits.

3. Poses that Open the Buttocks

You could find that you are clenching the buttocks and that prevents the air from escaping, which is necessary to rid the belly of bloating.

Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana) does just that when both knees are brought to the chest or armpits from a laying down position and the soles of the feet point towards the sky. Similar to a gleeful baby having their diaper changed, you will not only find happiness in this pose but satisfaction at relieving your bloating symptoms.

Bound Angle Pose, or Baddha Konasana in Sanskrit, can also help to open your entire groin area. You can shift the muscles of the buttocks outwards by taking your hand and physically moving each muscle away from the centre, further opening your backside.

You will find it especially difficult to squeeze the bum cheeks together in this pose, making it ideal for releasing the gas.

4. Core-Tightening Poses

Squeezing the core muscles, especially the abdomen, helps contract the stomach to relieve itself of gas. The best asana that brings the entire focus to the core is Boat Pose (Navasana), which, as a bonus, also has your legs in a lifted position.

As the body is balanced on your bottom, you will lean back, and in doing so, tighten your core to keep your balance and keep the back upright. The legs can be lifted to increase the benefits of this pose, but you can still relieve bloating by keeping your knees bent and soles of the feet touching the ground. If holding your arms outright is causing you difficulty, you can place them under the legs on top of the hamstrings to make this asana a little easier.

A variation added to Phalaksana, or Plank Pose can also help the body to relieve gas through a crunching motion. You can steadily bring one bent leg into the chest while keeping the body in plank, which essentially squeezes the abdomen. The movement of the leg will also help open your bottom as it is difficult to clench the buttocks when the legs are not close together.

5. Poses that Help Improve Digestion

You can better your overall digestive health by incorporating poses into your yoga routine that massage the inner organs, therefore stimulating digestion. Twist poses are great for doing just this, but adding movement to your practice can also greatly help get things moving in your stomach and intestines.

For example, when in Wind-Relieving Pose, both bent legs can come to gently rest on the stomach, and you can rock from side to side to give a gentle massage to the lower back. Depending on where your weight is held, you can massage the tailbone or upper back, or even the side body if rocking in a wider motion. Cat-Cow, or Marjaryasana-Bitilasana, can be conducted in a fluid motion with the breath. As you inhale in Cow, you exhale in Cat.

Complete the movement without stopping until ready to return to a neutral position and continue with the next asana. Working these poses together will massage the entire core and increase blood circulation throughout the body.

Dropping the lower back in Cow while simultaneously raising the buttocks will aid in releasing gas to relieve the bloating in the belly.

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