During the holidays it’s normal to go off track from your typical eating and movement habits.
You could find yourself eating more animal or dairy products than normal. Your food might be much saltier with someone else seasoning it. You may go nuts on the carbs and sugar when you typically keep them at bay.
Furthermore, it’s possible that you can’t get in your usual workout, contributing to your digestion slowing or stagnating.
Then, of course, comes the stress of being out of your routine, traveling, and confronting tense family dynamics that cause anxiety to spike.
Finally, it’s likely that you’re just eating more food than normal, so your gastrointestinal system is getting overloaded and a bit backed up.
All this is a recipe for slowed digestion, constipation and bloating.
To get your healthy digestion back and keep things moving, do these three practices regularly throughout your holidays.
3 Practices for Good Digestion
1. Belly Breathing
Digestion is a luxury of relaxation. When you are stressed and your nervous system switches into sympathetic arousal, your body will not use its precious energy to do something as mundane as digest food.
Instead, you will internally batten down the hatches and prepare for action. This means the gastrointestinal system doesn’t function much. Either your waste moves through it extra fast (ever heard the expression “lose your sh!t” regarding being scared?), or it slows to a halt.
To bring your body into a more relaxed state, so that you can properly digest, start with the simple practice of belly breathing. Breathing into your abdomen like this will shift you into the parasympathetic, “rest and digest” state.
- Sit in a comfortable position, or rest on your back.
- Place your hand on your belly.
- Breath slowly in and out of the nose, so your belly swells and sinks under your hand.
- Continue until you feel your body calm and relax into the ground (at least three minutes)
2. Abdominal Massage on Coregeous® Ball
There’s a good reason going #2 is called “having a movement.” Over the 24-72 hours after eating a meal, a series of muscular contractions squeeze food through your intestines.
Your small intestine is about 20 feet long and your large intestine is about five feet long. So a LOT of movement is necessary to get your stool out the other end!
Abdominal tension, overeating, and lack of physical movement (simple exercise) can slow this digestive movement. The following abdominal massage technique will generate movement throughout your belly, assisting the inner movement necessary for healthy elimination.
Also, abdominal massage is so soothing that it will help you move more deeply into a parasympathetic state that will also assist with digestion.
Follow along with this video of Jill Miller to learn how to do abdominal massage…
3. Squat Simulation
Squatting, lying on your back with your knees to your chest, or child’s pose, as pictured below, are all great simple shapes to relieve bloating and indigestion. The deep hip flexion is said to create internal “downward pressure” that gets things moving in the right direction.
Choose which variation your body is drawn to most, and take a minute or two to breathe deeply in it.
Related Article: Healthy Choices During a Heavy Food Season: Knowing How to Stop Eating and When to Indulge
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Très intéressant, je me masse régulièrement et je retrouve mon confort intestinal !
merci pour cette pratique simple.
3 gestes simple mais qui peuvent énormément aider les gens. Je n’avais pas dans ma boite à outils la position de l’enfant que je vais m’empresser d’ajouter pour avoir une meilleure digestion, une digestion équilibré ni trop lente ni trop rapide. Merci pour la pertinence de cet article.
This is great. Some of my clients suffer from digestive issues, and the Coregeous ball is a nice alternative to just using the hand to massage the abdomen.
This article is a great reminder that breath and down regulation is essential for digestion. Im just beginning to incorporate the corgeous ball more in movement but am excited to explore this abdominal massage more.
Childs pose always is helpful for me when I have indigestion, at least to feel more comfortable. Do these techniques help anytime in the digestion process (before you eat, right after you eat)? Or is there a better time, especially for the abdominal massage.
Air travel gives me really bad indigestion and bloating. All 3 practices would be so helpful for that!
I can’t wait to share this with my sister! Digestion is soo so important and i love how this article gives simple solutions to helping support digestion. Great information to have!
I’ve been having digestive issues recently as I’ve been under more work stress and traveling the past week. These are helpful tips for all times of year, all lifestyles, and I’m inspired to build an improved breathing practice with consistent, 3-minute meditations focused on belly breathing.
Also, are there certain types of exercise that are better for someone who wants to focus on improving digestion?
Passover is right around the corner, meaning indigestion will abound in my family. I so look forward to sharing this article with my family and introducing them to belly breathing, abdominal massage and squat simulation. Should we always begin belly rolling from the right? Thank you!
I really was in need of some belly rolling and abdominal release, so I appreciate the video on rolling. I’m curious about the last part to the lesson when lymph movement was brought up. How does the immune boosting lymph help in the thoracic area?
Many older people who have limited mobility have digestive issues – and it may be difficult for them to get on the floor – can these exercises be done sitting up ? maybe rubbing the corgeous ball around in the pathways that Jill shows on the floor, but sitting up?
The breathing is so powerful to help with digestion but many people don’t know hot to breath properly with the belly.
I Will focus on this practice the next Time I feel bloated.
I had difficulty with my digestion, since I introduced breathing exercises and abdominal massage on ball, I settle my problems. I recommend without hesitation!
I always have a hard time falling asleep after a large heavy meal during the holidays because a super full stomach makes me so uncomfortable. I’ve used the belly breathing and abdominal massage to help but I did not know about the benefits of child pose or other squat like poses. It makes sense when you think of the position we do our business in. Ill have to add childs pose in at that end next time I over indulge.
Love the range of solutions provided, from belly breathing, rolling, to static positioning- tons of great resources for those experiencing digestive issues without too much commitment to equipment!
Jill you had a hip replacement do you have anything that can help me. I too have had one.
Good ideas! Thank you!
Thank you for all the tips ! Hoping this will help PMS as well 😉
I knew that breathing in itself would help digestion because of the respiratory diaphragm’s movement massaging the digestive tract, but I did not remember about the part where digestion occurs in a relaxed state. I will try to keep it in mind this time. 🙂 Thankd for the tips!
Thanks for the information about digestion. I have struggled with poor digestion for about a year, and although I am very active, it may be linked to overeating or overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system as you mention. Thanks for the ideas on how to improve digestion!
Pour ma part, j’ai suivit la formation des abdominaux profonds récemment et j’ai remarqué que lorsque je prend davantage de temps à bien respirer et que j’utilise le gros ballon pour masser mon ventre les ballonnement et inconforts sont fortement diminué. Malheureusement j’ai perdu l’habitude … je dois l’inclure dans une routine plus assidue pour limiter mes inconforts
I love this. My friend complains of constipation often and I will see her this weekend. We will see if I can help her get her bowels moving comfortably with some light massages and minor stretches! hahaha
good reminder that stress can effect our digestion and that it’s important to pause, down regulate, and create helpful movement to take care of ourselves.
Thanks for the simple butt (pun in tended) effective strategies to relieve the gut gludge. I particularly like the Coregeous Ball for the abdominal massage even when I’m not bloated. It helps me relax for a good night sleep.
I so appreciate the tips to help reduce bloating and hypotheses presented on the why behind it. I loved all 3 tips, but I think I most appreciated belly breathing as a tool. The reason: belly breathing can be done anywhere and at anytime unbeknownst to those who may be around you at work, in an airplane while traveling, or in the privacy of your own home.
I often experience painfully uncomfortable bloating during extended hours traveling by car or plane. I’ve often resorted to drinking large quantities of water and doing my best to add dynamic moving stretches at pit stops. These techniques might work for me, but they are excessive in terms of how many bathroom breaks I need to take or how odd I look while doing single leg standing flexion/extension hip swings while at the gas pump.
Belly breathing seems more of a natural process that the body is already accustomed to, and putting more conscious effort and attention to belly breathing seems like a more organic and effective technique than what I’ve been doing. The reasons for why belly breathing works makes perfect sense! I don’t know why I hadn’t considered it as a remedy beforehand. Thanks!
Even though the Coregeous Ball may be the last thing I want to lie on after a big meal, I’m willing to give anything a try! Love that simplicity can get things moving again. All we need to do is invest in the few minutes instead of the “quick fix”.
Love these practices! Easy to do and beneficial!
How long should one wait after a meal to use the coregeous ball? I see an Ayurvedic doctor for digestive probs (which I’ve had a lot of )and he talks a lot about using slow to moderate speed walking only as a movement to aide digestion . I love the idea of using the ball but worry that it might cause indigestion?
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease 30 years ago, and although in remission, I suffer regularly from digestive issues. I just went and grabbed my Coregeous® ball and tried the abdominal massage. Wowza! Great stuff! This will become a part of my daily routine from here on out!
Great suggestion to come to child’s pose for digestion.
I love learning more about the Corageous ball. Thank you
Great, doable tips. My daughter often suffers from belly aches and I believe a lot of it has to do with digestion. I am going to try to incorporate these into our daily life to potential help her.
Such a great reminder that our body works as a unit and breathe, movement, and the state of our nervous system play sick an integral part to digestion.
I hear so many people speak about their struggle with digestion. Its so helpful to know movement ways to help this process and a huge part of that is dealing with the stress: “Digestion is a luxury of relaxation.”
Having had many digestive issues in my life, this seems like it would be a wonderful tool for me. The belly massage with the Coregeous ball will be great!
Thank goodness ?
Knowing that digestive issues are one of the top reasons surveyed for people to call in sick to work I have to believe this would be a good 3 exercise to teach as part of a self care series. I myself love love love the coregeous ball on the belly.
Great. Thanks for sharing this useful information. Thank you so much!
I didn’t realize it can take up to 72 hours to digest food. Great information on aiding digestion. I especially like the video on how to massage your abdomen.
I love that this practices are so accesible, anyone could try them even if they don´t have any yoga experience. Thanks for sharing !!!!
Thanks for sharing this valuable practices, I love that there´s nothing difficult about this practices so anyone could benefit from it even if they don´t have any previous experience with yoga.
We all know that exercise is good for a healthy heart but is there a particular type that is best?