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.

Instructions:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position, or rest on your back.
  2. Place your hand on your belly.
  3. Breath slowly in and out of the nose, so your belly swells and sinks under your hand.
  4. 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 ArticleHealthy Choices During a Heavy Food Season: Knowing How to Stop Eating and When to Indulge

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Cynthia Racine

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!

Sara Dewhurst

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!

kathy

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

poirsha

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

Julia Skinner

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.

Toni Dee

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.

Kristin Harris

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… Read more »

Genie Wie

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”.

Ashley Shears

Love these practices! Easy to do and beneficial!

Rani Bechar

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?

PJ Olsen

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!

Priscilla Daniel

Great suggestion to come to child’s pose for digestion.

Tara Young

I love learning more about the Corageous ball. Thank you

Robyn

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.

Megan White

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.

MISSY TILLMAN

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.”

Carol

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!

sarah duncan

Thank goodness ?

GinaAnzalduaStevenson

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.

Xn8 Sports

Great. Thanks for sharing this useful information. Thank you so much!

Julie Heacock

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.

Barbara Resendiz

I love that this practices are so accesible, anyone could try them even if they don´t have any yoga experience. Thanks for sharing !!!!

Barbara Resendiz

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.

Ashley Rasa

We all know that exercise is good for a healthy heart but is there a particular type that is best?