Yoga moves to improve gut health

Gut is certainly a buzzword in wellness these days but, unlike many, this one actually has substance! If you’re taking your probiotics, eating right, but still not seeing results… your workout might be to blame. Yes, there’s more than just diet that affects gut bacteria. Our bodies are so complicated! Most of us when we’re looking to shed pounds go the cardio route. It makes us feel great and the sweat and heart pounding makes us feel like we’re doing something effective. The problem is that working out intensely raises cortisol, the stress hormone, which is especially problematic if cortisol is already high because of stress. High cortisol levels are horrible for gut health and can cause weight gain, which is why many times going easier on the cardio and working in more slow and controlled movements can have a big impact. Of course cardio is important for heart health so a workout program that balances both is usually best.

For an idea of slow, controlled, yoga-inspired moves that are great for gut health I turned to CorePower Yoga’s Chief Yoga Officer Heather Peterson. Here’s a look at some effective moves and how to do them. They’re great to do first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, to wake up your body and prepare for the day!

Squat and Curl

  • From standing at the top of your mat with your big toes to touch
  • Inhale- Mountain Pose- reach your arms up
  • Exhale- forward fold touch your toes
  • Inhale- halfway lift your spine parallel to the floor
  • Exhale- Bend your knees and tent your finger tips to the floor as you squat your glutes towards your heels and tuck your chin tight into your chest
  • Repeat 5X

Bicycle Twists

  • Lie down on a mat and extend both legs up to the ceiling with your toes flexed back to your shins. Lightly place your hands behind your ears and gaze straight up
  • Inhale Lower your left leg parallel to the floor
  • Exhale: Crunch your shoulder blades off the mat as you rotate your torso to the right
  • Switch to the other side

Revolved Crescent Lunge

  • From a lunge position, separate your feet hip-distance apart, stack your front knee over your front ankle, lift high on the ball-mound of your back foot and draw your hands together
  • Inhale-Lean your torso forward and lengthen your spine
  • Exhale –Twist your torso to the right and place your left elbow to your right outer thigh
  • Lift your chest towards your thumbs as you soften your gently belly muscles, gently pull your lowest right rib in to lengthen your spine as you twist
  • Lower to your back knee to emphasis the twist and for more stability
  • Repeat other side

Horse Pose with Twists

  • Separate your feet wider than hip-distance apart, point your toes out and heels in, bend your knees and track your knees in-line with your mid-toes
  • Lengthen your tail-bone down and lift your sternum up
  • Tent your fingertips on top of your shoulders with your elbows wide
  • Inhale twist your torso to the left
  • Exhale quickly twist your torso the right
  • Repeat 16 reps

 Side Crow

  • From a forward fold with your feet together,  bend your knees and draw your glutes to your heels
  • Lift your chest up and draw your hands in prayer position at your chest and rotate your torso to the right and lower your left elbow to the outside of your right knee.
  • Place both of your hands down shoulder distance apart (or wider)
  • Lift your hips and bend your elbows
  • Shift your body weight forward and lower your chest as you if you are lowering down into high to low plank
  • Lift your feet off the floor as you hug your legs together
  • Repeat other side

Staff Pose Booty Drops / Tricep Lifts

  • Sit up tall with your legs stretched out in front of you
  • Place both hands palm down next to the hips
  • Slightly lean forward
  • Press your hands down to hover your hips and heels off the earth
  • Quickly release and repeat 20 reps

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