If you're feeling cramped and bloated, practicing yoga -- especially certain poses -- may help. A 2006 study by the University of British Columbia found that adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome were better able to manage their symptoms and reduce stress after following a yoga program. In addition, yoga teaches you how to better connect with your body, which can be helpful when making diet and lifestyle choices that can affect your digestion.
Half-Plow: Ardha Halasana
Half-plow, a floor pose, requires a yoga mat. Lie flat on your back, keeping your feet together and your arms at your side, palms down. While inhaling, press your palms down and slowly raise your right leg as high as you can. Bring the leg down while exhaling. Repeat with the left leg.
Perform this standing pose barefoot on a steady surface. Place your legs in a wide stance, inhale and bring your arms straight out to your sides. Exhale and bend to the right until your right fingers touch the floor behind your right foot. Your arms should be in a vertical line and your face should be turned upwards. Inhale and return to standing, then repeat on the left side.
Wind-Relieving Pose: Pavanamuktasana
This aptly named pose helps excess gas exit the body and stretches out your back. Lie on your back with your legs stretched out flat. While exhaling, bend your right leg and bring it toward your stomach, holding it with both arms. Inhale and raise your chin toward your kneecap. Return to the starting position, then repeat with the left leg.
In addition to Triangle, Half-Plow and Wind-Relieving Pose, other poses that involve bending and twisting help compress the abdomen to release gas from the body and promote digestion. One basic bending pose is Child's Pose: sit on top of your feet with your knees pointing forward, then exhale and bend at the waist, placing your torso between your thighs.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose: Supta Baddha Konasana
Yoga Journal recommends this pose for stomach problems; it's a hip-opening pose that can energize the pelvic and abdominal areas. Sit on your mat with your feet together and knees open, then slowly lower your back to the floor. Support the area under your hips with a cushion if necessary. Hold for one to five minutes, then return to a seated position.