We’re officially a few hours away from the Chinese New Year long weekend! And who isn’t excited to stuff our tummies at reunion dinner ? But more often than not, it’s likely we’ll overindulge, since not only is the food delicious, our older relatives will definitely say, “Boy ah, girl ah! Why you stop eating? Eat this fish, eat this meat, come I give you another bowl of rice…etc.”
Overeating is stressful for your body and digestive system. Immediate effects include acid reflux, gassiness, bloating, and indigestion which may cause you nausea and insomnia. Over time, it causes weight gain, obesity, and chronic health conditions. But that won’t stop our older relatives!
So, in a bid to maintain the festive peace and harmony, enjoy your dinner, and then head home to try some yoga . Many yoga poses that involve bending forward, sideways and backwards serve to physically massage your internal organs – eventually moving all that food and liquids along your digestive tract.
Here, we’ve picked out passive yoga poses that improve digestion to get rid of your post-reunion dinner bloating. You won’t have to jump or hop around. All you have to do is to mindfully sit or lie in bed. Remember, ease into the pose, it’s not a competition – go easy on your tummy and yourself.
1. Cat cow pose
Get your shower, remove your makeup, and crawl into bed. We’ll start from you getting on all fours, in a tabletop position, and going into a Cat Cow pose. You’ll want to imagine someone pulling your back towards the ceiling in a cat pose, then letting all the weight of your chest down towards the floor in the cow pose.
Do it slowly, and breathe. Do a comfortable and slow five to 10 times. When you’re ready to move on, sit down comfortable with your legs crossed.
2. Seated side twist
Now that you’re seated comfortably on the bed, sit up straight to lengthen your body, turn your body, shoulders, and head to face the wall on your left hand side. Place your right hand on your left knee, and your left hand? Anywhere behind you that’s comfortable.
Remember, twist slowly and gently lest the food and abalone you just ate comes propelling out of your mouth. You’d want to breathe slowly for five to 10 breaths. When you’re done, slowly untwist, face the front, and repeat on the other side.
3. Supine twist
Now, lie down on your back. Open your arms out wide, bring your knees together, turn your knees to point towards the wall on your left, and your head to the right. Go easy – your knees don’t have to touch the bed. Take five to 10 slow breaths, and move on to the other side.
4. Knees to chest
We’re almost there – just two more yoga poses to go to help you improve your digestion. Now, continue to lie on your back. Bring your knees into your chest, and hug your knees with your arms.
Do that gently, and slowly. We know that food belly may be in the way, so let’s be cautious not to press too hard down on it. If it’s nighttime, go for a long 10 to 20 slow breaths to prepare your body and mind for bed. For most people, this is a really comforting and secure pose to rein the mind in.
5. Supta Baddha Konasana
Finally, find your way into an easy butterfly stretch, and lie down on your back. You can choose to place your hands by your side, or above your heads if you want a good stretch for your upper torso.
This pose is known to calm busy minds, and relieve chronic stress. Feel free to melt into the pose, doze off, and retire for the day.
This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.