The spooky holiday of Halloween is rarely complete without a big bag of goodies in the cupboard awaiting the lucky trick or treaters’ who dare to darken your doorstep. But what happens on the day after the affair when you’re left with the remainder?
For those of you who may have had more treats than tricks and are feeling a little bloated, here are five gentle movements that will assist in digestion and calming your insides.
Knees to Chest (Apanasana)
Also known as ‘wind-relieving pose’ (yes, I went there), this ‘knees to chest’ position is also helpful in calming the mind as your thoughts are drawn inward. To practice, lying on your spine, inhale. On the exhalation, hug your knees to your chest. Draw your tailbone towards the mat to further lengthen the spine and tuck your chin a little. For an added little spinal massage, rock gently forwards and backward and side to side. You may also like to alternate sides by extending the left leg and holding the right knee for a few breaths and then repeating on the other side.
Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Lying on your spine, knees bent, press into the soles of the feet to lift the hips off the mat and shift them over to the right. From here, let your knees fall gently to the left. If the neck is comfortable here and you would like to extend the twist, look over your right shoulder. Stay here for five to ten breaths directing the breath into the left side of the ribs. Repeat on the other side.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
A simple but sometimes intense stretch, the seated forward bend can help relieve any stress that may be affecting digestion. Sit on the mat or a foam block, with legs extended and feet flexed. With a long, straight spine, slowly hinge forward from the hips, lowering the torso. Only go as far as you can, keeping comfortable but feeling a gentle stretch. Breathe slow and even and settle into the pose. Forcing this pose can cause resistance. Instead, try to relax into it and let the body open up naturally.
Cat / Cow (Marjaryasana / Bitilasana)
A lovely movement for warming up the spine and relieving tension in the back and neck, this transition can also help aid digestion. From tabletop position (hands and knees), inhale with a flat back. As you exhale, lengthen the tailbone downwards, tilting the hips forwards, rounding the spine and dropping the head. On the inhalation, extend the hips back and up slightly as the belly dips down and lift the head. Move through both poses for a couple of rounds.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
The perfect end to a therapeutic sequence, this resting pose relaxes the front of the body, while giving a gentle stretch to the muscles of the back. Sitting on your knees and feet, as a modification, keep the feet touching and the knees spread wide apart. Lean forward with the arms stretched out in front. Keeping the forehead in contact with either the mat or a block helps to calm the nervous system and aids in relieving stress.