There's nothing worse than finishing a delicious meal only to cap it off with a stomach ache. The gross feeling of being stuffed and bloated might leave you feeling pretty hopeless. It might seem like a good idea to pop a laxative or cancel the rest of the night's plans. Hear us out—there are other, natural ways to deal with your discomfort.
We've previously identified some of the inconspicuous foods that make you feel bloated and uncomfortable, but there are other ways to relieve indigestion without changing your diet (though you might want to take note of what made you feel bloated for the future). Case in point: these stretches, which were designed to relieve stomach pain and digestive issues after a filling meal.
Grab your yoga mat or head into a carpeted room at your host's house; you can banish belly bloat in just 20 minutes with the following seven stretches, so you can get back in the game:
1. Lying Down Knee Twist/Supine Twist
This yoga pose helps relieve cramping while stretching out your back. To get in the pose, lie flat on your back and bend your knees 90 degrees. Spread your arms flat, twist your hips to one side, face your head in the opposite direction and hold for 30 seconds, up to a minute. Rotate to the other side, repeat, and hold for 30 more seconds.
2. Lying Down Knee Rock/Apasana
Nicknamed the "wind relieving pose," the apasana will help you release the build up of gas and improve digestion. To begin the pose, lie flat on your back and pull your knees to your chest, holding them there. Next, gently rock side to side and rotate in a circle for 30 seconds in each direction.
3. Seated Spinal Twist
Similar to the apasana, the seated spinal twist works to relieve gas and jumpstart digestion. To begin, sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your left knee and cross your right elbow over until you feel some resistance. Inhale and extend your spine upwards. Exhale and twist deeper. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then reverse.
4. Cat-Cow Pose
Cat-Cow pose helps in decreasing bloat by massaging your internal organs, to stimulate your digestive and reproductive systems. To get the most from the pose, start on all fours and inhale to lift your head and tail at the same time to form the "cow" position. To do this, drop your abdominal muscles and chest to the ground. Once it's time to exhale, use your abdominal muscles to tuck your tailbone under and drop your head to your chest in "cat" pose. Repeat this process eight to 10 times.
5. Downward Facing Dog Pose
Even if you've never practiced yoga, you've likely heard of downward dog pose. The pose aids in digestion by compressing your kidneys, liver, and spleen. To start the downward facing dog pose, begin in a plank with your hands underneath your shoulders and your feet are hips-width apart. Using your core abdominal muscles, press your hips up and back so your hips are in the air while your feet are firmly planted on the ground. Bend your knees to stretch out your hamstrings, if necessary.
6. Child's Pose
Child's Pose compresses your abdomen to help relieve bloating while gently stretching your back muscles. To get in the pose, start on your hands and knees on your yoga mat before shifting your hips back onto your heels while keeping your arms planted ahead of you. Rest your head on the mat or a yoga block (if you have one), and remain in the pose for a minute or two.
7. Bridge Pose
Bridge pose opens up your stomach instead of compressing it (like some of the other poses). The perks? Increased blood flow and digestion. To start, lie on your back with your arms at your side and your feet hips-width apart. Press your hands, feet, and the back of your head into the ground and lift your hips to the sky. Stop and hold the stretch for up to a minute once you feel a gentle pull on your front. Slowly release and repeat several times.
For a video tutorial on the stretches, head over to The Little Things, and shop our editor-approved yoga essentials below.