Yoga for Anxiety + Depression #8: Stomach Churning Pose (Twist)

Your pose for today is Twist!

Twists encourage the digestive system to work properly – which often helps the stomach to properly function, especially, when you feel like knives are piercing your tummy during a panic attack or through an unwavering depression – adds moisture to your spine, helps your posture, and elminates toxins in the spine.

Stomach issues tend to come hand in hand with anxiety disorders and depression. This is because when we are stressed, the Adrenal Medulla (part of our Autonomic Nervous System) releases the “adrenaline hormone.” This shot of adrenaline can cause a multitude of panic attack symptoms, and one of them being a pause in your digestive system.

This easy twist is known as the “stomach churning” pose. It’s literally getting your digestive system moving! Twists also help with back pain, posture, and clears the toxins in your body through the “squeeze and soak” action of the twist (it squeezes our toxins, and soaks in nutrients for your spine). Back pain, poor posture, and stomach pain can be caused by the body trying to protect itself by rounding the shoulders and spine. This constant inward posture creates less space for the belly, the rib cage, and the chest to breathe. Twists help to elongate the spine so you can stand taller, and breathe easier after twisting.

“Look well to the spine for the cause of disease.” – Hippocrates 469-377 BC

How to Get Into the Pose

1. Start on a your back. Hug your knees into your chest.
2. Keep the knees where they are, and let your arms go out into a “T” with your palms down.
3. Inhale into the belly, Exhale let the knees fully relax to the left side.

*Hold for 3-5 breaths. Your head can face up, or the right side.*

4. Inhale bring your knees back up to center, Exhale lower them to the right side.

*Again, hold for 3-5 breaths.*

P. M. S. for Boys + Girls

If you go into this twist, and your organs feel crunched or your ribs feel awkwardly out of place, then you might need something else before twisting.

When my stomach hurts, I typically go by the P. M. S. rule – P for pressure and peppermint, M for movement, and S for space. If one doesn’t work, you try the other, and sometimes you need to do them all.

Pressure can simply be laying on a pillow, wrapping your belly and back with a blanket or with a heating pad, or laying down on the ground and hugging your knees into your chest.
+ Peppermint is a cooling herb. You can rub a few drops of peppermint oil on your belly, or drink a nice cup of peppermint tea (the tea alwayssss helps me!

Movement can be a twist, Half or Full Sun Salutations, or simply taking a walk.

Space means back bending, such as Bridge pose or Cobra pose, or even laying upside down on your bed or on a chair. But sometimes, all your belly needs is to relax.

How Twists Help Me

After a panic attack, I go through a sequence of a Half Sun Saluation, a back bend such as Bridge Pose, and then a twist. The movement of Half Sun Salutations calm my body a bit more, and the space in Bridge Pose preps my organs and digestive system for a twist so my belly can feel better <333

Hope this helps! Email if you have any questions :)


Other Sources:
What is the Stress Response?
How to practice a Half Sun Salutation (Movement)
How to practice a full Sun Salutation A (Movement)
How to practice Bridge Pose (Space)

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