Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's Yoga Instructor Shares the Best Moves for Bloating

As someone with self-diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (doctors can't seem to attribute my frequent bloating to anything specifically), I'm game for any and all remedies that claim to de-puff (safely, of course). I've tried buzzy supplements and traditional Chinese medicine, which were both met with positive results, but if there were something that didn't require ingesting anything additionally to counteract the painful gas and water weight, I'd be first on the sign-up list.

Luckily, the quest for such a solution came to a close sooner than expected. Recently, I was approached by celebrity yoga instructor Claire Grieve's team (she works with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Odell Beckham Jr.), and after a quick scan of her Instagram, I needed to know every last one of her fitness tips. Even more intriguing, though, was that she's created a yoga sequence specifically for bloating, meaning you can get a workout in while you regulate your digestive system. Pretty cool, right? Curious how this works, I tapped Grieve for more info.

"Yoga can help with bloating in so many ways," she explains. "First and foremost, certain yoga poses, like twists, are basically a mini massage for your internal organs, stimulating both the digestive and detoxifying systems. Yoga also helps get the blood and oxygen moving through your body, which can awaken any stagnant energy. Further, yoga calms the nervous system, which can help ease any indigestion caused by stress or anxiety."

This explanation checks out with science, too. In a 2006 study, adolescents aged 11 to 18 with IBS who practiced yoga at home for four weeks saw significantly less gastrointestinal symptoms and emotion-focused avoidance, a known side effect of the disorder. 

Intrigued by all of this, I asked Grieve to break down, step by step, each bloat-reducing pose. The following five sequences involve three easy-to-follow moves each and are outlined below.

 

Photo:

Courtesy of Claire Grieve

1. Mountain Pose: This pose will begin to activate the fire in your abdomen, which houses all of your digestive organs. This is the system that will ultimately help you de-bloat. Stand tall with your feet together, activate your core, ground your feet, and lengthen your spine.

2. Standing Forward Bend: You are starting to get the oxygen flowing and the blood moving. On an exhale, bend forward from your hips, lengthen your front torso, and lift your chest.

3. Chair Pose: This pose will begin to build fiery energy throughout your body, enlivening your entire system. Inhale and raise your arms above your head, parallel to your ears, palms facing each other. On the exhale, deeply bend your knees and sit back as if sitting in a chair. Your weight will be balanced in your heels.

Photo:

Courtesy of Claire Grieve


1. Downward Facing Dog: Inversions help get your juices flowing, quite literally. When your head drops below your heart, it helps to move fluids throughout your body. Place your hands on the mat, shoulder-width apart, and spread your feet hip-width apart behind you. Lift your hips up toward the back corner of the sky and feel your heels pulling toward the mat. 

2. Upward Facing Dog: This pose stretches out the abdomen, relieving tension from your key digestive area. Lie facedown on your mat and place your hands next to your lower ribs. On the inhale, press into your palms and straighten your arms. Lift your torso and the tops of your thighs off of the floor. 

3. Bow Pose: An even deeper stretch for your abdomen. Start lying belly-down, with your body flat on the floor. Bend your knees and reach back for the outside of your ankles. As you inhale, raise your chest and hips off of the floor. Exhale. Inhale, and lift even higher.

Photo:

Courtesy of Claire Grieve

1. Bound Angle Pose: This pose will put gentle pressure on your digestion, helping to relieve gas and discomfort. Seated on your mat, press the soles of your feet together in a butterfly position. Let your knees drop to the floor and lean forward. Keep your spine extended until you cannot lean forward any further, and then drop your head and neck.

2. Wide-Legged Forward Bend: Forward folds are calming to your nervous system, which can help if your digestive issues are caused by stress or anxiety. Step your feet into a wide parallel stance. On the exhale, bend forward from your hips. Place your hands on the ground and bend your elbows. Feel your thighs press back, extend your spine, and release the tension from your head and neck.

3. Revolved Triangle Pose: Twists will work magic on your system. As you twist, you are gently stimulating your key organs for digestion and detoxification. Step your feet into a wide stance with your right foot in front with your hips and torso facing forward. Begin to twist starting from your core. Gently place your left hand on the outside of your right foot. Reach your right arm up toward the ceiling. On the inhale, lengthen your spine. On the exhale, deepen your twist. Repeat on both sides.

Photo:

Courtesy of Claire Grieve

1. Warrior II Pose: Warrior poses are strengthening and energizing for the entire body. This pose will help you understand that all movement truly begins in the core. Step your feet wide apart, with your heels aligned. Turn your back foot to a 45-degree angle with your toes pointing to the forward outside corner of your mat. Deeply bend your front knee and extend your arms, bringing them to shoulder height. Feel constant energy extending through your legs and arms as you bend deeper and deeper into the front leg.

2. Revolved Triangle Pose (repeated)

3. Half Lord of the Fishes: Another benefit of gentle twists is that they refresh the blood flow to your digestive organs. When you twist, you restrict blood flow. When you release your twist, blood will rush the area. Start in a seated position with your legs stretched out in front of you. Cross your right leg over your left leg, placing the sole of your right foot on the mat outside of left outer hip. Place your right arm behind you and reach up with your left arm to bend and hook the elbow over your right knee. Inhale and lengthen your spine. On the exhale, deepen the twist. Repeat on the opposite side.

Photo:

Courtesy of Claire Grieve

1. Knees to chest: Applying gentle pressure to your stomach will help relieve any gas build up. Lie on your back, hug both knees up and into your chest. You can gently rock forward and back and/or side to side if it feels good.

2. Cat and Cow: This flow is like a massage for your abdomen and digestive system. Start on your hands and knees with your shoulders, elbows, and wrists aligned. Exhale and round your spine to the ceiling, releasing your neck (Cat). On the inhale, let your belly sink to the floor and lift your chest toward the sky (Cow).

In terms of how often you should do these moves, Grieve says there's only one time limitation: "I recommend doing this sequence whenever you're feeling bloated or uncomfortable," she says. "Though, if you've just eaten a large meal, it would be best to let your body digest for an hour or two before jumping into a yoga sequence."

Up next, check out the worst drinks for bloating.