6 Easy Yoga Poses for Natural Constipation Relief and More
8 minute read
The health benefits of a regular yoga practice are wide and varied. Increased strength and improved flexibility are two of the benefits that you’re most likely familiar with, with images of yogis bent into impossible shapes or holding impossible poses coming to mind. Yoga, though, is for anyone and everyone, and you can customize your practice to suit your needs and goals.
Yoga is an ancient practice that connects the mind, body, and spirit. It exists in a variety of forms, including vinyasa (flowing from pose to pose), hot yoga (done in rooms that are heated to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and up), and ashtanga (a specific, physically intense sequence of poses).
Yoga can also be used as a way to help with specific concerns, such as digestive issues, tension, anxiety, and stress. There are even poses that can help relieve a common, uncomfortable problem: constipation.
When You Just Can’t Go
About 16 percent of adults in the United States suffer from constipation, so if you’re having trouble being regular, you’re not alone.
There are several things that you can do at home to ease or prevent constipation, including:
♦ Making sure that you get enough fiber
♦ Stay hydrated
♦ Create a schedule for bowel movements so your body knows when to go
♦ Manage your stress
♦ Stay active and exercise
Another addition to your anti-constipation routine that you might not have thought of before requires only a yoga mat and some time.
Yoga To Ease Constipation
Yoga can help when you’re constipated in two main ways:
Eases Tension, Stress, and Anxiety
One of the ways to prevent and relieve constipation is to reduce your stress. Yoga provides an opportunity to relax your mind and focus on the poses, as well as stretching muscles and easing physical tension and stress in the body. Yogis have known this for centuries, and modern research has also found that it is true.
Taking Care of Your Digestive Tract
Twists, forward folds, and inversions are not only essential postures in any yoga practice, but they have a special effect on your digestive tract. These poses massage your organs and digestive system, helping to increase blood flow and move things along.
One study found that participants who suffered from chronic constipation experienced marked relief in physical and psychological discomfort after a week of engaging in a variety of yoga disciplines.
| Related: 7 Signs and Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut |
Before getting into the details of the yoga poses, it’s worth noting that you can also find natural digestive relief from high-quality digestive enzyme supplements and probiotics. Whether you’re new to the practice or an experienced yogi, your regularity can benefit from these yoga poses:
Downward Facing Dog
One of the poses that even non-yogis are familiar with, downward facing dog stretches the back body to relieve tension, and the forward bend of it massages your abdominal muscles and organs.
How to Do Downward-Facing Dog:
1. Start on all fours, hands directly beneath shoulders, knees directly beneath your hips with the crown of your head extending forward and your gaze straight down.
2. Curl your toes under, exhale, and lift your hips upward so that your body creates an inverted V.
3. Reach your heels toward the floor (it’s OK if they don’t touch it), press away from the mat with your hands, and imagine a line running from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. Bend your knees slightly if that feels good to you.
Twists are great for giving your internal organs a bit of a massage, improve circulation to those organs, and detoxify them. Supine twist is a great place to start with twists.
How to Do Supine Twist:
1. Lie flat on your back, then draw your knees up to your chest.
2. Extend your left leg out along the floor and extend your arms out to your sides so that you form a T, palms down.
3. Draw your right knee over to your left side, and try to keep both shoulders on the ground (if that brings you out of the twist a bit, that’s fine).
4. Breathe deeply into your stomach for several breaths, then release and switch sides.
This pose is great for relieving tension and reducing stress. Less stress means a healthier body and digestive system. Relaxing to both the body and mind, child’s pose is great for any time that you’re feeling overwhelmed.
How to Do Child’s Pose:
1. Sit on your folded legs, knees the width of your yoga mat or slightly wider than hip distance apart.
2. Sit up nice and tall, the crown of your head reaching skyward.
3. Fold forward at your hips, hands reaching out in front of you as you bring your torso toward the floor until you can rest your forehead on the ground.
4. Breathe deeply and stay in child’s pose as long as you like, feeling the tension melt away from your body.
Standing Forward Bend
This is a quite simple, but very effective pose. It stretches your entire back body from your calves up to your neck to ease tension, and the forward fold compresses your organs, which helps keep your digestive tract happy.
How to Do Standing Forward Bend:
1. Stand up tall, legs hip distance apart, chest in line with your hips, head in line with your chest.
2. Fold forward at the hips, bending your knees if necessary.
3. Release any holding in your neck and rest your hands on your shins, the floor, or grab your elbows and hang.
Like other twists, seated twist is great for your insides.
How to Do Seated Twist:
1. Start seated, legs out straight in front of you.
2. Draw your left leg up and place your left foot to the right of your right knee.
3. Bend your right leg and bring your right foot near your right buttocks.
4. On an exhale, twist and bring your right elbow to the left side of your left knee. With each exhale, try to go a little deeper into the twist, but don’t force it.
5. Repeat on the other side.
Aptly named for digestive health, wind-relieving pose helps ease bloating and gas and stimulates your intestines. It’s a must for anyone who suffers from digestive problems.
How to Do Wind Relieving Pose
1. Lie on your back with your legs straight.
2. Draw your right knee up to your chest, hold on to your knee with your hands and hold the pose for several breaths.
3. Extend your right leg out and repeat with your left knee.
4. Extend both legs out straight, then draw both knees into your chest, grasp your knees with your hands, and hold for several breaths to complete the pose.
The Bottom Line
Yoga has been around for thousands of years for a reason. It’s beneficial to both your body and your mind and can help reduce stress and anxiety.
A regular practice can increase your strength, flexibility, and mobility, as well as be a calming influence on your life. When you have constipation, don’t forget this soothing, natural way to find relief.