This is a topic few are comfortable discussing with their closest friends, let alone their yoga instructor. Maybe a talk with your doctor about constipation or fibre intake is ok, but walking into your yoga class and discussing yoga poses for constipation is disconcerting.
While the topic is somewhat awkward, constipation can be a real struggle for some, and a discussion with your instructor might help. Yoga can help digestion, bowel movements and regularity. Constipation happens when stool gets stuck in your digestive tract, specifically the colon. It can cause pain and make you feel bloated as well as anxious about your diet.
Understanding how constipation happens can help you figure out what yoga poses will work best. Peristalsis is the constriction and release of a muscle that causes something to push through a tube, such as a stool, through the digestive system. When this action does not work properly and it slows, pressure can build in the abdomen and make you uncomfortable. This can grow until you cannot have a bowel movement.
If this happens regularly then you may have a chronic constipation condition that needs a doctor’s attention so you don’t feel off and uncomfortable.
Helping Relieve Constipation
Constipation can be the result of eating poorly, consuming a low fibre diet, drinking insufficient water or living a stressful lifestyle. This means that paying attention to diet, drinks and stress can help address constipation.
First, eat well. Fiber is key to settling your digestive issues. Eat fruits, vegetables and other foods with high fiber.
Second, drink water more than other beverages. Skip the tea, coffee and carbonated drinks, and increase your water intake.
Finally, reduce your stress and take care of your body. Practicing yoga poses for constipation is one of the best ways to accomplish this step. A steady yoga habit can improve digestion and provide constipation relief.
Yoga offers poses and health maintenance that reduce your chances of being constipated. Reduced stress, improved blood flow and pain reduction, in combination with a healthy diet and lots of water, helps to relieve bowel issues.
7 Yoga Poses to a Better Feeling Body
If you have adjusted your diet, added more fibre and increased water intake then the next step is introducing some stress-relieving yoga to get your bowels moving and ease constipation. By adding the following yoga poses into your everyday routine, you will help make your bathroom visits regular.
1. Revolved Chair (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
This pose begins in Mountain pose, or Tadasana, a basic standing pose with arms to the sides.
- Lift your chest and arms up.
- Bring your hands down to the heart center, keeping the elbows straight to the sides.
- Join your hands
- Remember to breathe and stretch your spine.
- As you breathe out, bring your right elbow to the left knee on the outside.
- Your other elbow should remain straight and point up with hands still together.
- Stay steady.
- Repeat on the other side.
2. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Kneel on the floor with your big toes touching.
- Move your knees to the edge of your yoga mat or far enough to lean in between.
- Let your arms stretch out in front.
- Slowly lower your stomach between your thighs.
- Put your forehead on the floor and breathe deeply.
- Hold this position for 10-to-15 breaths.
- Rise back up.
3. Yoga Squat (Malasana)
Begin standing straight.
- Move your feet so they are the width of your mat, or just past your shoulders.
- Point your toes outward.
- Place your hands in the prayer position.
- Slowly move into a squat position. This will take a bit of practice if you are new to yoga.
- Push the elbows into your knees.
- Work on breathing and keeping your back tall.
- Hold for 10 breaths or work up to 10 breaths.
- Rise back up.
4. Cobbler’s Pose or Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Start this pose in a seated position.
- Bend your knees while you bring the soles of your feet together.
- Hold your feet with your hands.
- Slowly bend at the waist while holding your feet like a book.
- Feel the stretch and breathe.
- Hold for 10-to-15 breaths.
- Release and relax.
- Repeat as you feel comfortable.
5. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Commence this yoga pose by lying flat on your stomach. It’s a challenging pose that should only be attempted once you're warmed up and don’t have any back issues.
- Reach back with your right hand and hold your right foot or ankle.
- Now grab your left foot with your left hand.
- Push your pelvis forward and down at the same time so your upper and lower body lifts off the ground, while balanced on your pelvic area.
- Aim to open your chest.
- Hold this pose for 5-to-8 breaths
- Gently release
6. Half Spinal Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
This pose sounds complicated but is quite simple.
- Sit with your legs stretched out straight and your feet together.
- Bring your left knee over top of your right.
- Plant your left foot and bring the left knee up to the chest while wrapping your right elbow around the left knee.
- Bend your right knee a little while keeping it on the ground.
- Bring the right foot to your left buttock as much as you are able.
- Put your left hand behind your body and twist to the left.
- Hold for 5-to-8 breaths.
- Repeat on the other side.
7. Bounded Lunge Twist (Parivrtta Baddha Anjaneyasana)
- Start this lunge with your left leg forward.
- Pull your torso to the left leg using your arms.
- Open your body up to the left so you roll in that direction while over the leg.
- Put the left arm behind your back on the left and the right arm under the left thigh, then connect hands. It may take some practice to build up enough leg strength and flexibility for your hands to join.
- Hold the pose for as long as you can.
- Switch sides if you feel able.