Many people take up yoga for overall wellness, to relieve stress, improve flexibility and improve mental health. However, not many people realize that yoga can also be of help to those who suffer from constipation.
There can be many reasons for having constipation. Inadequate water intake, stress, low on fiber and too much work can all cause constipation. Irregular bowel movements can eventually cause stomach bloating and hardened stools. Yoga can improve circulation and increase oxygen supply. Most of the yoga poses involve the pelvis and lower extremities. This is believed to help in easing constipation. In addition, doing yoga regularly can prevent constipation.
Here are seven yoga poses you can do to help stimulate bowel movements.
1. Butterfly pose (Baddha Konasana)
The pose helps relieve stress, so this is particularly effective for those who are overworked or generally stressed out. The forward bend position also stimulate the digestive system. The pose relieves bloating, gas and cramping.
2. Wind-relieving pose (Pavanmuktasana)
This is perhaps the most applicable yoga pose when it comes to digestive problems. Bringing the knees to the chest increases pressure to the abdomen, which helps relieve flatulence and gas. The pose also helps relieve indigestion, dyspepsia and acid reflux.
3. Garland pose (Malasana)
It is believed that squatting is the most anatomical position for bowel movement. A study found that the most satisfactory rectal emptying is the squatting position (compared to sitting on a commode and sitting with feet elevated on a stool). Squatting increases the ano-rectal angle which makes it easier for stool to pass. The garland pose simulates the squatting position. It is not only relaxing the intestines, it also helps stretch them.
4. Child’s pose (Balasana)
The child’s pose can be done with arms extended or arms on the side. It does not really matter which of the variations you prefer to do. Both variations add pressure on the lower abdomen that can provide relief for constipation, gas and bloating.
5. Sitting half-spinal twist pose (Ardha-Matsyendrasana)
Sitting with your spine in a half twist position stimulates the digestive system as well as the other accessory organs such as the liver, pancreas, spleen and kidneys. Most importantly, the pose targets the ascending and descending colons. For those suffering from hardened stools, this pose will work best for you.
6. Plough pose (Halasana)
The pose increases blood circulation to the pelvic and stomach area. Maintaining the inverted posture relaxes the liver, intestines and colons.
7. Triangle pose (Trikonasana)
The triangle pose does not only stretch the lower body and spine, it also stimulates the digestive system for normal digestion. The position can be quite hard to maintain so for beginners, you can practice against a wall. Instead of stretching your hands up, you can put it on your hips instead.
Yoga stimulates blood flow to certain organ or area of the body. It also channels energy to special areas to improve normal function of each organ. Using yoga for constipation ensures that the bowels are regularly relaxed and that peristalsis is always normal.
- “Baddha Koṇāsana-bound angle” by Jfbongarçon – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Baddha_Ko%E1%B9%87%C4%81sana-bound_angle.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Baddha_Ko%E1%B9%87%C4%81sana-bound_angle.jpg
- By Elsie Escobar, http://elsiesyogakula.com (The author, via Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons; By Drchirag patel (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons;
- “Ardha-Matsyendrasana Yoga-Asana Nina-Mel” by Kennguru – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ardha-Matsyendrasana_Yoga-Asana_Nina-Mel.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Ardha-Matsyendrasana_Yoga-Asana_Nina-Mel.jpg;
- By Drchirag patel (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons