Yoga has been proven to be beneficial for our emotional, mental, and physical well-being. By using certain yoga poses, you may be able to treat disease and ailments such as constipation. We have compiled a list with 13 of the best yoga poses for constipation relief and improved bowel function.
Yoga Poses for Constipation
Since constipation occurs with an unhealthy digestive system, yoga can improve the process in two ways. The first one is using yoga to help manage stress. Stress can have a negative effect on your digestive system, which in turn will promote constipation. The acts of deep breathing and meditating can help relax your bowels.
The second way yoga helps with constipation is by targeting the digestive organs that may be in distress. Some of the poses call for twisting, turning, and bending in such a way that massages the organs, which improves blood flow.
If you suffer from irregular bowel movements, be sure to try these yoga poses for constipation relief.
1. Seated Meditation
Sit with your legs crossed on a yoga block or blanket, so that your hips sit higher than your knees. Spend the next five minutes concentrating on your breathing. Avoid thinking of anything else other than inhaling and exhaling.
2. Standing Forward Bend
Standing with your feet hips-width apart, bend forward at the hips. Bend your knees if need be as you draw the chest towards your thighs. Your hips should be over the ankles, and your neck should be relaxed. Drop your arms towards the floor, and press the soles of your feet against the floor. Breath deeply in and out 10 times.
You can also cross your arms and hold the opposite biceps for a more advanced move.
3. Downward-Facing Dog
The next yoga for constipation pose sees you position yourself on all fours on the floor and straighten the legs while you tuck your toes under. You should be in an upside-down V-shape position with your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart, and feet are hips-width apart. Press your hands firmly onto the floor while you bend your knees slightly, and push your tailbone towards the ceiling. Do 10 deep breaths in and out.
4. Wind-Removing Pose
Lay on your back on the floor with your legs straight. Bring the right knee to your chest and hold for 20 breaths. Return to the starting position and stretch your right arm back behind your head to give the entire right side of your body a good stretch. Hold and do 10 breaths before repeating all the steps on the left side.
The wind-removing pose is one of the best yoga poses for improved bowel movement.
5. Triangle Pose
Stand with your legs wide apart with one foot pointing straight and the opposite foot pointing to the side. Extend your arms straight out at the sides parallel to the floor. Maintain leg stance as you bend at the hip crease, reaching your front hand to the floor on the outside of the front ankle. Stretch your opposite arm up towards the ceiling and hold for 10 breaths. Repeat with the other side.
6. Seated Twist
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your right knee and place it on top of the left leg with your right foot flat on the floor outside of your left knee. Wrap your left arm around the right leg with the right hand on the floor behind your back. Inhale, lengthening the body and twist to the right while exhaling. Do 10 breaths before repeating the steps on the other side of your body.
7. Supine Twist
Another one of the best yoga exercises to help improve bowel movement is the supine twist.
Lay on the floor and bring your right knee into the chest. Bring your right knee across your body to the left, and stretch your right arm out straight away from your body on the right side. Use your left hand to press the right thigh on the floor.
You can also have both arms outstretched and allow your thigh to fall to the floor. Hold this position for 10 breaths and repeat on the other side.
8. Crescent Twist
Standing in a lunge position, place your knee on the top of your foot. Keep your back leg straight as you balance on the ball of the back foot. Hold your hands in a praying position as you twist towards your back leg, pressing your arm on the outside of the bent leg and hold the position. Repeat on the other side.
9. Child’s Pose
Sit on the floor with your knees spread out wider than the hips and tuck your feet underneath you with your big toes touching each other. Lean forward with your hands on the floor in front of you, and slowly move so that your forehead is on or near the floor. Hold the position for a couple of deep breaths.
Known as the peacock pose, rest on your heels with your knees wide, and bring your hands and forearms together with palms facing up. Lean forward and place your hands flat on the floor with your fingers toward you, and press your elbows into your midsection. Tighten your belly as you tilt your head towards the floor.
One at a time, straighten your legs back with the top of your feet touching the floor. Keep your buttocks firm and shoulders rounded down as you raise your head. Shift your weight forward with your buttocks as the feet raise from the floor. Your body should be parallel to floor as you hold the position for 10 seconds. Return your body to the floor and repeat two to three times.
Try to increase the length of hold position each time to one minute.
Laying on your back on the floor, place your arms on the floor beside you with your palms down. Inhale while lifting your feet off the floor, using the abdominal muscles to bring your legs in a vertical 90° angle. Support your hips and back with your hands as you lift them off the floor, and swing your legs over your head until your toes touch the floor. Hold for one minute and release the legs back to the starting position.
Badhakonasana is also known as the butterfly pose. To do this pose, sit with your back straight and legs spread out. Bend your knees so that your feet are near your pelvis with the soles of your feet touching.
Grab your feet and pull them in as close as possible to your body. Inhale and press your legs down to the floor on the exhale. Then, flap your legs as though they were the wings of a butterfly. Increase speed and then slow down to a stop.
Inhale and on the exhale, bend forward and press your elbows on your legs to push the thighs and knees closer to the floor. Breathe in as you bring your torso up, and exhale to release the position. Relax with your legs straightened out in front of you on the floor.
Squat on the floor with your feet close together, pointed slightly outwards. Keep your heels on the floor with your thighs wider than your body as you lean forward. With your palms in a praying position, place your elbows on the inside of your knees, and slowly push against the knees. Hold for 30 seconds.
Say Yes to Yoga
Yoga is great for the mind, body, and soul. And apparently, it is good for digestive problems that can cause constipation. The acts of bending and twisting affect your organs and their functioning. Focusing on select yoga poses for constipation relief is key in maintaining good bowel health.
Feller, A., “7 Yoga Poses To Help You Poop,” Women’s Health, April 12, 2016; http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/yoga-for-constipation, last accessed May 17, 2017.
“Yoga Exercise for Constipation and Gas Problem,” The Art of Living; https://www.artofliving.org/in-en/health-and-wellness/yoga-to-relieve-constipation, last accessed May 17, 2017.
Das, S., “Yoga for Constipation: 4 asanas to help with your bowel movements,” Indian Express, August 7, 2016; http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/yoga-for-constipation-4-asanas-to-help-with-your-bowel-movements-2960083/, last accessed May 17, 2017