Is yoga the magic cure we all need to bring an extra dose of health into our lives? If recent studies are to be believed, the answer is yes. Yoga advocates poses and practices that are very easy to implement in our day-to-day life, making it ideal for our fast-paced lifestyles. Also, it can be done with no chemical interventions in the body, no equipment, and just by using the muscles to heal the body.
Looking for a yogic remedy for constipation? Most commonly, yoga is acclaimed to relieve digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and constipation. And here are 8 such yoga practices that will help relieve your constipation issues in no time.
1. Skull-Cleansing Breath (Kapalabhati)
This skull-cleansing breathing technique offers a host of health benefits such as cleaning the lungs, activating the nervous system, and even helping in weight loss. Since it works aggressively on the abdominal muscles, it can also help relieve constipation.
- Sit straight on a mat in the diamond pose.
- Take a deep breath. As you exhale, pull your stomach back in towards the spine. Do as much as you comfortably can. Exhale in spurts.
- Breathe out this way as many times as possible.
- Finally, finish with another deep breath.
2. Wind-Relieving Pose (Pavanmuktasana)
Known as the wind-releasing pose, it helps to remove gas and treat bloating. This asana can stimulate peristalsis and get the bowel moving.
- Start by lying flat on your back.
- This pose is of two types.
- In one type, gently lift up one leg and place it close to the tummy and chest, applying pressure on the area.
- In the other type, bend both legs, placing it close to the tummy and chest, and apply pressure on the area.
- Be sure to keep your lower abdominal and pelvic muscles free as you breathe in both forms.
3. Lying-Down Body Twist (Natarajasana)
The wheel pose is effective in stretching the abdominal muscles and giving the intestinal contents space to move, thus relieving constipation. Do not practice this pose if you’ve any back issues.
- Lie flat on the mat.
- Bend your knees such that the heels are on the ground and close to the hips.
- Using your left hand, press your knees to the left until the left knee touches the floor. Keep the other hand outstretched to the right and turn your face toward it.
- In this stage, your shoulders should be on the floor.
- Hold for a few seconds while breathing easy, release, and repeat on the other side.
4. Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
Since a headstand might not be possible for everyone, a shoulder stand comes close to offering similar benefits. By doing this pose, you can treat indigestion and relieve constipation. Apart from constipation, this asana can also bring relief from varicose veins.
- Start by lying flat on your mat.
- Raise both your legs up with some force and support your back with your arms, like you would hold a bowl.
- Lift your legs such that your lower body is as vertical as possible.
- Ensure that you do not apply excess pressure on your neck.
5. Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)
The butterfly pose helps relieve constipation due to tension in the muscles or due to irritable bowel syndrome. It also helps reduce stress, another major cause of irregular bowels.
- Sit straight on the mat with your feet outstretched.
- Bring the soles of your feet together using your hands and scoot them as close to your hips as is comfortable.
- Breathe in this position for several minutes.
- Using your elbows, push your knees toward the floor for maximum impact.
6. Peacock Pose (Mayurasana)
This is by far the hardest pose to do and must be attempted only by those who have been practicing yoga for some time. When done correctly, it helps tone the intestinal muscles and relieves constipation quite effectively.
- Sit on your knees, hip-width apart.
- Place the palms on the floor such that your fingers are facing you.
- Bend your upper torso forward such that the elbows are pressing against your belly.
- Place your forehead on the floor and straighten your legs.
- Move your entire body backward such that your upper body is off the floor.
- Now, move your body slowly forward such that your entire body is off the floor, with just the palms holding the body weight.
- Hold for a few seconds and breathe easy.
- Slowly lower your feet and head to the floor and release.
7. Plow Pose (Halasana)
The action of inverting while doing the plow pose increases blood circulation to the intestines and thus treats constipation.
- Lie flat on the floor.
- Gently raise yourself up to the waist and bring your legs straight up.
- Now, lower the legs over and behind your head, as far down as you can. Alternatively, you can also go to this pose from the shoulder stand.
- Be sure not to put too much pressure on your back as that could be counterproductive.
- To release, bend your knees and gently slide them back on to the mat.
8. Sitting Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
This pose tones the entire digestive system. To begin with:
- Sit down with legs stretched out straight in front of you and placed together. Keep the spine straight.
- Place your left foot on the outside of the right calf. The foot should be flat on the ground.
- Keep the left arm on the floor behind your back, raise the right arm up, and bring it down outside of your left leg.
- Depending on your flexibility, hold on to the calf, ankle, or foot.
- Turn your chest and head to the left.
- Pull with the left arm and use your right arm to push the body into a twist much as possible and turn the chest farther.
- Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds.
- Release and repeat on the other side.
If you can manage the above steps easily:
- Sit down with your legs stretched out straight in front of you and placed together. Keep the spine straight.
- Bend the right leg and place the right heel next to the left hip. Ensure you don’t sit on the foot but it’s just next to you.
- Bend the left leg, raise it over the right leg, Place the left foot on the outside of the right knee or in front of the knee, if required.
- Place your left arm on the floor behind your back (not too far), raise your right arm up to stretch your spine, and bring it down on the left side of your left knee.
- Try to hold on to the left ankle. If not possible, hold on to the right knee.
- Stretch, look over your left shoulder, and breathe slowly at a pace.
- Place your left arm a little further around. Inhale and straighten the spine. As you exhale, apply more pressure using your right arm.
- Hold this pose for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Release and repeat on the other side.
Which yoga pose will you adopt today to help relieve constipation? Remember, before beginning a physical activity such as yoga to treat constipation, check with your doctor and ensure that you are physically fit.