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International Day Of Yoga 2019: 7 Yoga Poses To Get Relief From Constipation

Every year, International Day of Yoga is observed on June 21st. The theme declared by the United Nations for this year's international yoga day is 'Climate Action'.

Emptying your system of wastes lightens your body and makes you feel active and better overall. Constipation is usually caused by a disorder of bowel function due to inadequate water intake, the inadequate fibre in the diet, disruption of regular diet or routine, stress etc. In some cases, the lack of good nerve and muscle function in the bowel can also result in constipation.

Prolonged constipation can lead to several health complications such as the swollen abdomen, haemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal prolapsed etc. It is important to observe changes in your regular bowel movement patterns [1] . There are various home remedies that help treat constipation, such as, intake of fibre-rich diet, drinking lots of water, regular exercise, yoga, meditation to ease stress etc.

Most cases of constipation are related to improper and unhealthy lifestyle or physiological factors tightening of muscle and nerves impairing proper blood flow. There are several yoga postures that help in curing constipation. These yoga asanas or poses are very effective in curing health problems like obesity, heart conditions, diabetes or digestion problems as well [2]

Yoga is also known for curing digestive and other stomach problems. Specific yoga asanas or poses can help get relief from stomach cramps, indigestion, constipation and bloating. One can start yoga to not only cure constipation but also to prevent it from ever occurring [3] . Let us take a look at a few yoga poses, also known as asanas, that can help get relief from constipation.

Yoga Poses For Constipation Relief

1. Matsyasana twist or seated twist

This position requires your body to twist in one direction, which helps stimulate the digestive tract. It involves a strong twist on the spine and abdomen which in turn massages the abdominal organs and improve the digestive process [3] .

How to

  • Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  • Bend your left leg and put your left foot on the ground, over your right knee.
  • Then, bend your right knee and tuck your right foot near your butt.
  • Put your right elbow next to your left knee and look over your left shoulder.
  • Hold for a few deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.

2. Downward facing dog or adho mukha svasana

One of the most beneficial poses for relieving constipation, this position stretches your entire body and releases tension. It also helps in removing any buildup in the digestive tract and promoting ease of bowel movement[4] .

How to

  • Start on all fours on the floor.
  • Tuck your toes under and straighten your legs, pushing down through your palms.
  • You should be forming an upside-down V shape.
  • Keep your feet hip-width apart, with your arms a bit wider at shoulder-length.
  • Bend the knees very slightly and hold for 10 deep breaths.

3. Crescent twist or anjaneyasana

This position twists your body more than the seated positions and massages the digestive tract and helping the peristalsis to move food through the body, thereby preventing the onset of constipation [3] .

How to

  • Stand straight up and go down into a lunge with your forward foot over your knee.
  • Keep your back leg straight and balanced on the ball of your foot.
  • Place your hands in a prayer position and twist down towards the bent leg.
  • For support, put your arm on the outside of the bent leg.
  • Hold for 10 deep breaths and switch sides.

4. Wind relieving pose or pavanamuktasana

One of the best yoga poses for constipation and gas, wind relieving pose does justice to its name. Ideal for deflating bloat and reducing gas, the pose help stimulates the colon, small intestine, and stomach - helping you get rid of constipation[5] .

How to

  • Lie flat on your back with both legs stretched out straight in front of you.
  • Slowly bring the right knee up into your chest and hold with both arms for 20 breaths (2 minutes).
  • After done, switch to the other side.

5. Child's pose or balasana

Mainly done to get relief from stress and tension, the yoga pose is extremely beneficial for relieving constipation. Because, the accumulation of stress over time can negatively impact your digestive health, leading to constipation [6] .

How to

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet tucked under, a bit more than hip-distance apart.
  • Lean forward into the mat and stretch your arms out in front of you.
  • Slowly inch forward until your forehead touches the mat.
  • Breathe deeply and hold the pose.

6. Supine twist or supta matsyendrasana

Beneficial for your digestion in various ways, this yoga poses massages the intestines and help remove the waste, move food along, and detoxify your body. It also aids in stimulating the gut, thereby improving your overall digestive health [7] .

How to

  • Start by lying flat on your back and drawing both your legs up to the chest.
  • Extend the left leg straight out and bend your right leg, then bring it to the left across your body.
  • Keep your back and shoulders pressed against the floor and look towards your right.
  • Hold for 2 minutes and then switch sides.

7. Standing forward bend or uttanasana

Extremely good for stress relief and calming your nerves, the pose help improve the function of your digestive tract. It compresses your abdomen in order to optimise digestion and prevent the onset of constipation [8] .

How to

  • Stand straight up with feet hip-width apart.
  • Fold yourself down, pulling your chest towards your thighs (you can bend your legs as well).
  • Drop your arms down and push your palms on the floor.
  • Hold the pose for 10 breaths and then relax.
View Article References
  1. [1] Worthington, V. (1982). A history of yoga.
  2. [2] Shankardevananda, S. (2006). Practices of Yoga for the Digestive System.
  3. [3] Watts, C. (2018).Yoga Therapy for Digestive Health. Singing Dragon.
  4. [4] Rao, J., Metri, K. G., Singh, A., & Nagaratna, R. (2016). Effect of integrated approach of Yoga therapy on chronic constipation.Voice of Research,5, 23-26.
  5. [5] Lee, T. H., Kim, S. E., Park, K. S., Shin, J. E., Park, S. Y., Ryu, H. S., ... & Park, S. (2018). Medical Professionals' Review of YouTube Videos Pertaining to Exercises for the Constipation Relief.The Korean Journal of Gastroenterology,72(6), 295-303.
  6. [6] Patel, N., & Lacy, B. (2016). Does Yoga Help Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome?.Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology,14(12), 1732-1734.
  7. [7] Metri, K. G., Pradhan, B., Singh, A., & Nagendra, H. R. (2018). Effect of 1-week yoga-based residential program on cardiovascular variables of hypertensive patients: A Comparative Study.International journal of yoga,11(2), 170.
  8. [8] Aliasghari, F., Javadi, M., Rad, H. H., Izadi, A., & Rad, A. H. (2016). Application of laxative foods in prevention and treatment of constipation.MOJ Food Process Technol,2(4), 00045.