10 Yoga Poses To Relieve Constipation Quickly

10-best-yoga-poses-to-relieve-constipation
Image: Canva

Constipation doesn’t sound like a new problem, however, practicing yoga for constipation might be something you haven’t either think of or tried yet. In all yoga exercises, practitioners are encouraged to focus on inhaling and exhaling. It opens restricted blood flow of the digestive tract that relieves constipation.

According to a 2020 report 1 published in Medscape, globally, around 12% of people suffer from constipation. In North America alone, a large population of 63 million people experiences chronic constipation.

People usually tend to ignore it or opt for medication to get quick and short-term aid. However, persistent constipation is quite a severe health issue 2 that may lead to pelvic diseases or stomach disorders.

Constipation: Symptoms and Causes

Constipation is usually defined as the infrequent bowel movement or difficulty in emptying the bowels. However, it is accompanied by some other significant symptoms that include:

  • Bloating and abdominal pain
  • Passage of hard, dry, and lumpy stool
  • No bowel movement for more than 3 days
  • Excessive strain while passing stool
  • Flatulence and headache
  • Loss of appetite and lethargy

Yoga for constipation works wonders to relieve it by directly working on the root cause of constipation which includes:

  • Busy lifestyles and long working hours.
  • Unhealthy eating habits and improper diet.
  • Having insufficient resting hours due to irregular working hours, sleep deprivation, depression, etc.
  • Disturbed metabolism due to hypothyroidism or under-active thyroid gland.
  • Lesser intake of water and other fluids.
  • Other health disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, etc.
  • Avoiding defecation on time.
  • Excessive dependence on laxatives 3 to promote intestinal movement.

How Yoga Relieve Constipation?

The benefits of yoga are way beyond any other physical workout, be it the ideal body weight, toned muscles, increased flexibility, relaxation, as well as a healthy gut.

A 2016 study 4 has shown that Yoga is effective in curing constipation and significantly reducing the need for drug intake to cure the same among elderly patients.

Thus, yoga is proved to be beneficial in curing digestive disorders including constipation. The mechanism of yoga to relieve constipation is briefed in the following two ways:

1. Stimulating the peristalsis and abdominal organs

The yoga intended to improve digestion include twisting and bending poses which leave massaging effects on the abdomen, intestines, and excretory system.

In this way, yoga poses facilitates peristalsis 5 by involuntary movements digestive tract. Hence, aids in easy bowel movement and elimination, thereby relieving constipation.

2. Alleviating stress levels

Besides dysfunctional digestive tract, stress is found to be closely associated with severe constipation from a 2009 study 6 among school-going children.

Exposure to stressful conditions releases corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) in the bowels 7. CRH slows down the intestinal processes and results in inflammation or abdominal fullness.

As stress is one of the concerning reasons for constipation, practicing several yoga poses and pranayama in constipation incorporates deep and rhythmic breathing that brings oxygenated blood to the brain, clearing all the mental blockages.

Here are 10 poses handpicked for you which you can practice on your own and wave goodbye to constipation once and for always.

10 Best Yoga Poses for Constipation

yoga-poses-for-constipation
Image: Fitsri

1. Peacock Pose (Mayurasana)

mayurasana
Image: Canva

Peacock pose is assumed by lifting the body off the floor and balancing it on the hands by pushing the elbows and triceps into the belly. This induces intra-abdominal pressure and gives intestines a wake-up call stimulating the nerve endings, which enhances the brain-gut connection.

Thus, it clears the digestive tract by eliminating blockage and relieving constipation.

Instructions

  • From thunderbolt pose with knees separated wide, lift up on your knees.
  • Place the hands on the floor between the thighs with fingers facing toward the body.
  • Keep your elbows and forearms together and bending the elbows, lean forward so that elbows lie above the navel.
  • Look forward, opening the chest and straightening the legs on the floor.
  • Find your balance pushing the palms and planting the toes on the floor.
  • Finally, lift the legs off the floor aligning the shoulders, hips, ankles in the same plane.
  • Hold the pose engaging the abdominal muscles for five seconds to one minute.

2. Plow Pose (Halasana)

halasana
Image: Canva

Inverting the body into the plow pose exerts pressure on the abdominal region massaging the digestive organs and activating gastric juices secretion. Also, it brings the body into inversion which calms the mind and promotes relaxation.

Hence, by relieving stress and promoting easy digestion of the food, plow pose helps getting rid of different digestive issues 8 including constipation, gas, nausea, and vomiting.

Instructions

  • Begin with lying on your back keeping the legs together and palms firm on the floor.
  • While exhaling raise your legs pressing the palms on the floor.
  • Gradually take your legs beyond your head until the toes reach the floor.
  • Breathing gently hold the pose for 1-2 minutes.
  • Release to come back in initial position and repeat it for 3-5 times.

3. Wind-relieving Pose (Pavanmuktasana)

pawanmuktasana
Image: Canva

The name of this pose quite clearly declares its significance, i.e. releasing gas and from a bloated belly which is one of the major symptoms of constipation.

Generally, Pavanmuktasana is practiced on the right side first followed by the left side which stimulates the ascending, descending, and transverse colon. Besides these, the stomach and small intestine are also pressed holding this pose that promotes easy bowel movement to treat constipation.

Instructions

  • Lie on your back bending the knees and keeping the feet on the floor.
  • Take a deep breath and while exhaling bring your knees closer to your chest.
  • Clasp your hands around the shins pressing the thighs on the abdomen as if you are hugging the knees.
  • Keep breathing normally and hold the pose for about a minute.

4. Seated Spinal Twist Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

ardha matsyendrasana
Image: Canva

This pose does wonders to relieve constipation by easing the movement of fecal matter as the twist involved here is two times much beneficial than any other twisting yoga posture.

In Ardha Matsyendrasana, the twist of the torso towards the right from the waist promotes the movement of feces. It travels up the ascending colon along the transverse colon, then in the descending colon.

The twist further enhances by using the left hand as a lever squeezing the intestines and activating the nerves that stimulates peristalsis. It comes in handy relieving constipation.

Instructions

  • Sit on the floor extending the legs in front.
  • Bend the left knee to place the left foot near the right hip.
  • Lift the right leg bending the right knee to place the right foot outside the left knee.
  • Press the right knee towards the abdomen and then raise the left arm to bring the left elbow outside the right knee.
  • Grab the right ankle with the left hand and place the right hand behind you.
  • Exhale and twist the torso and neck to look behind the right shoulder.
  • Stay in the pose for 30-60 seconds taking deep breaths.
  • Repeat the same on the opposite side.

5. Bound Angle Pose (Badhha Konasana)

baddha konasana
Image: Canva

Bound angle or butterfly pose is a simple sitting posture performed for constipation because it leaves soothing effects on intestinal walls along with improving blood flow to abdominal organs.

The improved blood flow to the abdominal region ensures better functioning of the digestive as well as excretory system. Hence, this pose aids in improving digestion and promoting easy excretion of fecal matter, thereby relieving constipation.

Instructions

  • Sit on the floor extending the legs in front.
  • Bend the knees outstretching them to the respective sides to join the soles of the feet.
  • Hold your feet with the hands drawing the heels closer to the groin.
  • Exhale grounding the knees to the floor and press the sitting bones to the floor to lengthen the spine towards the crown of the head.
  • Flap the knees up and down like the wings of the butterfly.
  • Assume the pose for up to two minutes.

6. Garland Pose (Malasana)

malasana
Image: Canva

The squat position in garland pose is the best suitable for constipation in pregnancy. It brings the body into a position that stimulates the lower abdomen by putting pressure on the anus region. Practicing this pose brings increased blood towards the pelvic region and excretory system.

It also stimulates the colon that aids in enhanced bowel movement promoting easy elimination of waste matter after proper digestion of foodstuff. Thus, regular practice of squat pose regulates bowel movement that helps in getting rid of constipation.

Instructions

  • Stand tall separating the feet slightly wider than the hips.
  • Exhale and bend the knees lowering the hips to a level that are hovering just above the floor.
  • Press the elbows above the knees lengthening the opening the chest.
  • Join the palms in prayer pose in front of the chest.
  • Keep breathing and hold the pose for 5 breaths.

7. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasna)

paschimottanasana
Image: Canva

Seated Forward Bend acts as an effective yoga pose for constipation as it works on a squeeze-and-release effect. The abdominal muscles undergo contraction and relaxation that increases peristalsis movement (movement of food in the esophagus and the food pipe). Hence, paschimottanasana is beneficial in combating constipation easily and naturally.

Instructions

  • Begin sitting in staff pose extending the legs and flexing the feet.
  • Inhale to raise the arms overhead.
  • Exhale to hinge forward at the hips keeping the spine straight, extending the arms forward, and gently drawing the belly inwards.
  • Pressing the belly against the thighs grasp the base of the heels bringing the head to the shins.
  • Hold this pose for one to three minutes breathing deeply.

8. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

bhujangasana
Image: Canva

There is no twisting involved in this pose, however, the stretching of the front torso and spine stimulates the abdominal organs. It eventually helps in the secretion of digestive juices and relieves post-meal flatulence.

Due to the activation of gastric juices secretion, the movement of the stool becomes smooth which categorizes the cobra pose as a yoga asana for constipation.

Instructions

  • Lie down in prone position keeping the legs together.
  • Place the palms under the shoulders bending the elbows.
  • Inhale pressing the palms on the floor to lift the chest straightening the arms keeping the elbows soft.
  • Stretch the abdominal muscles by throwing the neck backward gently.
  • Hold the pose for several breaths for 30 seconds.

9. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

dhanurasana
Image: Canva

It is one of the widely practiced yoga poses for constipation despite its challenging nature. Bow pose is a backbend posture where the abdominal muscles are stretched as well as get strengthen which aids in removing gas and other associated digestive issues.

Holding the bow pose the body experiences intra-abdominal pressure which triggers the bowel movement, thereby, facilitating the elimination process. This makes the bow pose effective enough to relieve constipation.

Instructions

  • Lie down on your belly bending knees and bringing the feet towards the buttocks.
  • Extend the arms backward to clasp the ankles.
  • Gently lift the chest off the floor.
  • Pull the feet towards the hips and try to lift the thighs and upper body off the floor.
  • Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds.

10. Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana)

vajrasana
Image: Canva

Thunderbolt pose is an easy pose to treat chronic constipation that one can perform multiple times in a day. It promotes enhanced blood flow to the abdominal region improving digestion.

Sitting in Vajrasana even four to five times a day is enough to aid in the digestion process and to keep issues like indigestion, constipation, and other stomach disorders at bay.

Instructions

  • Sit on the floor bending the knee and drawing the feet backward.
  • Lower your hips to rest on the heels.
  • Keep the ankles, shins, and knees in the same line.
  • Place the hands over the knees and gaze forward.
  • Focus on your breathing and stay there for 5-10 minutes.

Additional tips to relieve constipation

Along with practicing yoga for constipation, few changes in lifestyle and diet must also be adopted to ease the elimination and digestion process:

  • Increase water consumption to avoid dehydration which would be a nightmare for an already constipated person. For this, filtered water or sparkling water (carbonated) 9 would be recommended.
  • Include the fiber-rich products into your diet especially soluble, non-fermentable fiber as it increases the bowel movement to remove stools 10.
  • Include regular exercises into your routine or even morning or evening walks will do to avoid the sedentary lifestyle’s effect on your digestive system. A 2019 study 11 also concluded that exercising is highly effective in treating constipation.
  • Consume probiotic food and supplements including yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, etc. A review in 2019 12 showed how chronic constipation gets treated by probiotic consumption.
  • Try avoiding dairy products from your diet to relieve symptoms of constipation.
  • Stick to a particular routine for the bowel movement and elimination process.

Conclusion

Save yourself from all the discomfort and embarrassment that might accompany your abdominal disorders by practicing yoga for constipation.

Besides this, switching to a healthy lifestyle and discipline must also be adopted for getting rid of constipation and to have a healthy gut forever.

References

  1. https://www.medscape.com/answers/184704-23259/what-is-the-worldwide-prevalence-of-constipation
  2. What Does It Mean to Have Chronic Constipation? https://www.healthline.com/health/cic/what-does-it-mean
  3. Laxative https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laxative
  4. https://www.ijcmr.com/uploads/7/7/4/6/77464738/ijcmr_1113_v1.pdf
  5. Peristalsis https://www.britannica.com/science/peristalsis
  6. https://academic.oup.com/tropej/article/56/3/144/2849732
  7. Corticotropin-releasing hormone https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corticotropin-releasing_hormone
  8. Digestive diseases https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007447.htm
  9. Effects of carbonated water on functional dyspepsia and constipation – PubMed (nih.gov)
  10. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber – Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (jandonline.org)
  11. Exercise therapy in patients with constipation: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials – PubMed (nih.gov)
  12. Gut Microbiota and Chronic Constipation: A Review and Update (nih.gov)

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