Many of you might have been through the discomfort (and even pain) that comes with constipation. Constipation is that irritating moment when you have dry and hard stools that are difficult to eliminate or pass through the body. This ultimately leads to lesser bowel movements on a day-to-day basis. In general, chronic constipation is defined as a stool frequency of less than three per week that can last for several months.
Common symptoms of constipation include:
- Going without bowel movements for over 3 days
- Passing hard, lumpy stools too often
- Straining while passing stools
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Feeling bloated
- Feeling a blockade in the gut
Leading causes of constipation include:
- Poor eating habits that lack fibers
- Lack of exercise or any physical activity
- Low thyroid levels or high calcium levels
- Stress or depression
- Not drinking enough water or liquids
In most cases, you can find relief from constipation symptoms with lifestyle changes. Experts suggest eating enough fibers and keeping physically active are the top things that can relieve your constipation in a jiffy if it is caused due to lifestyle disruptions. In fact, you do not need to climb mountains or lift heavy weights, simple yoga asanas at home can do wonders not only for the digestive system but for the entire body.
Here are 8 yoga poses that can provide relief from constipation
Yoga can help ease the pain and discomfort of your digestive troubles and relieve constipation. Roll out your mat and try out the poses as described:
- Ardha-Matsyendrasana: Also known as Sitting Half Spinal Twist Pose, this asana stimulates the pancreas, liver, spleen, kidneys, stomach and improves bowel movements, relaxes the abdominal muscles and, thereby providing relief from constipation.
Sit down on the ground with your legs extended and toes pointed toward the ceiling. Place your left leg under the right one, while extending your foot next to your right buttock. Gently twist your upper body to the right and place the right arm on the ground behind the back, and your left hand preferably on the right ankle in front of your body. Repeat on the other side.
- Vajrasana: This yoga asana is considered to be one of the best yoga poses for constipation and indigestion. It improves blood circulation in the abdominal region and can be useful for conditions like chronic constipation and stomach disorders.
Kneel on the floor with your knees and ankles pulled together, with your feet in line with your legs. Put your hands on your thighs and exhale while you sit back on the legs.
- Bhujangasana: Commonly known as the cobra pose, this asana is effective in improving the function of the digestive tract, strengthening the abdominal muscles, and stimulating the appetite.
Lie down on your stomach, raise your trunk and head with the help of your palms. Bend your arms at the elbows and look upward gently. Keep your stomach pressed against the floor and apply pressure on your toes as they press the floor.
- Halasana: This yoga pose helps reduce stress and provides strength to the back muscles. Halasana helps in better digestion as it stimulates the abdominal viscera.
Lie on your back with your arms by your side, use your abdominal muscles to lift your feet off the ground till your head. Support your hips with your hands and lift them off the ground. Make sure your back is perpendicular to the floor as you sweep your legs 180° over your head.
- Pavanamuktasana: This asana gives relief from gas and improves the digestive system. This is highly recommended in case of chronic constipation.
Lie on your back, lift both your legs towards your chest, and press them against the chest with your hands. Bend the neck and place the chin on your knees. Keep breathing normally throughout.
- Dhanurasana: Dhanurasana puts pressure on the abdomen. It stretches the entire abdominal organs and relieves the body of any gastric problems.
Start by lying on your stomach, bend your knees, and hold your ankles with your hands. Try and lift your legs as high as you can and look up while doing the pose for a while so as to stretch the neck muscles also. Your body should resemble the shape of a bow. Slowly come back to your normal position by putting your knees down. Exercise caution when doing it, and do not be too harsh on your body.
- Paschimottanasana: The seated twist strengthens the back muscles and the abdominal organs, stimulates the digestive organs, and aids in detoxification. The deep intraabdominal compression provides relief from weak digestion or constipation.
Sit with your legs stretched straight; bring your arms up over your head. Inhale and stretch your spine, while you exhale slowly bend forward towards your feet. Try and touch both your feet with your hands bend forward.
- Badha Konasana: Better known as the butterfly pose, it is easy to do and is very effective in combating indigestion and gas. It relieves the body of cramps, bloating, etc. The butterfly asana if done regularly can also be used to reduce stress.
Sit with your spine erect, bend your knees so that the feet touch each other. Grab your feet tightly with both your hands and bend down towards the feet as much as possible. Slowly flap both the legs up and down like the wings of a butterfly. Start with slow speed and then gradually increase the speed for better results.
To get rid of constipation, practice these yoga asanas on a regular basis. No matter what yoga poses you choose, don’t forget to calm your thoughts and breathe deeply, because a peaceful mind goes a long way in fixing your digestive woes.
Also, remember that it is pivotal to eat more fibrous foods such as spinach, black beans, wholegrain cereals, fruits, etc. Some effective foods that can be consumed during constipation are yogurt, herbal tea, buttermilk, etc. Drinking enough liquids (8-12 glasses of water) can also help relieve constipation in otherwise healthy people.
If lifestyle changes do not seem to provide relief, and the condition appears to be worsening, you should consult your doctor and check what is causing this problem and accordingly treat it.