The benefits of yoga

When you consider yoga, you almost certainly consider relaxing music and deep stretches. But this ancient art does tons more. From decreasing the danger of postpartum depression to reducing levels of inflammation in people with coronary failure , spending time on your yoga mat is useful , from your head to your toes.

And yes, that even includes your gut.

The most common explanation for constipation, gas, and other tummy troubles has got to do with our unhealthy, fast-paced lifestyle. Poor eating choices, stress, and hectic schedules can manifest in your gastrointestinal system as hard stools (as well as loose stools) or infrequent bowel movements.

How yoga can help constipation

Yoga can help ease the pain and discomfort of such digestive troubles. Yoga alleviates constipation in two ways:

Managing stress

First, it helps manage your stress response, which can greatly improve the functioning of your digestion system. You may notice that you’re more likely to get “blocked up” when you’re stressed out. Simply meditating and breathing deeply can help move things along.

Digestive massage

The second way yoga benefits your gastrointestinal system is thru twisting poses, inversions, and forward folds. These poses massage your digestive organs, increase blood flow and oxygen delivery, aid the method of peristalsis, and encourage stools to maneuver through your system. Doing yoga regularly may result in regular, healthy bowel movements.

“People who are very bloated, have distended bellies, or simply have a touch extra body fat round the middle may find twists extremely challenging or uncomfortable,” says Rachael Weiss from The Playful Yogi. “My rule of thumb is that if it’s painful, don’t roll in the hay . a touch discomfort is okay, as long because it isn’t painful. If you struggle with twists, consider sticking to supine twisting — on your back — or seated twists.”

If you’re trying to find a natural thanks to relieve your constipation, the poses described below may help. Roll out your mat and provides it a try!

Supine Twist

  1. Lying on your back, bring your legs to your chest. Then extend your left leg out.
  2. Draw your bent right leg to the left across your body, while keeping your shoulders flat on the floor.
  3. Look toward the right.
  4. Hold, and then switch sides.

Matsyasana Twist

This seated twist simulates your digestive organs and aids in detoxification.

  1. Begin in a seated position.
  2. Bend your left leg and place your left foot on the ground over your right knee.
  3. Bend your right knee and tuck your right foot near your butt.
  4. Place your right elbow near your left knee and twist your body, looking over your left shoulder.
  5. Hold, and then switch sides.

Crescent Twist

“This twist provides a more substantial twist than seated or supine twists,” notes Weiss. In this lunge, your forward foot should be directly over your knee, and you should be up on the ball of your back foot. Your back leg should be straight.

  1. To twist, put your hands in prayer position and twist toward your bent leg, pressing your arm on the outside of the bent leg.
  2. Hold.
  3. Come out of the pose, switch sides, and repeat.

Wind-Relieving Pose

This is a great non-twist pose for relieving gas — as the name suggests

  1. Recline on your back and hug your legs into your chest. Alternatively, you can extend one leg out.
  2. Hold for a minute or two and then switch.

Child’s Pose

  1. Start by sitting on the floor with your knees spread to a bit more than hip-distance apart and your feet tucked under you, big toes touching.
  2. Lean forward and place your hands in front of you, creeping forward until your forehead is touching the mat.
  3. Hold while breathing deeply.

The takeaway

While these five moves are a great start, there are many other yoga poses that help with digestive issues. Again, any twisting motion can increase peristalsis. Try:

  • Revolved Half Moon, a twist while reaching down which can also help alleviate digestive issues
  • Revolved Triangle
  • Revolved Side Angle

Twisting Chair Pose is another effective choice. Other inversions to try include Supported Shoulder Stand or Plow.

Remember that the opposite reason yoga is effective for constipation is that it’s a healthy thanks to manage stress. So simple moves like Corpse Pose — where you merely lay flat on your back together with your eyes closed — also are tremendously helpful.

No matter what poses your try, don’t forget to calm your thoughts and breathe deeply. A peaceful mind goes an extended thanks to fixing your digestive woes.


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