By this point, you’ve probably already heard plenty about the benefits of yoga to your mind and spirit. How it helps improve your flexibility and balance, and how it builds both strength and stamina. And, of course, how it allows you to carry out meditation, alleviating stress.
That’s all great, but there are a lot of other bonuses to practicing yoga that you may not be familiar with. For example, did you know that yoga is a surprisingly effective way of dealing with constipation?
Well, not only will we show you how in this guide, but by the time we’re finished, you’ll have your collection of yoga poses that you can use to help treat yourself!
Can Yoga Help With Bowel Movement?
Before we get started with the yoga poses, we should probably get the main question out of the way first: Can yoga help ease constipation and bowel movement?
The answer, which may come as a surprise, is yes!
Yoga employs a ton of different types of movements that help work the entire body, including the diaphragm and lower torso, where the intestines and bowels are.
Exercising this area of the body, which many yoga poses do, has been shown to help ease and relax movements in the digestive system.
This also has the bonus effect of making digesting much easier on the body, as well as treating constipation. So, great if you’re someone who is affected by indigestion too!
So, if that sounds like something that you could do within your health routine, then make sure to check out some of the following poses for yourself!
Half Spinal Twist
So, starting us off with a great pose for bowel relief, we’d like to share with you the half-spinal twist!
Like many of the other positions that you’ll find in this guide, this is best done on a nice flat surface with a little bit of give. We recommend using a yoga mat underneath you, for that extra supportive surface.
Start the pose off in a seated position, with your legs out in front of you, and your back held straight. Then bend the right leg upwards, and bring the foot towards you, raising your right knee in the process, then twist the leg over to your left side.
Ideally, the right leg will want to be over the left leg, on the outside of your body.
With the right leg in position, you can then bend the left leg, placing it under the glutes or buttocks. Then you can place your left arm and elbow on your right knee, then twist your torso rightwards.
Hold this position for a few breathing cycles, then slowly return it to a neutral sitting pose. Then repeat for the left side!
It’s a simple twist, but one that pushes your flexibility, especially if you’re new to yoga. Still, keep practicing it, and not only will it become easier over time, but your digestion is sure to improve!
We’re sticking with the twisting poses for a little while longer, with the supine twisting pose next.
We think that this one is a lot better for starting off learning yoga. Not only are the instructions a little easier to follow, but the pose itself is meant to be performed on your back and relaxed into, making it something that will require a lot less attention. At least, once you get the hang of it!
Start this pose lying on your back, with your feet pointed forwards, and your hands by your side.
Then lift your right knee towards you, raising your leg as you go until it is pressed against your stomach. If you’re having a little trouble doing this unassisted, feel free to use your hands to gently pull it a little higher, then follow with the left leg as well.
Make sure that your shoulders stay flat against the mat as you are doing this!
With your knees raised to your belly, drop your left leg back down, then rotate your body to your left side, with the right knee now touching the left side of the floor outside your body.
Hold this pose for a few breathing cycles, then return to laying on your back, knees raised, then repeat for the opposite side.
Overall, this is one of our favorite stretches to close out a workout or yoga routine with.
Getting away from the twists for a second, this seated pose is perfect for starting to learn yoga. It’s simple, still great for aiding digestion and constipation, and, as we said, has no twists to get tangled up in!
Start from a seated position, with your back held straight, then cross your legs underneath you. Place your hands on your knees, close your eyes, and just concentrate on your breathing.
Then, try to focus on your breathing, slowly inhaling through your nose, then releasing through the mouth.
Try doing these breaths to a count, rather than simply trying to figure out when to stop breathing in or out. You’re supposed to be focusing on your breathing, not your thinking, after all!
Repeat this for a few minutes (around 3 to 5, depending on your experience level), then slowly open your eyes, unfold your legs, and continue to your next pose or task.
We’ve gone into detail about this pose, but it’s really simple. Just sit, stay planted, close your eyes, and breathe. What could be easier than that?
Crescent Lunge Twist
Back to the lunges we go for this next entry!
This crescent lunge twist has a lot in common with the supine twist, being a twisting exercise that you do on your back. However, unlike this one, your arms won’t be by your side but slayed away from you.
Start this pose in a t-shape on your yoga mat, with your palms facing down to the ground. Like the supine twist, you’ll lift one straight leg to cover your stomach, in this case, your right leg.
Once it is over your stomach and left leg, you will turn over to your left side and over your left leg, until the knee is close to or touching the floor of that side. All while your shoulder and both hands stay in place.
Hold this pose for a few breaths, then turn onto your back again, lowering your leg, and repeating for your right side.
Like we said, it’s very similar to the supine position, in quite a few ways!
If the many poses that are really on twisting have been an issue for you so far, and you would like a few more simple poses, then you’ll want to add this position to your repertoire.
The wind-relieving pose, as the name suggests, is a great way to free up trapped wind in your gut and intestines, without the need for turning or already great flexibility to do it!
Once again, you’ll be laying on your back, with your legs pointed downwards, and your arms by your side on your yoga mat.
From there, all you have to do is raise your legs to your chest and hug them to your abdomen with your arms.
After holding this pose for a few minutes or breathing cycles, let go of your legs, and return them to their original spot. And that’s all there is to it!
Alternatively, you can repeat this with just a single leg at a time, alternating between legs.
Perhaps one of the most popular stances that you’ll see in many different yoga routines, the cobra pose is a great pose to have if you’re looking to help strengthen both your core and back muscles.
However, in our case, it is a pretty gentle way of stretching and working your digestive system, making it a pretty good light treatment for constipation as well
You’ll start this pose lying flat on your stomach on the mat, with your feet pointed downwards, and your arms by your side.
From this position, you’ll want to lift your upper body from your arms. As you’re lifting your torso, try to pull your neck back and puff your chest out to help exaggerate your movement, all while your legs remain flat against the ground.
From here, there are a few different varieties of cobra stances that you can use. A low cobra stance is much shallower and easier to achieve for beginners, with your head pointed out in front of you.
The high cobra is a slightly more intense version, as you’ll be stretching your neck so that you’re facing the ceiling.
Don’t push yourself too hard on your first attempt!
So, as you can see, there’s no shortage of tricks and poses that you can do with a few good yoga poses. All you need is yourself, your mat, and a little space, and you’re good to go!
Of course, if you’re worried that any mobility issues that you may have might stop you from trying some of these poses, make sure that you check with a health professional first. If that’s the case, then many of these can be modified to suit your needs accordingly.
- Ultimate Guide to Yoga Strap Stretching: 12 Poses for Flexibility - September 15, 2023
- Phalakasana or Kumbhakasana – Plank Pose - September 13, 2023
- All About Iyengar Poses: Beginner to Advanced Guide - September 11, 2023