A common complaint - constipation, affects many people at some point in their lives and affects some others chronically. While Ayurvedic treatment for constipation is effective, exercise has also been proven to get results. There is evidence that yoga can help alleviate constipation. A study on people with irritable bowel syndrome in 2015 deduced that yoga is a cost effective alternative therapy for the main symptoms of the condition, namely constipation and diarrhoea.
Ayurveda and Yoga
Ayurveda and yoga stem from the same Vedic system of wellness that originated thousands of years ago. While Ayurveda focuses on diet and herbal remedies to keep the body fit, yoga helps achieve physical and mental well-being through various postures. These exercises help in passing stools more easily. Certain postures in yoga are effective in manipulating a person‘s digestive tract leading to the passage of stool or gas. Some of the advanced postures may be more challenging and it’s better to talk to a yoga instructor before starting them.
Yoga Poses for Constipation
1. Half Spinal Twist: Sit down on a yoga mat or any soft surface. To perform the twist, sit with your legs straight out in front of your body. Bend the right leg and place the right foot on the ground outside of the left leg preferably near the knee. Bend the left leg and place it under or close to your hips. Place the left hand or elbow on or over your right knee and twist to face over the right shoulder. Hold for a few breaths and repeat with the other side.
2. Supine Spinal Twist: Lie down flat on your back with your arms stretched outwards, and the palms facing down to form a T. Bend one leg at the knee and keeping your shoulders flat, let the bent leg drop over the other leg. Hold this for a few breaths and repeat on the other side.
3. Crescent Lunge Twist: Stand in a lunge position, lunge forward with the right leg bent and the left leg straight. Place your hands into a prayer position and bend the upper body towards your right knee leading with the left shoulder. Hold this for a few breaths and return to your standing position. Start with the other side.
4. Cobra Pose: Lie flat on your stomach and point your toes outwards. Place the palms on the floor next to your shoulders. Engage the muscles of your abdomen and legs, and lift your head slightly, curling the neck backward. Press palms into the floor and lift your shoulders and upper body. Hold this pose for several breaths, release and lower your body. Repeat.
5. Legs Up the Wall: An inversion pose where the body is upside down, start by sitting close to a wall with your back straight on the floor. Put your hips as close to the wall as possible and walk your legs up against the wall. With your head comfortably on the floor, hips cushioned with a blanket or towel if required, stay in this pose for as long as you comfortably can. Roll on your side to get up.
6. Wind Relieving Pose: As the name suggests, this pose helps you in easing discomfort due to gas. Lie on your back with your knees pulled up towards your chest and your hands on or around your shins. Tuck in your chin, gently press your back to the floor and pull your knees towards your chest gradually. Hold for a few breaths and release.
7. Bow Pose: This pose helps in strengthening the abdominal muscles and according to Ayurveda, it helps relieve indigestion and gas. Lie flat on your stomach and bend your knees. Reach your arms back and clasp your ankles, if possible. Try to raise your chest off the floor as far from the floor as is comfortable. Using the tension between your arms and legs, lift your thighs and upper body off the floor as well. As this is a more challenging pose, push your body only as much as you can easily. Hold the final pose for a few breaths and release.
8. Adamant Pose: The “thunderbolt” or “firmness” pose requires you to kneel on the mat with your knees and toes touching, while keeping your heels apart. Sit in the gap between your heels. Straighten your back and put your hands on your lap. Hold this pose for a few breaths and release.
9. Cat-Cow Pose: With your hands and knees on the floor, keep your knees under your hips and your wrist under your shoulders. Begin in a neutral supine position with your back flat and abs engaged. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, curve your spine towards the ceiling as if your belly button has pulled up towards your spine. Tuck in your chin and release your neck so that your body takes a cat-like position. Inhale and relax your back. Relax your belly button, and lift your head and tailbone upwards without straining your neck to form the cow pose. Alternate between the two poses.
10. Downward Facing Dog: Tuck your toes under and push down on your palms as you start on all fours, so that your body is in an inverted ‘V’ position. With your feet hips width apart and your arms a bit more than shoulder-width apart, slightly bend your knees and hold for 10 deep breaths. Repeat.
Apart from yoga and Ayurvedic treatments for constipation, there are different kinds of exercises that ease the pain and stimulate the bowel. Cardio in any form increases your heart rate and gets the blood flowing, which in turn stimulates the intestinal muscles. This helps you pass stools quicker. Even a 30 minute cardio exercise helps.
Here are some exercises that you can try –
Jogging in place
Even just running and walking
Right Time to Exercise
Apart from choosing the right exercise, the right time to exercise is just as important. Exercising an hour after you’ve had a hearty meal is ideal. When you have a big meal, it increases blood flow to the stomach and intestines. This helps the body in the digestion process. More flow to the gastrointestinal tract means more digestive enzymes to help move the food waste through the intestine. Once the food is digested, about an hour after eating, start exercising.
Do consult a doctor before you start a new exercise routine. You should also see a doctor at the earliest if exercises, dietary changes and constipation medicines don’t help. Or else take KabzEnd — a highly effective constipation relief medicine that stimulâtes intestinal linings as well as gives relief from gas and acidity.
Disclaimer This blog solely intended for the educational/informational/awareness purposes and is not a substitute for any professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your doctor/healthcare professional before acting on the information provided on the blog. Reliance on any or all information provided in the blog, is solely at your own risk and responsibility. Mankind Pharma Limited shall not be held liable, in any circumstance whatsoever.