About 16% of Americans frequently suffer from constipation.
And sufferers know it’s not comfortable. One great way you can get things moving again is with yoga.
People have been using yoga for constipation for years. While it’s best paired with other tactics, like a fiber-filled diet and plenty of exercise, these yoga poses can help ease bloating and get your body back on its regular cycle.
Let’s get started.
How to Use Yoga for Constipation Relief
The best part of these yoga poses, is they’re all great for beginners!
You never have to have done yoga before in your life to be able to conquer these poses. For best results, practice on a clean yoga mat so you have good grip.
These poses involve stretching, twisting, and moving to help get things moving. Counting breaths helps relieve tension and stress.
You can work through these yoga poses on their own, or work them into an existing yoga routine. Remember, you’re here to relax, stretch, and appreciate your body.
If you focus too much on your goal of “going”, it will hinder your process. Instead, breathe, relax into your poses, and be grateful for all your body is capable of.
Now, let’s get started.
How can seated meditation provide constipation relief? It releases anxiety and tenseness, which are major factors in your constipation.
By taking time to breathe, you relax your stomach muscles and give your body a break. This can help get things moving.
To get started, sit crisscross applesauce on your mat, palms up on your knees.
Turn your attention inward, and pay attention to your breath. Breathe from your belly and let your body breathe naturally. It knows what to do.
Thoughts may come, but let them pass by. Imagine you’re a doorman, and the thoughts are people coming to and fro. All you have to do is let them pass.
Sit like this for two to five minutes, depending on how long you want your yoga session to last.
Supine twist helps relieve constipation by massaging your intestines and other internal organs. This can help break things up and get them moving.
To get started, lie flat on your back with legs extended in front of you. Bring both legs up to your chest.
Stick your left leg out straight, and turn your right knee to your left side. Keep your head and shoulders on the mat, but look right.
This motion twists and stretches out your body in a relaxing stretch. Sit here for 20 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Seated twist, like supine twist, helps stretch and massage your intestines. This can help get things moving. It’s another relaxing twist than can stretch out tight shoulders and back muscles.
To get started, take a seated position with your legs in front of you.
Bend your left knee, and put your foot outside of your right knee. Next, keeping your thigh pressed to the ground, bend your right knee and tuck your right foot under your butt.
Twist at the waist and lower back to put your right elbow outside your left knee, and look over your left shoulder.
Hold for 20 breaths, and repeat on the other side.
We’ve been gradually increasing the difficulty of your twists. We started lying down, sitting, and now standing.
To start the crescent twist, stand on your mat, and step into a long lunge position. Your front leg should be bent at a 90-degree angle while your back leg stays straight. Stand on the ball of your back foot.
Bring your hands to a prayer position at your chest. Keep that angle and put your elbow on the outside of your lunged thigh. If your right foot is forward, your left elbow should be on the outside of your right thigh.
Hold this pose for 20 breaths, and change sides.
This aptly named pose is amazing for relieving constipation and bloat.
To start, lie flat on your back with both legs in front of you. Keep your back flat at all times.
Start by slowly bringing up your right leg and hugging it to your chest. Hold for 20 breaths, and repeat on the other side.
Finally, bring up both legs at once and give yourself a big hug.
The revolved chair pose is another good twisting pose.
Start by standing straight at the top of your mat. Lift your arms above your head, and bend at the knees. Keep your knees and feet together, and tip your pelvis forward.
Holding this squat, bring your hands to a prayer position at heart center. Twist, so your elbow is on the outside edge of your knees. Hold this for 20 breaths, and release.
Repeat from the beginning on the other side. If you’re feeling wobbly, you can try some of these balance-strengthening exercises.
The cobbler’s pose is a glorified version of the butterfly stretch.
Start in a seated position. Bring your feet together so the soles touch, letting your knees fall as wide. Grab your hands with your feet and lean forward so you feel a comfortable stretch across your hips.
Keep your back straight. Hold for ten breaths, then release.
Imagine a serene bear pooping in the woods. That’s the kind of feel of the Buddha squat. That makes it great for constipation. It’s the most natural way to stimulate your bowels.
We evolved to poop in the woods, not on a porcelain throne. So assuming that age-old position can help to trigger a bowel movement.
To start, stand with your feet at the edge of your mat, toes pointing out. Keep your feet flat and squat so you’re sitting on your calves.
Bring your hands to prayer, and press your elbows against the inside of each of your knees. Sit tall, breathe, and relax.
Bow pose is the most extreme pose on this list. While most of these poses stretch out your back or sides, bow pose stretches out your stomach and front. It helps digestion and bowel movement by putting pressure on the front abdomen.
To start, lie on your front on your mat. Bend your knees so your feet hit your butt, and grab your ankles.
Lift your chest off the mat, and pull your thighs off. Keeping hold of your ankles, raise off the mat to form a ring. Hold, and relax.
Bounded Lunge Twist
The bounded lunge twist is the most complicated pose on this list. It requires less strength than the bow pose, but more flexibility.
If you can’t reach the full pose, stop at what feels comfortable to you. With practice, you’ll work your way up to the full pose.
Start in a crescent lunge with your left foot forward and knee bent at a 90 degree angle. Your right leg should be straight behind you, perched on the ball of your foot.
Turn your torso to the left, and reach your right arm underneath your left leg. Let your left arm fall to the outside of your right let. If this feels comfortable here, go ahead and rest.
To complete the pose, increase the stretch until you can clasp your hands underneath your legs. Even an incomplete pose will help ease bloating and provide some constipation relief. Go only as far as feels comfortable.
Child’s pose is a relaxing way to start a yoga routine or a great way to begin to wind down.
Start by kneeling on your mat. Keep your big toes touching, but let your knees spread out.
Reach forward so your chest is touching your knees. Keep your arms extended overhead and your palms flat on the mat. Sit here, and breathe.
Other Ways to Relieve Constipation
Yoga can help get things moving when they’re stuck, but yoga can’t work alone.
For ongoing, natural constipation relief, you need to make bigger lifestyle changes.
Start by drinking water and staying hydrated. It’s recommended you drink half your weight in water in ounces daily. So if you weigh 150 lbs, you should drink 75 ounces of water daily.
It’s also important you keep plenty of fiber in your diet. Eat loads of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
If you’re regularly constipated, try an elimination diet.
You may have a mild food allergy that’s contributing to your constipation. Cheese and dairy are a leading culprit here.
It’s also important you exercise regularly. This can keep your stools from solidifying, and it helps keep your digestion flowing. Shoot for a healthy mix of cardio, weight lifting, and stretching like yoga.
Yoga Is Only One Part of Ongoing Constipation Relief
These yoga poses are especially useful to relieve constipation. But to really relieve your constipation, eat healthily, relieve stress, and exercise regularly.
Yoga can help you get things moving, and it’s a great part of a healthy, active lifestyle. Work regular practices into your workout schedule for the best relief.
Curious about what the different yoga terms actually mean?
Check it out here.