By Faye Martins
How effective is Yoga for constipation? In 2010, the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” published a study examining the efficacy of using a combination of yoga postures and a saline beverage as a substitute for laxatives in colonoscopy patients. Compared to the group who drank NuLytely, a solution designed to clear the bowels, people who practiced Yoga found the preparation phase for the procedure easier to tolerate and more effective.
That’s good news for the more than 4 million Americans who rely on over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs to treat constipation. The common complaint, which can actually be a symptom of many different conditions, is temporary and easily treated in many cases. Others require medical intervention or lifestyle changes.
Overall, Yoga encourages a balanced, healthy way of living. A good diet, sufficient intake of liquid, stress reduction, and exercise are all-important. More specifically, particular poses promote digestion by reducing stress and massaging the abdominal organs, easing the flow of fluids throughout the body. Below is a brief list of forward bending postures, twists, and assorted asanas.
• Standing Forward Bend
• Revolved Triangle Pose
• Hero’s Pose
• Bow Pose
• Cobbler’s Pose
• Knees-to-Chest Pose
• Head-to-Knee Pose
• Back Spine Stretching Pose
Other helpful Yogic practices include the upward abdominal lock, controlled breathing and Corpse Pose:
The upward abdominal lock should always be performed on an empty stomach; it should also always follow an inhalation. Various schools have different ways of teaching the practice. It may be best to learn this technique from a trusted instructor before practicing alone.
Pranayama, the practice of controlled breathing techniques, addresses one of the major causes of abdominal pain related to constipation: spasms in the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract. Caused by a shortage of oxygen and carbon dioxide, spasms are easily dispelled when these two chemicals are available in desired quantities. Yogic breathing increases the supply of freshly oxygenated blood through the digestive tract, compensating for shallow breathing and hyperventilating.
Corpse Pose is a common technique for ending any Yoga practice. In this posture, a person lies flat on his back in a state of complete relaxation. Lying in Corpse Pose and breathing deeply relieves tension and increases the flow of blood and oxygen through the digestive system, relieving muscle spasms and constipation.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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