Constipation is a serious condition that impairs the quality of life. It is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorder that is characterized by having more than three bowel movements a week or has bowel movements with stools that are hard, dry, painful and difficult to pass.
Most people get constipated at some point in time. Most often it is acute that lasts for a short period of time but sometimes constipation is chronic which means that it lasts for a longer duration and indicate the presence of some serious health problem. Mostly constipation is acute and is not dangerous. Feeling bloated and having pain in the abdomen is the most common characteristic feature of constipation. Constipation can be caused by various conditions and some of the possible causes of constipation may include:
- A low fiber diet
- Not drinking enough fluid
- Side effects of medications
- Certain medical conditions
Exercise or any physical activity has always been considered to be an effective way to treat constipation. Exercise improves the functioning and activity of the bowel in the large intestine. Exercise has a large number of benefits on the human body. In short, exercise helps in improving the efficacy of the digestive tract and as a result, it helps in treating and relieving the symptoms of constipation.
Yoga is an effective way to engage in physical activity and there are various mechanisms through which yoga can help in treating constipation. One of the mechanism includes the role of yoga on stress. Stress is known to be one of the possible causes of constipation and there is no doubt in saying that yoga helps in reducing stress. Managing the response of stress can help in improving the functioning of the digestive system.
Below are some of the exercises that you can do to treat constipation.
1. Fish pose or Matsyasana
Fish pose is an excellent exercise that has multiple numbers of benefits to the human body, including on the digestive system. It is believed that matsyasana improves the overall functioning of the digestive system and treats many gastrointestinal problems such as constipation.
Steps to practice fish pose are as follows:
- Lie in your back with your legs on the floor.
- Bend your left leg and slowly place your right foot on the left thigh.
- Now bend the right thigh and place your left foot on the right thigh.
- Slide your body towards the back of the mat and do not lift or change the position of your forearms.
- Take a deep breath and lift your chest, shoulder, and upper back off the mat.
- Stay in that position for at least 30 seconds and gradually return to your initial position.
2. Downward facing dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana
A downward facing dog is considered to be one of the best exercises to treat constipation as it can stimulate various organ systems in the body and digestive system is one of the systems that is stimulated. A downward facing dog has many other benefits as well and some of them include it make the bones strong, and some researchers suggest that it improves the blood circulation that provides a glow to the face.
Steps to practice downward facing dog are as follows:
- Sit on your hands and feet, with your knees directly below the hips and hands forward to the shoulders.
- Lift your knees away from the floor and slowly push your top thighs back and stretch your heels down the floor.
- Ensure that your knees are straight.
- Don’t let your head hand by keeping it in between the upper arms.
- Stay in that position for a few seconds and gradually return to your initial position.
3. Supine spinal twist or Supta Matsyendrasana
If you are experiencing poor digestion then the supine spinal twist is one of the best remedies of constipation or any other gastrointestinal problem. It nourishes the digestive organs and supports them to function normally. This exercise is recommended by a large number of people to relieve and ease constipation. Other than improving digestion supine spinal twist have many other benefits also and some of them include release the lower back, supports spine muscle and bring peace in the mind.
Steps to practice supine spinal twist are as follows:
- Lie on the back with your arms by your side and palms facing downward.
- Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the left knee.
- Now twist your spine and place your right knee on the floor.
- Twist towards the other side and place your left knee on the floor.
- You can use your hands to put a pressure.
- Repeat the steps for a few times.
4. Child’s Pose or Balasana
Child’s pose is another pose that is beneficial in treating constipation. This pose is helpful in relieving stress and stress is one of the strongest possible cause of constipation. Child’s pose is believed to be a pose that has a positive impact on the psychological health of an individual. Other benefits of child’s pose include, it stretches and strengthens the muscles of hips and thighs. It increases the circulation of blood and also cures back pain.
Steps to practice child’s pose are as follows:
- Sit on the knees while touching the buttocks on your heels.
- Place your hands on thighs and bend your upper body forward.
- Ensure that your chest lies on the thighs and forehead on the floor.
- Your buttocks should stay in touch with heels.
- Extend your arms forward and hold that position for at least 30 seconds.
5. Plow pose or halasana
Improvement in the digestion and appetite is one of the known benefits of plow pose. It is an amazing pose that helps in treating the problem of constipation. It strengthens and massages abdominal muscles that play a positive role in easing the symptoms of constipation. Some other benefits of plow pose include, it improves flexibility and strengthens the spinal cord.
Steps to practice plow pose are as follows:
- Lie on the back and place your arms by your side.
- Take a deep breath and raise your legs at an angle of 90 degrees.
- Gradually bring your feet at 180 degree angle. Your back should be perpendicular to the ground.
- Maintain that position for some time and later get back to your initial position.