Gentle Exercises or Yoga for Constipation

By Nikhil Ambatkar | 24th Mar 2022

Gentle Exercises or Yoga for Constipation

Yoga for constipation

If you’re tired of dealing with constipation, it’s time to explore natural remedies like yoga for constipation relief. Yoga help stimulates digestion, improve bowel movement, and promote overall digestive health. Incorporating these simple yet effective yoga postures into your daily routine can relieve constipation and enjoy a healthier digestive system. This blog guide you through various poses of yoga for constipation. 

What is constipation?

Constipation refers to infrequent and often painful bowel movements. If someone has less than three bowel movements per week and passes small amounts of hard, dry stool, they are constipated. However, it’s important to note that regular bowel movements can vary from person to person, ranging from three times a day to three times a week.

Constipation: Symptoms and Possible Cause

Symptoms

  • Infrequent bowel movements: One of the primary symptoms of constipation is having less than three bowel movements per week.
  • Hard and dry stool: Constipated individuals often pass small amounts of hard, dry stool, making bowel movements difficult and sometimes painful.

Causes

  • Inadequate fibre intake: Insufficient dietary fibre can contribute to constipation by reducing stool bulk and slowing the digestive process.
  • Lack of physical activity: A stagnant lifestyle can lead to decreased bowel movements and contribute to constipation.

How can yoga and exercise help with constipation?

Yoga and exercise for constipation offer natural and holistic approaches. By incorporating regular physical activity and specific yoga poses into your routine, you can experience relief from constipation while enhancing your overall well-being.

Reducing stress

Yoga and exercise are excellent stress relievers. Stress can negatively impact digestion and contribute to constipation. Engaging in yoga and exercise helps reduce stress levels, promoting healthy digestion and bowel movements.

Improves digestive health

Yoga poses, like twists and forward bends, stimulate the abdominal muscles and massage the digestive organs, aiding in the smooth movement of stool through the intestines. Exercise, especially cardio activities, increases blood flow to the digestive system, enhancing efficiency.

When is the best time to exercise?

The best time to exercise depends on personal preference and schedule. Some people find that working out in the morning boosts their energy levels and sets a positive tone for the day. Others prefer exercising in the afternoon or evening to relieve stress and unwind. Ultimately, the key is consistency. Find a time that aligns with your routine and allows you to maintain a regular exercise regimen that works best for you.

The best exercise or yoga poses to relieve constipation

Include some of the following poses of exercises or yoga for constipation relief.

Wind-relieving pose (Pawanmuktasana)

  • Lie on a mat with legs hip-width apart. Bring knees to chest and hold them.
  • Keep breathing normally and lift your head towards your knees. 
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds, maintaining breath. 
  • Lower your head to the floor and exhale. Repeat, taking deep breaths, to encourage soft stool.

Half-wind pose (Ardha Pavan Muktasana)

  • Lie on a mat with feet apart and hands beside you. 
  • Lift and bend one leg towards your body, holding it. 
  • Hold for three seconds and repeat. 
  • Return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg. Do this set 5 times.
  • Integrate this practical exercise for constipation into your daily routine and experience natural relief and improved bowel regularity.

Half spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

  • Sit with legs extended. 
  • Cross the left leg over the right. 
  • Lift right arm, twist left, bringing right elbow outside the left knee. 
  • Place left hand behind for support. 
  • Hold, breathe, then release. 
  • Repeat with the right leg crossed and twist to the right.

Child’s pose (Balasana)

  • Start on all fours on a mat.
  • Lower your hips towards your ankles, spreading your arms on the ground.
  • Ensure your head is tucked between your arms.
  • Breathe steadily and hold this position for 10-15 seconds before releasing.
  • You can widen your knees to stretch the lower back and thighs or keep your knees bent.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this sequence five times as an exercise for constipation.
  • Try this asana for constipation daily.

Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)

  • Lie down on your stomach with your legs extended.
  • Place palms near shoulders, fingers forward.
  • Inhale, lift the upper body with slightly bent elbows.
  • Keep lower body grounded.
  • Hold, breathe, and lengthen your neck.
  • Exhale, lower back down.
  • Repeat a few times, focusing on controlled movements.

Butterfly pose (Badhakonasana)

  • Sit comfortably and extend your legs in front of you.
  • Bend your knees, thus bringing the soles of your feet together, holding onto your toes with both hands.
  • Gently pull your heels towards your groin, feeling a stretch in your inner thighs.
  • Now, with a fluttering motion, move your legs up and down to stretch the muscles in your inner thighs and groin area, which can become tight.
  • Repeat 50 times of this exercise for constipation.

Crescent lunge twist (Anjaneyasana)

  • Step your right foot ahead into a lunge, left foot back.
  • Bend the right knee, keep the left leg straight.
  • Inhale, raise arms overhead.
  • Exhale, twist to the right, bringing left elbow outside the right knee.
  • Press palms together at the heart centre.
  • Hold, breathe, gaze forward or look over the right shoulder.
  • Release, bring hands down.
  • Repeat, switching sides.

Bow pose (Dhanurasana)

  • Lie on your stomach, legs extended, arms by your sides.
  • Bend your knees, thus reaching back to hold your ankles.
  • Inhale, lift chest and thighs and pull ankles.
  • Lift legs and chest, creating a bow shape.
  • Gaze forward, and breathe steadily.
  • Hold, feeling the stretch and engaging back muscles.
  • Exhale, lower down to the mat.
  • Rest in Child’s Pose.

Adamant pose (Vajrasana)

  • Kneel on a mat, knees together, feet slightly apart.
  • Sit back on heels, hands on thighs.
  • Keep spine upright, shoulders relaxed.
  • Rest hands comfortably, palms up or down.
  • Breathe deeply, relax and find calmness.
  • Hold for a few minutes, focusing on breathing.
  • Release by leaning forward and coming out of the pose.

Deep squat

  • Stand with your feet broader than hip-width apart, toes slightly outward.
  • Lower into a squat, like sitting back into a chair.
  • Keep heels down, chest lifted, and back straight.
  • Bring hands together at the chest or extend forward.
  • Engage your core and breathe.
  • Hold, then stand back up.
  • Repeat for better results.
  • Incorporate this exercise for constipation into your daily schedule.

Half-lying leg ups

  • Lie down on your back with your legs straight.
  • Lift one leg towards the ceiling.
  • Lower the leg back down.
  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Alternate between legs, lifting and lowering.
  • Engage core and maintain control.
  • Perform desired repetitions.

Chair exercises

  • Sit on a chair with a straight back, feet flat on the ground, and hands on thighs.
  • Bend forward, touch the ground with your hands, and hold briefly.
  • Lift back up and repeat.
  • Bring one leg towards the chest, bending the head to touch the knee.
  • Hold briefly, release, and repeat.
  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Repeat the set around ten times.
  • This exercise for bowel movement helps to relieve constipation.

Pelvic tilt ball squeeze

  • Lie down and bend your knees.
  • Place a medicine ball between your knees.
  • Perform a pelvic tilt, pressing your lower back to the floor.
  • Lift both legs with the ball and squeeze it using your legs.
  • Hold for three counts, then release.
  • Repeat five times for constipation relief.

Deep breathing exercises

  • Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  • Take a slow and deep breath via your nose.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth.
  • Focus on the sensation of your breath, breathing deeply and fully.
  • Make your inhales and exhales smooth and even.
  • Practice for a few minutes, gradually increasing the duration.

Conclusion

Incorporating yoga for constipation or doing gentle exercises into your routine can be a beneficial approach for managing the condition. These low-impact activities, such as yoga poses, deep breathing exercises, and stretches, help stimulate digestion, improve bowel movement, and relieve stress. 

By focusing on relaxation, stretching the abdominal muscles, and promoting healthy digestion, gentle exercises and yoga offer a natural and holistic way to alleviate constipation. Prioritising your overall well-being will contribute to a healthier digestive system and improved quality of life.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the recommended position for relieving constipation?

The recommended position for relieving constipation is to sit on a toilet with your feet supported by a footstool, allowing your knees to be slightly higher than your hips. This position helps align the rectum for easier elimination.

What are some practical ways to alleviate constipation within 30 minutes?

Alleviating constipation within 30 minutes requires immediate actions such as drinking warm water, performing gentle abdominal exercises, or consuming fibre-rich foods like prunes. However, long-term management and consulting a healthcare professional are advised for sustained relief.

What are natural remedies for relieving constipation?

Natural remedies for relieving constipation include increasing fibre intake through foods like whole grains, legumes, and leafy greens, staying hydrated by drinking enough water, practising regular physical activity, managing stress levels, and considering natural supplements like psyllium husk or probiotics.

Can Ayurveda provide a permanent cure for constipation?

Ayurveda offers various treatments and lifestyle modifications that can provide long-term relief from constipation. Ayurvedic approaches may involve dietary changes, herbal remedies, specific yoga poses, and stress reduction techniques. However, consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner for personalised advice and treatment is essential.

Which foods are known to cause constipation?

Foods known to cause constipation include processed foods high in fat and sugar, low-fibre foods like white bread and pasta, dairy products, red meat, and fried or greasy foods.

What are the top 10 foods that help with relieving constipation?

The top 10 foods that help relieve constipation are prunes, apples, pears, kiwi, berries, flaxseeds, chia seeds, leafy greens, whole grains, and legumes.

What are some tips to prevent constipation?

Tips to prevent constipation include maintaining a high-fibre diet, drinking plenty of water, engaging in regular physical activity, managing stress levels, establishing a consistent bathroom routine, and avoiding prolonged sitting or holding back the urge to go.

Which cases of constipation should be considered severe?

Severe cases of constipation may include symptoms such as persistent or severe abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, unexplained weight loss, or a sudden change in bowel habits. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention.

Where is the pain typically located during constipation?

The pain during constipation is typically located in the lower abdomen, around the area of the colon.

Does constipation contribute to gas formation?

Yes, constipation can contribute to gas formation. When stool builds up in the colon, it can cause bloating and discomfort, producing excessive gas.

Disclaimer 

The content provided within this article has been thoroughly verified for accuracy. However, we advise consulting a healthcare professional before utilising any medication or dietary supplements mentioned herein.

References

  • Gao R, Tao Y, Zhou C, Li J, Wang X, Chen L, Li F, Guo L. Exercise therapy in patients with constipation: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. 2019 Feb 1;54(2):169-77. [Cited on 2023 July 14]. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30843436/ 
  • Meshkinpour H, Selod S, Movahedi H, Nami N, James N, Wilson A. Effects of regular exercise in the management of chronic idiopathic constipation. Digestive diseases and sciences. 1998 Nov;43:2379-83. [Cited on 2023 July 14]. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9824122/ 
  • Silva CA, Motta ME. The use of abdominal muscle training, breathing exercises and abdominal massage to treat paediatric chronic functional constipation. Colorectal disease. 2013 May;15(5):e250-5. [Cited on 2023 July 14]. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23375005/ 
  • Evans S, Lung KC, Seidman LC, Sternlieb B, Zeltzer LK, Tsao JC. Iyengar yoga for adolescents and young adults with irritable bowel syndrome. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition. 2014 Aug;59(2):244. [Cited on 2023 July 14]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4146428/ 
  • Setia G, Ramanathan M, Bhavanani AB, Prabu BS, Vinoth B, Ananthkrishnan N. Adjuvant yoga therapy for symptom management of functional dyspepsia: A case series. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. 2023 May 1;14(3):100715. [Cited on 2023 July 14]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10213372/

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