Despite your best efforts to treat your tummy with TLC, it's normal to get a little blocked up from time to time. Constipation is a health concern that affects virtually every woman at some point, and it can result in bloating, abdominal cramps and a lack of energy and appetite. But before you clear the grocery store of its prune juice supply, perform some yoga positions beneficial for constipation relief.
According to "Asana Journal," twisting postures can help ease constipation by compressing and stretching the digestive organs, nerves and muscles, which stimulates the large intestine. Try a seated twist like Lord of the Fishes pose. If you have knee or hip discomfort, keep your bottom leg straight out in front of you with the foot flexed to protect your joints. As for standing postures, "Yoga Journal" recommends Revolved Triangle pose as an effective way to relieve constipation. With your feet hip-distance apart, step one foot back and square your pelvis to the front of your mat. Lift the arm opposite to your front foot and place your hand beside the outside of your front foot. If you have tight hamstrings, use a block to rest your hand on.
Like twists, yoga positions that bend the body forward also compress and stimulate the digestive organs. According to "Yoga Journal," Standing-Forward Bend pose is beneficial for relieving constipation. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Inhale as you lengthen your spine and then exhale as you fold your chest toward your thighs. You can also do this posture from a seated position. Try sitting on the edge of a rolled-up mat before folding forward to lift your hips and maintain length in your spine. You can bend your knees to take some of the intensity away from your hamstrings, both in the standing and seated versions of the position.
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Many cultures prefer to use the squatting position to go to the bathroom because it makes elimination faster and more complete. Simulate this position with Garland pose, a squatting position with your feet wide apart. If your heels don’t reach the mat, place a rolled-up blanket under them. You can also sit on a bolster or rolled-up blanket if the squat is hard on your knees. Hold your shins or place your elbows on the insides of your knees with your palms resting on the mat.
Pelvic Floor Awareness
According to Mayo Clinic, constipation in women can be caused by pelvic floor dysfunction, a lack of coordination of the muscular actions that allow bowel movements. This problem is common in moms who have given birth vaginally. Physicians and physical therapists recommend yoga as a way to prevent and treat this condition. Relaxing yoga positions allow the pelvic floor to soften, making it easier for the digestive system to do its job. Try Child’s pose with your knees wide and your forehead resting on your mat or a block. Breathe deeply and focus on relaxing your entire pelvic area.
Always consult a doctor prior to beginning a new exercise program such as yoga. If you experience constipation with bleeding, significant abdominal pain or nausea, seek prompt medical care.
Based in Calgary, Canada, Julia Marshall has been writing professionally since 2007. Her work has appeared on websites in the financial, technology, fitness and retail industries. Marshall holds a Master of Arts in communications and technology from the University of Alberta and is a registered yoga teacher with the Canadian Yoga Alliance.