Feeling constipated and looking for alternative ways to get digestive relief instead of using over-the-counter treatments or medications? Gentle twisting yoga postures and other simple stretches may help get things moving through your digestive system!
There is scientific evidence that suggests there are certain yoga postures, stretches, and yogic breathing techniques that may help alleviate constipation, provide digestive relief, and help you poop.
For example, multiple studies focused on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) concluded yoga has the potential to serve as a cost-effective alternative therapy for managing the primary symptoms of the condition, namely constipation and diarrhea. Researchers have further noted that practicing yoga might also offer relief for other associated symptoms commonly experienced with IBS, including fatigue and anxiety. (Source)
Yoga positions for constipation don't have to feel hard to be effective to get things moving! Keep reading to find out what makes yoga so good for alleviating constipation and bloating, along with the 5 best beginner yoga poses for constipation relief.
5 Easy & Gentle Yoga Poses for Constipation & Digestion Relief
Wind-Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana): True to its name, wind-relieving pose proves to be a beneficial and beginner-friendly yoga posture for relieving constipation and alleviating discomfort caused by gas. By assuming this pose, you can stimulate the release of trapped gas from the digestive system, offering relief to individuals experiencing chronic constipation and impaired liver function. The Wind-Relieving Pose not only aids in passing gas but also supports better digestion and promotes a healthier liver.
- Lie on your back
- Bring your knees towards your chest.
- Clasp your hands around your shins and gently hug your knees into your chest
- Hold for a few breaths or up to 3 minutes and then gently release yourself from the posture
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana): This yoga posture exerts gentle pressure on the abdominal cavity, effectively massaging the abdominal organs. This stimulation aids in alleviating symptoms related to weak digestion and constipation. Along with its benefits for the digestive system, Paschimottanasana also strengthens the back muscles and abdominal region while promoting detoxification. By incorporating this pose into your yoga practice, you can support regular bowel movements and ensure smoother digestion.
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
- Think about allowing your upper body to then rag doll and hang over your legs. (It is less about going towards your toes as it is allowing gravity to take over.)
- Let go of the weight of your head.
- Aim to bring your chest towards your thighs.
Child's Pose (Balasana): Child's Pose is a great beginner posture to help relax the abdominal muscles and promote digestion by increasing blood flow and helping move bowel movements along. It’s also a great posture for alleviating cramping during menstrual cycles that doesn’t involve any twisting to get things moving.
- Start on your hands and knees
- Then widen your knees and sit your hips back onto your heels
- Lower your forehead to the ground and extend your arms forward or alongside your body.
- Relax in this position, holding the posture for 30 seconds up to several minutes.
Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana): Gentle twisting postures that put gentle pressure on the abdominal and increase circulation to your gut are a great way to get things moving fast when you are experiencing some discomfort from constipation. This gentle pose can be an effective and relaxing way to stimulate the digestive system and make you poop.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent.
- Extend your arms out to the sides in a T-shape consciously pressing your shoulder blades into the floor, ground or mat beneath you.
- Slowly lower both knees to the right side of your body, allowing them to rest on the ground.
- Turn your head to the opposite direction or simply look straight forward at the ceiling or sky if you experience any neck pain.
- Stay in this position for a few breaths up to several minutes before switching sides. It can also be nice to find your wind-relieving pose between sides!
Adamant pose (Vajrasana): This simple yet effective posture serves as a valuable practice for strengthening digestive organs. This pose also plays a significant role in regulating blood circulation to the abdominal region, leading to improved digestion. As a result, individuals experiencing chronic constipation are often advised by yoga experts to incorporate this asana into their regular practice!
- Begin by kneeling down and stretching your lower legs backward, keeping them close together.
- Lower your body until you rest on your heels, with your thighs resting on the calf muscles.
- Maintain a straight gaze and focus on your breath as you hold the pose.
- Hold this pose for 30 seconds up to several minutes
How yoga addresses the underlying reasons you may be constipated or suffering digestive distress
Yoga offers a multitude of benefits that extend beyond relaxation and flexibility. According to various studies, regular yoga practice holds the potential to positively impact various aspects of our well-being, including our digestive health.
Yoga helps combat stress – which often triggers digestive issues
Amidst the challenges posed by our modern, fast-paced lifestyle—such as unhealthy eating habits, stress, and busy schedules—yoga emerges as a valuable tool for addressing common gastrointestinal issues like constipation, gas, and other digestive discomforts.
These tummy troubles often stem from the detrimental effects of our lifestyle choices. However, incorporating yoga into our routine can help counteract these issues!
By practicing yoga, we engage in a holistic approach that targets both physical and mental aspects of our well-being. This comprehensive approach can aid in alleviating symptoms like hard stools or infrequent bowel movements, providing relief to our digestive system.
Combine yoga with matcha to keep your stool health regular
Looking to supercharge your gentle yoga practice for body, mind, and digestive health? Drinking matcha 30-60 minutes before your regular yoga practice is not only associated with improving your ability to tap into mindfulness and meditate during your yoga practice — matcha can also help you to poop!
That’s right! Studies have shown that drinking matcha is another great way to provide constipation relief and promote a healthy gut. You can read all about the well-studied benefits of drinking yoga to make you poop here.
So there’s no doubt that regularly practicing yoga and drinking matcha may be a great way to keep your digestive health regular too!
The bottom line | Try these yoga postures to get things moving
We know depending on your current health, flexibility, and fitness level, some of these gentle postures can feel more advanced than others.
Always exercise caution and do not push yourself too hard when first attempting these poses. If you are unfamiliar and completely new to yoga, recommend speaking with a certified yoga instructor before you attempt more advanced postures to ensure proper alignment as well as a safe entry and exit from each posture.
Also keep in mind the benefits of yoga extend beyond our gut!
Research has shown its potential to decrease the risk of postpartum depression, reduce inflammation levels in individuals with heart failure, and offer various other mental and physical advantages. From head to toes, embracing the practice of yoga can bring about positive transformations and contribute to overall well-being.
D'Silva, A., MacQueen, G., Nasser, Y., Taylor, L. M., Vallance, J. K., & Raman, M. (2020). Yoga as a Therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Digestive diseases and sciences, 65(9), 2503–2514. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-019-05989-6
D'Silva, A., Marshall, D. A., Vallance, J. K., Nasser, Y., Rajagopalan, V., Szostakiwskyj, J. H., & Raman, M. (2023). Meditation and Yoga for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Randomized Clinical Trial. The American journal of gastroenterology, 118(2), 329–337. https://doi.org/10.14309/ajg.0000000000002052
Kavuri, V., Raghuram, N., Malamud, A., & Selvan, S. R. (2015). Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Yoga as Remedial Therapy. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2015, 398156. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/398156
Kuttner, L., Chambers, C. T., Hardial, J., Israel, D. M., Jacobson, K., & Evans, K. (2006). A randomized trial of yoga for adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome. Pain research & management, 11(4), 217–223. https://doi.org/10.1155/2006/731628
Setia, G., Ramanathan, M., Bhavanani, A. B., Prabu, B. S. M., B, V., & N, A. (2023). Adjuvant yoga therapy for symptom management of functional dyspepsia: A case series. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine, 14(3), 100715. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaim.2023.100715Shree Ganesh, H. R., Subramanya, P., Rao M, R., & Udupa, V. (2021). Role of yoga therapy in improving digestive health and quality of sleep in an elderly population: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 27, 692–697. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2021.04.012