Constipation is one of the common digestion problems worldwide. In the USA, about 20% of people suffer from constipation. In 2015, a study reported that about 24.8% of Indians complained about constipation and 16.8% suffered from constipation defined by the Rome II criteria; the majority of this population were urban-dwellers, as they were at a higher risk due to sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle.
Medically constipation is defined as – less than three bowel movements per week; difficulty to start or complete a bowel movement; stool that looks like rocks or pebbles; a feeling of incomplete bowel movement.
Constipation can be caused due to a- low-fiber diet, intestinal obstruction, dehydration, or intake of certain drugs.
Individuals with neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis can also have constipation, as such nerve problems can affect the stool movement in the digestive tract.
Yoga is an excellent option for the treatment and management of any health condition. Yogic exercises balance and stabilize the energies of the adults and influence the proper usage of their energy. Some asanas (or postures) activates the digestion process, strengthens the abdominal muscles and cures various gastrointestinal problems.
The following are the asanas that can help treat constipation:
Vajrasana (Thunderbolt or Adamant Pose)
- Sit on the ground with your legs folded at the knees, such that your hips are placed above your heels and the toes are pointing out.
- Sit in the pit formed by the parted heels.
- Your back, neck, and head must be in a straight line.
- Place your palms on the thighs facing upwards.
- Take long deep breaths and hold the pose for as long as possible. Return to the initial position and relax.
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
- Lie flat on your stomach, and rest your chin on the floor, keep your hands beside your body and legs extended.
- As you inhale, bring your hands near your chest and lift your torso.
- Stretch and tilt your head back, looking upwards.
- Hold your breath and remain in this position for as long as possible. As you exhale, bring your upper body down slowly.
Halasana (Plough Pose)
- Lie flat on your back, with your hands beside your body and your palms facing down.
- Take a deep breath in and lift your feet off the ground with the help of your abdominal muscles, so that the legs are at a 90-degree angle.
- With the help of your hands, support your hips and lift them off the floor.
- Further, bring your feet in a 180-degree angle while keeping your legs straight, such that your toes are placed above your head.
- Hold this position for as long as possible. Return to the initial position slowly, without jerking your legs.
Pavanamuktasana (Wind-relieving Pose)
- Lie flat on your back with your arms resting beside your body.
- Lift your left knee and bring it towards your chest, keeping your right leg straight.
- Hold your left knee with both hands and lift your head towards the knee.
- Breathe normally and hold this position. Return to the initial position and repeat with the right leg.
Paschimottanasana (Forward Bend)
- Sit on the floor with your legs forward and hands on the thighs.
- As you inhale raise your arms straight and lift them above the head.
- Bend forward from the hips with your back straight, as you exhale.
- Try to hold your toes, keeping your knees straight. Depending on your flexibility, try to touch your head to the knees.
- Hold this position as you breathe normally. Return to the initial position slowly as you inhale.
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
- Lie on your abdomen with your chin resting on the floor, keeping your hands beside your body and extending your legs.
- As you inhale, bend your legs at the knees and hold the ankles with your hands.
- Put your body weight on the abdomen and raise your head, shoulder, and thighs, and look up.
- Hold your breath and remain in this position for as long as possible. Return to the initial position as you exhale.
Include these exercises in your daily routine for healthy and regular bowel movements.