Medically speaking, constipation is classified as passing fewer than three stools per week, having hard stools, having trouble with bowel movements, or feeling like you aren’t completely evacuating your bowels.
When we’re feeling “backed up,” all too often we turn to pills and over-the-counter remedies. They do usually work as a quick solution, but unless we treat the problem at its source, this treatment just conceals the underlying issue.
My tips to achieving healthy bowel movements are:
- Hydrate well – 2Lt p/day (H2O, herbal tea)
- Avoid processed foods
- Avoid alcohol
- Decrease reliance on laxative medication
- Avoid food allergens & sensitivities
- Play around with fibre quantities that work for you
- Don’t hold it in
- Massage your belly / intestines
- Use magnesium supplementation
- A crucial element of my day is to drink the 200 – 300ml freshly pressed juice my wife makes daily. It consists of:
- 1 x Apple
- 4 x Spinach leaves
- 1 x Radish
- ¼ Beetroot (small)
- 1 x Celery Stick
- 2 x Carrots,
and you can also add:
- Turmeric & pinch of ground pepper
- Peppermint leaves
- Ground flax seed
- Chia seeds / Psyllium Husk Fibre
- Use a box or stool under your feet to squat or sit at 35° to help open the colon for better elimination, opposed to the normal 90° seated position where the colon path is blocked.
- Assist your body by moving.
Movement in general is important for stimulating the bowels to help move the food bolus, gas and ultimately, waste, through your system. A common cause of constipation, gas and other tummy troubles has to do with our fast-paced and often unhealthy lifestyle. Poor eating choices, stress and busy schedules can manifest in your digestive system as hard and infrequent bowel movement or in more rare cases – very loose stools.While we don’t have to face hungry animals like our ancestors had to, our “fight-or-flight response”, a physiological reaction where the sympathetic nervous system prepares us to fight or flee quickly, is stimulated by all the stressful modern-day situations. This stimulus caused by chronic stress sets off hormone secretions, which affect our body and decreases the peristalsis, or movement of the bowels, slowing your metabolism.If you imagine your gut were a road, the path needs to be clear so that vehicles can move along easily but eventually when everything works too slowly, the vehicles start to pile up until nothing can move at all.
If your belly feels strained, bloated, full and distended there are very simple exercises that can relieve your discomfort. Twisting motions, inversions and forward folds promote elimination, relieving tension and supporting detoxification.
Many yoga poses increasing blood flow, massaging the digestive tract and pushing things along through the system so that your body can form healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation. It is also beneficial for stress reduction, which is important in treating many gastro-intestinal disorders, particularly Irritable Bowel Syndrome, where the mind-body balance is of central importance. Yoga is a non-religious science and its overall effects, linked with deep breathing, are very beneficial.
You can exercise in a subtle level without over exertion on the body and no fancy equipment is required.
It is a natural way to help get things moving. On a technical level yoga relieves constipation in different ways:
Give these yoga poses for constipation a try for a few minutes at the beginning or end of the day and your digestive system will be moving again. The rule of thumb is if it is painful, don’t do it. A little discomfort is okay, if it is not painful. If you struggle with twists, consider sticking to supine twisting, on your back or seated twists. For contra-indications please visit http://www.loveteachingyoga.com/yoga-contraindications/
Is a sitting posture, that can be done after a meal and is excellent for aiding digestion.
- Lower your body and sit on your heels. Your buttocks will be resting on the heels and the thighs on the calf muscles.
- Keep your hands on your knees and keep the head straight.
- Concentrate on the breath and observe the process of inhalation and exhalation.
- One may close the eyes, to get good concentration and to calm the mind.
- Remain in this position for 5 – 10 minutes. In the initial stages, there may be pain in the legs when you sit in this position. When that happens, release the pose & stretch your legs. Massage the ankles, knees & calf muscles with your hand.
- Those suffering from severe knee pain or who had any recent surgery of legs/waist should not practice this exercise. Pregnant women should try this pose only with their knees apart in order to avoid stress on the abdomen.
When you’re in this position, the twist of your body stimulates the digestive tract and can even help spur detoxification.
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Bend left leg & put left foot on ground near your bottom.
- To twist, put your right elbow next to your left knee and look over your left shoulder, twisting and stretching the body.
- Hold for a few deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.
Wind Relieving Pose
The name of this pose is fitting, as this position is ideal for deflating bloat and reducing gas. It also helps stimulate the colon, small intestine and stomach, which means it will help with overall digestion.
- Lie flat on your back with both legs stretched out straight in front of you.
- Slowly bring the right knee up into your chest, hold with both arms for 20 breaths.
- Stretch it back out again and repeat with the other side.
- Then draw both legs into the chest and hold to complete the stretch
The twisting motion of this pose massages the intestines, helping to expel waste, move food along and detoxify. It stimulates blood flow to your gut, which can improve digestive health.
- Start by lying flat on your back and drawing both legs up to the chest.
- Extend the left leg straight out, bend your right leg and bring it to the left across your body. Keep your back and shoulders pressed against the floor and look towards your right.
- Hold pose for 20 breaths in and out and then repeat on the other side.
Standing Forward Bend
Practicing this pose can help relieve stress and calm your nerves, which means improving the function of the digestive tract. Plus, it compresses the abdomen to optimize digestion and prevent constipation.
- Start by standing straight up with feet hip-width apart and then fold down, pulling your chest towards your thighs.
- If necessary, bend your legs to make this pose easier.
- Drop your arms down and push your palms on the floor or grab opposite arms to really feel the stretch. Alternatively use a block if you cannot reach the floor.
- Hold this pose for 10 breaths and then relax.
Downward Facing Dog
This position is the perfect pose for constipation because it stretches your entire body and releases tension. This can also help relieve any build up in the digestive tract, getting things moving and relieving constipation.
- Start all fours on the floor.
- Tuck your toes under & straighten legs, pushing down through your palms.
- You should be forming an upside-down “V” at this point.
- Keep your feet hips-width apart with your arms a bit wider at shoulder-length.
- Bend the knees very slightly and hold for 10 deep breaths.
The purpose of this pose is to relieve tension & reduce stress.
With chronically high levels of stress, regularity in your bowel movements is reduced.
- Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet tucked under, about hip-length apart.
- Lean forward into the mat, and stretch your arms out in front of you, slowly inching forward until your forehead touches the mat.
- Breathe deeply and hold the pose, releasing any tension and letting stress drift away.
You can also create your own custom constipation-fighting routine. Any twisting pose can aid in stimulating peristalsis and reducing constipation while simple meditative poses alleviate gas and bloating by decreasing stress.
We are dedicated to helping you. Please note that this information is not exclusive and other exercises, advice and techniques can also help. For any questions please send us a mail, call us and see below information that can also assist you in your road to a healthy bowel movement and lifestyle.
Mia Jacobs | 083 231 6992
Liesl Olivier | 072 281 9123 | email@example.com