There are many of us for whom every morning is not as “lucid” as we would like to be. The morning starts on a bad note as frequent stomach pain clubbed with an unwillingness to eat your breakfast, followed by irritable headaches makes our mornings really bad. If you think I am talking gibberish, trust me I am not. What I refer to here are the side effects of the much dreaded constipation.
Not a happy subject I agree, but for those who have it know the pain of it constipation is a daily annoying affair. Heck, an entire movie starring some of the best Indian actors – Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Irrfan Khan, Jisshu Sengupta – was made on the subject!
To describe constipation in simple medical terms, it would be “a condition in which there is difficulty in emptying the bowels, usually associated with hardened faeces”. The worst thing about constipation is it makes you feel FAT. (I am sure none of us want that).
Constipation generally happens when we have inappropriate working hours, unhealthy eating habits – such as eating too much junk food and less of green leafy vegetables and fruits, less time for sleep and rest. The difficulty in the bowel movements is further increased due to absorption of minimal drinking water and excessive intake of tea and coffee. Though constipation can affect anyone, it is common in aged women, during pregnancy, after child birth and surgery. The trouble is, with higher stress levels and increased irregularity in lifestyle, more and more people in their late 30s and early 40s have started complaining of constipation.
While there are medications that might give you temporary relief, but do you know that yoga, if practised regularly, can be a better option for curing constipation? Yoga helps revitalise your body and also increases the flow of blood and oxygen in the system, thereby, improving your digestive system.
Here are four yoga postures that can set infrequent bowel movements to normal.
Ardha-Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half Spinal Twist Pose)
How to do it:
* Sit down on the ground with your legs extended in front of you; toes pointed toward the ceiling.
* Bend your left leg, under your right one, placing your foot next to your right buttock.
* Place the right foot firm on the ground, near the left knee.
* Extend both your arms, and twist your upper body to the right. Place the right arm on the ground behind the back, and your lefthand on the right ankle in front of your body.
* Sustain the pose for at least 30 seconds. Gradually, increase the time to 1 minute.
* Release and repeat on the other side.
Benefits: This pose stimulates the pancreas, liver, spleen, kidneys, stomach, and ascending and descending colons, hence, improving bowel movements and providing relief from constipation.
Pavanmuktasana (Wind-Relieving Pose)
This is one of the easiest and most effect Yoga pose if you are felly gassy.
How to do it:
* Recline on your back and hug your legs into your chest.
* Pull the head up and try to put your nose in between the knees.
* You may rock genty if you wish too. Release after 10 to 15 seconds.
* Alternatively, you can extend one leg out.
Benefits: As the name suggests, this posture helps release gas from the body, a common trouble of constipation. The posture can help cure several digestive disorders, including dyspepsia. It also helps in relieving acid reflux which is caused by indigestion.
Shishuasana/Balasana (Child Pose)
This position means that you crouch down over your knees on the floor, pushing onto your lower abdomen.
How to do it:
* Start by kneeling on your knees, with your knees touching.
* Sit down so your bottom is touching your feet and your hands are on your knees.
* Place your hands on the floor in front of you and slowly start to move them forward, lowering your body down until your stomach is on your knees and your arms are stretched out in front of you. Your hands stay touching the floor or you can take them back to hold your feet.
* Now relax, taking slow deep breaths in and out of your nose.
* Hold for about 30 seconds and let the weight of your body go so that you are relaxed in this pose, and your knees push into the abdomen to provide relief.
* Then slowly work your way back up.
Benefits: Relieve any pain that you may get when constipated.
Malasana (Garland Pose)
How to do it:
* Squat down with your feet as close together as possible, and slightly pigeon-toed or pointing outwards.
* Your heels should be on the floor – you can always place a folded towel underneath them if this isn’t possible at first.
* Separate your thighs so that they are slightly wider than your body, and then lean forward between your thighs.
* As you do so, place your elbows on the inside of your knees with your palms together in a prayer position and gently push against your knees, which helps to lengthen the abdomen.
* Hold for 30 seconds, breathing gently through the nose before releasing.
Benefits: This pose will help you to relax and stretch the intestines.
So, in case your bowel movements are irregular stop worrying and start practising! Just a few minutes of your daily time and you can actually look forward to a healthy digestive system and a happier you! However, don’t forget to improve your diet habits as well. Include fibre-rich foods, fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. And, yes, don’t forget that glass of water at regular intervals!