by: Yuri Elkaim

7 Yoga Poses for Constipation

No one likes to talk about it, but being constipated can feel really uncomfortable.

Your belly feels strained, bloated, full, and distended. And when you actually do go to the bathroom, you might feel like you’re never completely able to clear your bowels.

Medically speaking, constipation is classified as passing fewer than three stools per week, having hard stools, experiencing difficulty with bowel movements, or feeling like you aren’t completely evacuating your bowels.

And when we’re feeling “backed up,” all too often we turn to pills and over-the-counter remedies. The truth is, they usually work pretty well as a quick fix.

But unless you treat the problem at its source, these treatments just cover up the underlying problem without fixing it.

I’ve talked before about how to get rid of bloating and ways to improve digestion to stop constipation in its tracks. A high-fiber diet full of fruits and vegetables and making sure you’re drinking enough water are two big factors for preventing constipation. Not to mention these 3 natural cures.

But did you know that there are exercises to relieve constipation fast?

Yoga Poses for Constipation

While any type of exercise will help you with regular bowel movements and also with improving digestive health, yoga stands out as one of the best types of exercise for treating constipation.

That’s right – besides being great for boosting flexibility, circulatory health, and muscle tone, yoga is a great way to keep your digestive tract moving and prevent constipation.

Yoga relieves constipation by working in two different ways.

First, it helps you reduce stress. This is important because stress is a major contributor to constipation and can cause things to get blocked up fast if you’re not careful (1).

You might have heard of the “fight-or-flight response” – it’s a physiological reaction designed to protect us in dangerous situations.

When you detect an attack or any kind of threat to survival, your sympathetic nervous system is activated, which prepares you to fight or flee quickly.

This response originated back in the days when our ancestors were in danger of being eaten by tigers and other wild animals. But, while most of us probably won’t have to face hungry tigers any time soon, our fight-or-flight response still gets activated during stressful situations (2).

It also sets off a cascade of hormone secretions, which affects your body in many different ways, including by decreasing the peristalsis (movement) of the bowels.

Think of your gut as a highway. For things to work efficiently, the road needs to be clear so that cars can move along. When you have chronic stress, everything gets slowed down and eventually traffic starts to pile up until nothing is able to move at all.

And second, many yoga poses also work by increasing blood flow, massaging the digestive tract, and pushing things along through the system so that your body is able to form healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation.

The twisting motions in many yoga are especially helpful for promoting elimination, plus relieving tension and support detoxification.

Incorporate these yoga poses for bowel movement stimulation into your daily routine and you can say goodbye to the straining and bloat for good!

7 Yoga Positions for Constipation

1. Downward Facing Dog

Yoga Poses for Constipation - Downward Dog

This position is the perfect yoga pose for constipation because it stretches your entire body and releases tension. This can also help relieve any buildup in the digestive tract, getting things moving and putting an end to constipation.

To get into this position:

  • Start all fours on the floor.
  • Tuck your toes under and straighten your 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.

2. Matsyasana Twist (Seated Twist)

Yoga Poses for Constipation - Seated Twist Pose

When you’re in this position, the twist of your body stimulates the digestive tract and can even help spur detoxification.

This is one of the simpler yoga poses, which makes it perfect for beginners.

To get into this position:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  • Bend your left leg and put your left foot on the 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.

3. Wind Relieving Pose

Yoga Poses for Constipation - Wind Relieving Pose

Source: Yoga Basics

If you’re practicing yoga for constipation and gas, this pose should be a staple in your routine.

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 and 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.

4. Crescent Twist

Yoga Poses for Constipation - Crescent Twist

Source: Yoga Journal

This pose twists your body even more than seated twisting positions, so it’s great for massaging the digestive tract and helping peristalsis to move food through the body.

To get into this position:

  • Standing straight up, go down into a lunge with your forward foot over your knee and keep your back leg straight and balanced on the ball of your foot.
  • Then, place your hands in prayer position and twist down towards the bent leg, putting your arm on the outside of the bent leg for support.
  • Hold for 10 deep breaths and switch sides.

5. Child’s Pose

Yoga Poses for Constipation - Child's Pose

The purpose of this pose is to relieve tension and reduce stress. As I mentioned above, over time, stress accumulates and can quickly take a toll on your digestive health, leading to constipation.

With chronically high levels of stress, regularity in your bowel movements is just about impossible.

Child’s pose is perfect for all levels of yogis, from beginner to advanced.

To get into this position:

  • 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.

6. Standing Forward Bend

Yoga Poses for Constipation - Standing Forward Bend

Source: Yoga Journal

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.

To get into this position:

  • 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.
  • Hold this pose for 10 breaths and then relax.

7. Supine Twist

Yoga Poses for Constipation - Supine Twist

Source: Yoga Basics

This yoga pose is awesome for your digestive health for several reasons.

First, the twisting motion of this pose massages the intestines, helping to expel waste, move food along, and detoxify. Plus, it stimulates blood flow to your gut, which can improve digestive health.

To get into this position:

  • 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 for 20 breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Regular Yoga to Keep You Regular

Give these 7 yoga poses for constipation a try and your digestive system will be moving again in no time.

Or, try creating your own custom constipation-fighting yoga routine. Any twisting pose can aid in stimulating peristalsis and reducing constipation while simple meditative poses alleviate gas and bloating by slashing stress.

I recommend making a little time each day to practice a few yoga poses. This can get your day off to a great start and prevent stress from building up over time.

Health-Boosting Bonus

Plus, it gives you all the amazing health benefits of yoga even if you’re pressed for time.

Best of all, no fancy equipment is required if you’re looking to start practicing yoga. All you need is a yoga mat, but even that is optional for many poses.

I personally start each morning with my quick and simple five minute yoga routine. This helps me feel limber, flexible, and energized and keeps my mind totally and focused.

If you’re hoping to start yoga to alleviate constipation or take advantage of its many other health benefits, pick a few of your favorite poses and set aside a few minutes at the beginning or the end of the day. Your digestive system will thank you.

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Yuri Elkaim

Yuri Elkaim

Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.