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10 Yoga Poses To Ease Constipation And Be A Smooth Operator

Yoga Poses To Relieve Constipation

Beat constipation with simple yoga poses like the wind relieving pose, child pose, and butterfly pose that aren’t hard to master. Seated and supine spinal twists can help too. Use the inversions, bends, and twists to apply gentle pressure on your intestines and abdominal region and kiss constipation goodbye.

Constipation can be uncomfortable and frustrating, but yoga could be the answer to your problems! Sounds too good to be true? Asanas or poses like inversions, twisting poses, and forward bends could help massage your abdomen and digestive organs from the outside. Yoga can also help boost oxygen circulation and blood flow, easing the movement of stools through your body. What’s more, yoga is a great way to destress. So if your constipation problems are linked to stress, this could be your way out. You should notice your bowel movements settling into a regular pattern once you begin to practice such asanas regularly.1

So which of the vast pool of asanas are best for your purpose? We have rounded up some of the best twists, bends, and poses to relax your body and give your digestive system that little nudge it needs. These may even help you manage the pain or discomfort associated with constipation.

1. Pawanmuktasana Or Wind Relieving Pose

Wind-relieving pose relieves pent-up gas from the body.

This pose, as the name suggests, helps release any pent-up gas from the body – a typical problem when you’re constipated. It also helps ease indigestion and acid reflux.2

How to do the pose

  • Lie flat on your back with your arms by your sides and feet together.
  • Exhale as you pull your right knee to your chest with clasped hands, pressing your thigh into your abdominal region.
  • Breathe in and as you exhale, raise your head and chest off the mat/ground so that your chin touches your right knee. Hold this pose, breathing deeply in and out.
  • As you breathe out, tighten your hold on your knee so the pressure on your chest increases. As you breathe in, loosen your hold a little.
  • Exhale again, returning the leg and arms to the ground. Repeat on the other side and then with both legs pulled in to your chest.3

2. Baddha Konasana Or Butterfly Pose

The butterfly pose relieves bloating caused by constipation.

Forward bends are an excellent way to aid digestion, so here’s a look at one that should help you.4 You should see bloating associated with constipation come down with the butterfly pose. Painful cramps or gas is also relieved with this asana. In addition, the butterfly pose is a stress-buster which is great for your digestion overall.

How to do the pose

This classic butterfly pose is a seated pose and can be done seated with your back gently leaning against a wall so your spine is erect and legs outstretched.5

  • Begin by bending your legs at the knees so the soles of your feet meet and your heels are as close to your body as possible.
  • Keep your tailbone pushed firmly against the wall.
  • Let your thighs relax. If you need pillows/cushions to support your thighs if they are very high off the ground, use them.
  • Inhale and feel your chest expand as it fills with air.
  • Exhale and, as you do so, press both thighs out and down to the floor. Your feet must remain pressed together and your back steady against the wall.
  • Release the pose by bringing both knees to each other and straightening your legs.

3. Paschimottanasana Or The Forward Bending Pose

The forward bending pose gives a deep abdominal massage to the intestines and other abdominal organs.

Another seated forward bend, the paschimottanasana is a familiar toe-touching stretch you may have already encountered in regular exercise routines.6 This pose gives a deep abdominal massage to the intestines and other abdominal organs. It is beneficial for those with constipation, a sluggish liver, or weak digestion in general. The back-strengthening effect helps beat the fatigue from straining when you are constipated.7

How to do the pose

You can make use of a strap to help you with this pose if needed.8

  • Sit on the ground on a mat or folded blanket to support the buttocks, with your legs extended in front. Rock on each buttock by turn, pulling away from the other sitting bone as you do so. The tops of your thighs must be turned in ever so slightly and pressed into the floor. Also press your palms and fingertips into the floor and raise your sternum up to the ceiling.
  • Breathe in as you lean forward from your hip, arms fully extended, elbows straight, hands on the sides of your feet, and your thumbs resting on your soles. Do not lean from your waist. Feel your tailbone lengthen. If you cannot reach your feet with the hands, use a strap looped around the feet and hold this instead.
  • Gently ease into the forward bend, lengthening your front torso and keeping the head raised. Your elbows must bend out to your sides and lift up off the floor. If you’re holding a strap, loosen your hold, move your hands forward, and keep your arms long when you do this. Feel your lower belly graze your thighs, followed by your upper belly and then your ribs. Your head will touch your thighs last.
  • Allow your front torso to rise and lengthen a little each time you breathe in. When you exhale, release more into the forward bend. Repeat this for 1 to 3 minutes.
  • To exit the pose, lift your torso from your thighs gently and straighten your elbows. Breathe in as you raise your torso up, pulling your tailbone into the pelvis.

4. Ardha Matsyendrasana Or Sitting Half Spinal Twist

The spinal twist revs up digestion.

This spinal twist works on kidney and liver function and revs up digestion overall.9 Practice this twist regularly and you should see your constipation easing off.10

How to do the pose

  • Sit upright with your legs in front of you, ensuring your spine is straight and feet together.
  • Bend your left leg and bring the heel to your right hip. Next, bring your right over your left knee. Put your left hand on your right knee and the right hand behind.
  • Twist to your right from your waist, then twist your shoulders and finally the neck, exhaling. Gaze over your right shoulder. Hold this pose, taking care that your spine stays erect.
  • Remain in those pose for 30 seconds to a minute, taking gentle but long breaths.
  • Exhale and release your right hand, then your waist, followed by your chest and neck to return to a relaxed straight position.
  • Repeat this sequence on the other side.11

5. Supta Matsyendrasana Or Supine Twist

The supine twist improves blood flow to the abdominal organ.

This reclined spinal twist stretches your back and helps align the spine. It also massages internal organs of the abdomen and boosts blood flow to these. In addition, it relaxes the mind and body. All of these have beneficial effects for anyone with constipation.12 13

How to do the pose

  • Lie down on your back with knees bent, arms by your sides, and feet flat on the ground.
  • Exhale, bring your knees to your chest, and clasp them with your hands. Now extend your left leg to the ground, your right knee still clutched close to the chest. Extend your right arm out at shoulder height above the ground, palm downward.
  • Let your hips move a little to the right. Put your left hand on the outside of the right knee.
  • Breathe out as you drop the right knee onto the left side of your body. Your left hand must stay on your right knee.
  • Face your head to the right, allowing your gaze to lightly fall on the fingertips of your right hand. Your shoulder blades must be pressed into the ground. Allow your knee to fall a little further down in the direction of the ground. You should feel your right toes grazing the ground. Let your foot rest in this place. Hold.
  • Inhale returning to the central position and knees held to the chest. Breathe out and stretch your right leg out and repeat the sequence on this side.

6. Halasana Or The Plow Pose

The plow pose eases stress which could cause constipation.

The plow pose is a strengthening pose that stimulates the organs in your abdomen and helps you digest food better. It makes your back muscles stronger and eases stress that could be holding you back from normal bowel movements.14

How to do the pose

  • Lie down flat on your back with your arms by your sides, palms facing downward.
  • Breathe in using your abdominal/core muscles to raise your feet off the ground in a 90-degree angle.
  • Breathe normally, support your hips as well as your back with your hands and raise them slowly off the floor.
  • Now sweep your legs over your head so that the toes touch the floor above your head. Your back should be vertical/perpendicular to the ground.
  • Hold this for a few seconds, allowing your body to relax a little as you continue to breathe steadily.
  • Exhale as you release the pose, returning your legs to the floor.15

7. Bhujangasana Or The Cobra Pose

The cobra pose relieves gas.

The bhujangasana is specifically recommended for those with constipation.16 It can help your digestion overall and ease gas if that is an issue for you. Like the plow pose, it also strengthens your back muscles and spine.17

How to do the pose

  • Lie down on your stomach on a comfortable mat with feet together and hands by your shoulders and slightly below, with the palm side on the ground. Let your forehead touch the floor gently
  • Raise your head off the floor slowly, inhaling when you do this. Lead with your nose and then the chin.
  • Raise your chest off the floor, supporting yourself with your palms. Ensure you engage your back muscles to strengthen them. Breathe in deeply and hold this pose. Breathe in and out a few times.
  • Now return to your starting position, exhaling as you do so.
  • Again, raise yourself up while you inhale. This time, you should lift the entire trunk of your body up. Feel a gentle bend midway through your spine. Again, breathe in deeply and hold the pose. Breathe in and out a few times before releasing the pose.
  • Exhale as you come back to the starting position.
  • For the third phase, rise up again using your palms to support yourself and leveraging the strength of your back muscles. Your trunk should lift off so that you feel the spine stretch all the way from the neck down to the base. Breathe in deeply and hold the pose. Breathe in and out a few times before coming back to the starting position as you exhale.18

8. Dhanurasana Or The Bow Pose

The bow pose helps relieve constipation.

Practicing the dhanurasana on a regular basis will help you overcome an ongoing constipation or gas problem.19 This asana applies intra-abdominal pressure from the outside and helps with bowel movements. It is, in fact, an overall workout for your abdominal region.20

How to do the pose

  • Lie down on your stomach so your knees are bent. Now prepare to pull your heels by reaching behind you with your arms. The aim is to bring the heels in toward your buttocks.
  • Keep your abdomen and core engaged throughout.
  • Reach back with your hands and arms so you can grip your ankles or your feet. If you can’t do this, then grip the furthest part of your leg that you can.
  • Now raise your legs off the ground followed by your shoulders and then head. You should feel your calves and thigh muscles contracting as your feet push into your hands.
  • Hold this pose for as long as you can, building up to 15–20 seconds. You should breathe in and out comfortably throughout and not feel strained. To release, exhale and allow your chest and legs to come to the ground.21

9. Adho Mukha Svanasana Or Downward Facing Dog

The downward dog pose helps with digestion.

A yoga class staple, the downward facing dog helps nourish the intestines, aids digestion, and helps boost bowel movements.22

How to do the pose

  • Get down on all fours to do this asana.
  • Ensure your knees are below your hips and hands below but a little ahead of your shoulders.
  • Breathe in, spreading your fingers wide, keeping your palms firmly on the floor and tucking your toes under.
  • Breathe out, extending your legs and drawing your tailbone and hips up toward the ceiling. Your body should make an inverted V shape. Ensure your neck and head are between your upper arms and your feet hip-distance apart.
  • Keep your spine lengthened throughout, releasing your shoulders away from your ears. You should let your knees bend as needed to maintain the pose. Just take care that both your hands and your feet are properly rooted. Hold.
  • Inhale and exhale 3 to 5 times before releasing the pose.23

10. Balasana Or Child’s Pose

The child pose relieves stress, which often causes constipation.

Even the seemingly easy child’s pose can help your constipation problem.24 This stress-busting pose washes away fatigue and calms the mind, helping if your constipation is linked to stress or has resulted in stress. It also gently stretches your hips and thighs.25

How to do the pose

  • Kneel down keeping knees hip-width apart. Let your big toes touch as you rest on your heels.
  • Leave your hands, palms facing up, on either side of your torso.
  • Inhale as you raise your arms upward.
  • Exhale as you bring them down, ending with them resting in front of your body, your eyes lingering on the floor.
  • Do this inhalation and exhalation movement five times.26

References   [ + ]

1. Smooth Moves: Yoga Poses for Constipation. AARP.
2, 4. Yoga Exercise for Constipation and Gas Problem. The Art of Living.
3. Wind Relieving Pose. The Art of Living.
5. Prenatal Yoga: 20 Postures, Yoga Journal May 1982.
6, 7, 14, 19, 20. Top 7 Yoga Poses for Constipation Relief. The Yoga Institute.
8. Seated Forward Bend. Yoga Journal.
9. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose. Yoga Journal.
10, 16, 17. Yoga and Constipation. Integral Yoga Magazine.
11. Ardha Matsyendrasana – Sitting Half Spinal Twist. The Art of Living.
12. Lying-down Body Twist. The Art of Living.
13. Yoga Poses to Control Diabetes. The Art of Living.
15. Plough Pose. The Art of Living.
18. Rakhshaee, Zahra. “Effect of three yoga poses (cobra, cat and fish poses) in women with primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized clinical trial.” Journal of pediatric and adolescent gynecology 24, no. 4 (2011):192-196.
21. Finney, Sumukhi. The Yoga Handbook. The Rosen Publishing Group, 2009.
22. 8 Poses for Better Digestion. Yoga Journal.
23. A Beginner’s Guide to Yoga: 5 Widely Practiced Poses. American Council on Exercise.
24. Smooth Moves: Yoga Poses for Constipation. AARP (earlier American Association of Retired Persons).
25. Child’s Pose. The Yoga Journal.
26. Mueller, Donna. “Yoga Therapy.” ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal 6, no. 1 (2002): 18-hyhen.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.