Everybody poops but not always as regularly as you might like. In general, movement helps keep things moving. The added benefit of yoga is it also helps relieve stress, which can exacerbate GI issues. So before you reach for OTC help, try this five-pose yoga fix.
STANDING FORWARD FOLD
This pose calms the nervous system, reduces stress and compresses the abdomen, which can help with digestion. If you have low-back problems or super tight hamstrings, keep your knees bent.
The move: Stand at the top of your mat. As you inhale, sweep your arms overhead. Keep your low belly drawn in to counteract arching your back. As you exhale, hinge from the hips and swan dive forward with your arms out like wings. Rest your hands on a block, hold onto your ankles or place your palms on the floor. Let your head be heavy, relax your eyes and hold for 5–10 breaths. Then bring your hands to your hips, inhale, lift your torso with a flat back and return to mountain.
WIND RELIEVING POSE
Worst. Name. Ever. But, as the name suggests it helps eliminate gas and bloating. It also stimulates the colon, stomach and small intestines.
The move: Lie on your back with your legs extended and arms by your side. As you inhale, stretch your arms overhead. On an exhale, hug your right knee to your chest. Hold for 5–10 breaths. Then, as you inhale extend the arms and legs in opposite directions, stretching the right leg. As you exhale, hug your left knee to your chest. Hold for 5–10 breaths and release.
Plow calms the mind, stretches the spine, shoulders and backs of the legs and improves digestion.
The move: To begin, lie on your back with your arms beside you. As you inhale, engage your abdominals and lift your legs toward the sky. Bring your hands to your low back for support, tucking your elbows close into your body. As you exhale, hinge from your hips, and try to bring your toes to the floor above your head. If your toes don’t reach the ground — and that’s normal — keep your hands on your low back for support. If your feet do touch the ground, release your hands and press your palms into the earth.
Keep your chin away from your chest, soften your jaw and breathe here for 10 or more breaths. To release from the pose, bring your hands back to your low back, inhale and lift your legs toward the sky, exhale and gently roll down.
READ MORE FIVE-POSE YOGA FIXES
Traditionally, twists are thought to stimulate the digestive tract, wringing our insides out like a sponge.
The move: Begin by lying on your back. As you inhale, draw both legs toward you, making an L shape with your legs so your knees are in line with your hips and your ankles are in line with your knees. As you exhale, drop your legs to the right. Extend both arms out in a T position and look toward the sky or deepen the twist and turn your head to look over your right shoulder. Hold the twist for 10–20 breaths. Then as you inhale, draw your legs back to center. On your next exhale, lower your legs to the left and repeat the twist on the other side.
LEGS UP THE WALL
This gentle inversion is great for stress relief. It calms the mind and improves circulation.
The move: Sit with one hip next to a wall. Swing your legs up parallel to the wall as you lean back and rest your upper body on the ground, forming an L shape.
If your hamstrings are tight, scoot your hips back a few inches from the wall or put a slight bend in your knees. For added support, you can also place a folded blanket or bolster beneath your low back. This lifts your butt off the ground slightly. Rest your hands on your belly, lay them by your sides or form a goalpost shape with your palms facing upward to open your chest.
Focus on long, slow breaths, keeping your inhales and exhales even. Hold this pose for 5–10minutes. Then press your feet into the wall, lift your hips slightly and roll to one side. Stay on your side for a few breaths, taking your time to come out of the pose. Then return to a seated position.