We’ve all been there, our not so glamorous moments involving bloated tummies and uncomfortable sensations down under, not to mention having to unbutton those jeans you (finally) squeezed back into. It happens to the best of us, and as unpleasant and embarrassing as it may be, the human body functions pretty much the same way for all of us; so that when it comes down to it, our diet and lifestyle have an immediate impact on our health.
Consuming a diet low in fibre or not drinking enough water typically denotes the causes of constipation. With most of us leading busy lives, being desk bound is just one of the many factors that result in infrequent bowel movements.
Aside from upping the fruit and veg intake, there are a few things you can do to help ease the discomfort and prevent any traffic jams or back ups in the future. Low and behold, yoga offers many twists and forward folds that cleanse the organs and stimulate blood flow, perfect for regular relief to get you back on track (or at least, your toilet seat).
Half King Fish Pose is a beautiful twist for the spine and the internal organs. It detoxes everything in the pelvic region; from the liver, to the kidneys and (you guessed it) the colon and stomach. From a seated position, cross your right foot over to your left knee while trying to maintain your sitting bones even on the floor. From there, hook your left elbow around your right knee, take a deep breathe in as you exhale to twist to your right, looking over your right shoulder. You can use your right hand for support to keep your spine up right, making sure you twist from your torso. Hold for at least five breaths before switching to the other side.
If you’re looking to strengthen those legs along the way, then a lunging twist will activate your thighs as well as your core. The action of shifting forward simulates a squat position, which is extremely beneficial for any bowel movements that may need to happen down there. From a crescent lunge with your right foot forward and on the ball of your back foot, shift your torso forward at a 45 degree angle before hooking your right elbow around your right knee. Try to maintain square hips in this pose, as you should be twisting from your torso. If the pose is too strong, then drop the back knee for a modified version. Hold for at least 5 breaths, then switch sides.
Butterfly Pose, as we like to call it, is a relaxing inner-thigh stretch that stimulates your lymphatic system, responsible for draining the body of its toxins. Once again it’s the squat-like position of folding forward that helps with any bowel movement, massaging your abdomen. Sit with your knees wide and soles of the feet touching, letting your knees drop on either side, draw your heels towards your groin as much as is comfortable. From there, sit tall and take a deep breathe in, as you begin to exhale slowly lower your shoulders towards the ground as much as you can, being careful not to round through the lower-back.
You can use a block for this one, or support your lower-back with your hands. Push your heels towards the celling and relax your shoulders, making sure there isn’t any excessive pressure on your neck. This inversion is great to stimulate blood flow to the stomach, since it changes the gravitational pull, letting the bowels move freely.
Focusing on your breath relaxes your body by mindfully inhaling and exhaling. Every breath cycle contracts the abdominal muscles which in turn stimulates movement and blood flow. Find a quiet spot to sit and internally focus on your breathing patterns, concentrating on circulating oxygen through the digestive tract.