Some people like to dump all over yoga. It’s too slow. It’s too expensive. It’s too commercial now. And then some people, like me, simply prefer the dump that comes afterwards.
I struggle with constipation. I have for the last six years. There was once a time, many moons ago, when I could just go any old time, in any old place (save my own pants, because I am a lady). However, as life began to speed up, I noticed that this one part of me seemed to slow down, and stage fright kicked in.
Desperate (and bloated), I tried everything to remedy this – introducing more fiber into my diet. Intestinal self-massage. Prayer. Witchcraft. Results rendered were approximately nil.
It is not uncommon for women to experience difficulty when attempting to lay cable. Be it our menstrual cycles, our diets, the way we metabolize our food, stress, or a multitude of other causes, we can’t always crap the way we’d like to.
When waste matter stays too long in the colon, the toxins and fluids produced are absorbed into the tissue, causing the fecal matter to harden, resulting in discomfort and stagnancy. At least that’s what’s happening on the inside.
On the outside, however, it presents a little differently – sitting red-faced in the bathroom for far too long, flipping violently through old VICE magazines, shouting, “SHOULDA HAD THE BRAN BUDS” at myself (and to anyone within a one block radius).
Then I started doing yoga, and, next to all of the other improvements I began to notice in myself, my improved digestion and regularity became apparent as well.
The practice of yoga is meant to revitalize the body by increasing the flow of blood and oxygen within the system. Postures that demand movement or compression in the pelvic or abdominal region are extremely good for relieving constipation and encourage a steady, more healthful digestion process. Lucky for you, most standard yoga practices incorporate postures that do just that. Better yet, many of these postures can be done from the comfort of your own home. Here are three poses that can help remedy the congestion:
1. Wind Relieving Pose
The name is pretty self-explanatory. This asana invites the practitioner to compress their ascending and descending colon, which is the first phase of our digestive track. Lying on the back, with both legs extended out long, bend your left leg, and bring the left knee in toward your chest, gripping firmly around the back of your left thigh, or the front of your left shin, with both hands. Using the strength of your arms, while keeping the back of your head and your tailbone pressed firmly into the ground, draw the leg in toward your stomach on your inhales. Hold for a cycle of five breathes, and then repeat with the right left.
2. Cobra Pose
Known as Bhujangasana (which is also a fun thing to yell after you’ve had success in this department), cobra pose begins by lying on your stomach with your forehead on the mat. Place your palms flat on the ground alongside the front your shoulders, as if you were about to do a push up, with the inside of your biceps tucked tightly against your ribs. Pressing the tops of both feet into the mat, allow the front of your body to come up on your exhale, using just the strength of your back muscles to lift you, putting no weight on the hands at all. Hold here for five cycles of breath, maybe inviting your palms to come off the ground to a hover. This pose massages the entire digestive track, which is ideal for treating a backed up bowel.
3. Child’s Pose
Starting in a kneeling position, lower your butt to the backs of your heels and take a seat. On your next exhale, fold your torso forward so that your stomach rests upon your thighs, and your forehead comes as close as it can to the mat. To make this pose both passive and weighted, allow your arms to relax next to your bent legs, with your hands drawing back toward the feet. Inhale and exhale deeply here for a full minute, allowing your belly to fill to its limit each time, inviting your thighs to push into your lower abdomen, pressing into your bowels.
Often, all your body needs in order to heal itself is itself. Before you consider anything over the counter, or any sort of procedure that involves a tube, a bag, hot water, and a great deal of privacy, try some stretching and breathing first. If you have reservations about yoga, either due to the speed, the cost, or because you’re an obnoxious purist, all I ask is that you keep an open mind, and don’t poo-poo the idea until you try it.