For the millions of people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), we want you to know we feel your pain. IBS -- which affects more women than men, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders -- can be debilitating and chronic. We understand if you feel hopeless at times. But we have good news for you.
We've tried these yoga-inspired stretches, specifically targeted to relieve symptoms of IBS, and have been amazed at the results. We hope they help you as much as they have us.
1. Happy Baby
This joyful pose will make your tummy very happy. Yoga International explains to get into the pose, begin by lying on your back, hugging your knees into your chest. Let your knees drop wide apart, and reach the soles of your feet toward the ceiling. Keep your legs bent, with your feet directly over your knees. Hold on to the big toes or the sides of your feet. Relax into the pose, dropping the shoulder blades to the ground. Breath 10 deep breathes.
2. Gate Pose
Stretch out your digestive track with gate pose. Yoga International says to start this pose with kneeling. Stretch your right leg out to the right, keeping the heel on the ground, foot flat and toes reaching to the floor. Inhale and lift your left arm up. Exhale and lean your torso over the right leg. Rest your right hand on a block, the floor, or your shin. Feel the breath in the left rib cage, waist, and belly. Stay in this pose for 5 to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side. After practicing this posture on both sides, return to kneeling. Place your hands on your side ribs, and feel the movement of the breath under your hands. Inhale and exhale patiently and fully, letting your rib cage expand and contract.
3. Revolved Triangle
Gaiam recommends twists to improve digestion and relieve constipation. Among their favorite is revolved triangle. Start in standing. Step your left foot back three feet, placing the foot completely down on the floor, toes slightly turned out. Take the left side of the torso down towards the floor, placing your left hand on a block and your right hand on your waist. Pause and inhale. Upon exhaling, revolve the right side of your abdomen and chest up towards the ceiling. The whole left side should be turned towards your right side. Hold for 5- 10 breaths and repeat on the opposite side.
4. Deep Squat
If IBS stops you up, a deep squat can help compress the lower abdomen. One of Prevention's favorite poses to achieve this end is "Malasana," or a deep squat. To get into this pose, begin standing with feet hip-distance apart. Slowly bend your knees, aiming to keep your back straight, chest open, and abdomen pulled in tight. When you get into the deep squat, relax, but take care to maintain the strength and stretch of the pose. You should feel relief soon.
5. Forward Fold
Just as in a deep squat, a forward fold can work wonders for compressing the abdomen and helping the bowels move more easily, explains Prevention. When doing this pose, do not worry about getting your hands to touch the floor or keeping your knees straight. Focus instead on keeping the back straight and head heavy. Using a block to support your hands can help.
6. Legs Up The Wall
If you're suffering from diarrhea, Prevention recommends this pose to restore the bowels to a natural calm state. Lie on the floor with your feet facing the wall. Bring your bottom close to the wall, using a pillow to support your backside for extra comfort. Gently climb your legs up the wall so they're resting comfortably. You should not feel any strain. Rest for a minimum of 5 minutes.
7. Supported Child's Pose
To aid digestion, use towels or a yoga bolster to support child's pose. Think of this pose as giving your body a loving hug. Start on your hands and knees. Sit back on your ankles and fold your torso over stacked towels. Relax for at least five minutes, as directed by Prevention.
8. Prone Savasana
If you've taken a yoga class before, you're likely familiar with the final resting pose savasana, prone savasana's close cousin. This pose requires you lie on your belly and relax. Place a folded blanket under your ankles to increase comfort and breath calmly for at least five minutes. Prevention recommends prone savasana to relieve IBS symptoms because it protects the vital organs and helps you relax deeply.
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