Katie Regan, MBA, RDN
Best Yoga Poses For IBS
The human body is far more interconnected than most people realize. Most people recognize that exercise can help boost energy levels, improve your mood, and make you feel overall healthier, but very few people appreciate the benefits that come from hormonal releases.
Exercise is like nutrition, you need balance. Your body benefits from a healthy combination of anaerobic and aerobic exercises. Just like following a low FODMAP diet, low impact exercise can be beneficial for managing IBS. Yoga offers a relatively low impact exercise that engages your entire body. Due to the easy-going, gentle nature of yoga, yoga can be a great option for IBS patients. In this article, we’ll talk about yoga for IBS and discuss the best poses for someone suffering from this chronic digestive condition.
How does Yoga help with IBS?
There are three main ways that yoga can help with your IBS symptoms.
- Alleviating stress
Yoga postures and breathing techniques are great ways to relieve stress. One of the main contributing factors of IBS is stress so practicing yoga on a regular basis can help calm your nervous system and alleviate stresses that might be triggering your IBS symptoms.
- Helping you deal with uncomfortable sensations
Identifying the signs of the beginning of an IBS episode can be scary and cause anxiety, which can actually make your IBS symptoms worse. You can learn to identify and accept the sensations similar to how you accept the sensations caused by yoga poses. This will help you stay calm and keep your IBS episode on the mild side.
- Improve your overall health
Practicing yoga can improve your overall health, which can help your body overcome and adapt to adversity better. The stronger and healthier your body is then the better it is at handling pain caused by the digestive system.
Step your feet to hip-width distance. Plant your hands shoulder-width apart. Bring your hips in line with your shoulders. Engage your core muscles. Engage your quadriceps muscles.
The plank is a great yoga pose because it strengthens your abdominal muscles and engages many other muscles in your body, which has huge long term health benefits. We suggest doing planks on a daily basis to strengthen your abdominal muscles and lower stress levels.
Start from a plank position. Step your feet hips-width distance apart at the back of your mat. At the front of your mat, plant your hands shoulder-width distance. Spread your fingers wide. Breath in, send your hips back and up. Sink your heels towards the back of your mat.
Down dog is one of those basic yoga postures that we believe have tons of health benefits. It not only strengthens your abdominal muscles but also stimulates blood flow and improves posture. All yoga postures, including the down dog, are great ways to relieve emotional stress and physical stress.
Bring the tops of your feet to the mat. Send your chest forward. Press into your palms. Lift your shins, thighs, and hips off of the mat. Keep your gaze forward.
Up dog is another one of those basic yoga postures that are used by yogis everywhere. Up dog yoga poses are great for stretching the lower back, opening the chest, lengthening the spine, and strengthening your abdominal muscles.
Starting on the right. Root down into your grounded hand. Shift both heels to one side of your mat and stack your feet. Stack your hips and shoulders in one line. Extend through your bottom arm and gaze up. Hold here for 30 seconds. Release down into plank. Breathe in. Repeat on left.
The side plank is another one of those yoga postures that will push your body at first but will become easier once you've been practicing yoga for a while.
Half-Seated Spinal Twist
Start in a seated position. Knees bent and feet firmly planted on the ground. Cross your left leg under your right, with your left foot pulled towards your right buttock, so the left outer thigh rests on the ground and knee points forward. Place your right leg over your left with your right foot flat on the ground in front of your left knee. Be sure that you are balanced well with your back fully extended. Slowly spin your torso towards the right. Wrap your left arm around your right knee and slowly exhale, continue to twist just a bit more, and stop before it becomes uncomfortable. Hold this pose for 6 - 10 breaths and repeat now on the left.
The Half-seated Spinal Twist is another one of those yoga poses that have amazing health benefits and can help with reducing stress.
Reclining Abdominal Twist
Starting on your back, bend and squeeze your right leg to your right armpit as you slowly breathe outward. Hold the pose for a few breaths. Bend your right leg at the knee and bring it across your body to the left pointing your knee straight out to the left. Extend your right arm back along the shoulder line and place your palm flat on the ground. Keep your shoulder grounded. Hold this pose for 6 - 10 breaths and go back to the flat-lying position. Repeat the reverse for the other side.
Know that yoga is not only a great option because of the stretching of your muscles, but also because of the ability to de-stress. Stress management is another great form of IBS care. Yogic versus conventional treatment can have beneficial effects, but yoga coupled with conventional treatments and an improved diet can highly improve your digestive health.
Low FODMAP Diet and Yoga Working Together
Yoga practice can improve your IBS symptoms by relieving stress and teaching your body to handle uncomfortable sensations, but the best way to alleviate your irritable bowel syndrome is by following a Low FODMAP diet. Practicing yoga and following a Low FODMAP diet on a daily basis would be a highly impactful way of treating your IBS. Are you interested in learning more about the Low FODMAP diet? Click here: Low FODMAP Diet Guide
For more IBS-related resources like this, please visit https://modifyhealth.com/blogs/blog