Yoga Can Help IBS

Did You Know Yoga Can Help IBS?

If you have IBS you already know that your gut tends to overreact to certain foods, stress, even excitement and anticipation. Some experts believe that the normal brain-gut interactions are disrupted in people with IBS. But did you know that yoga can help IBS?

Increased stress or anxiety is often a trigger for IBS symptoms. So reducing stress and anxiety can help relieve symptoms and help prevent episodes.

Taking a few minutes to practice certain yoga poses daily can be a great stress reducer but there are other reasons that yoga can be beneficial to improve IBS. Here is a look at how yoga can help IBS.

Stress is one of the most common triggers of IBS symptoms. Yoga can help you shut down stress by calming the nervous system—and, in the process, calm your irritated digestive system. For the best results, choose postures that are accessible, not overly ambitious. You don’t want to struggle to squeeze your body into postures that are more painful than peaceful. Make steady, smooth breathing the focus of your practice; if your breathing is strained, it will reinforce your stress and symptoms. Finally, be sure to include a relaxation pose at the end of your practice, and even consider starting your practice with relaxation. This can send a clear signal to your body and mind that it is time to slow down, let go, and shift toward a healing state.

Yoga can also help you tolerate uncomfortable sensations. If you have IBS, you have probably learned to recognize the first signs of an episode. You may be vigilant for any change in sensation in your belly and gut—the pressure of bloating or the first twinge of cramping that warns you things might quickly get worse. Unfortunately, anxiety about gut feelings can actually intensify your symptoms. But if you breathe and stay with the sensation, your body learns to relax, even with intense feelings. You can learn to be with your symptoms in the same accepting mindful way that you stay with the sensations of a yoga pose. This can profoundly change your experience of the pain and keep a mild episode from becoming severe.

Yoga can relieve your IBS symptoms by reducing stress and teaching you how to listen to your body.
Yoga can even help you prevent episodes altogether by making you aware of what makes your symptoms worse. From specific foods to caffeine, alcohol, or sleep deprivation, every IBS sufferer has triggers they can learn to avoid. Yoga is a perfect training ground for cultivating a heightened awareness of cause and effect in your body that carries over to choices off the yoga mat. With time, you will find yourself having stronger insights into what is healing, and what is harmful, to your body. You will find yourself wanting to do what is good for your body, and less attracted to what makes your symptoms worse.

A well-sequenced yoga practice will send gentle pulses of compression and stretch to sensory receptors along the digestive tract, soothing your IBS.

Finally, yoga may help restore normal motility of the gut. When you have IBS, the contractions of your intestines may be slowed to the point of constipation or spasming to the point of diarrhea. Some yoga poses, like seated twists or prone backbends, put gentle pressure on the abdominal organs. Others, like side bends and reclining twists, release tension around the abdomen. A well-sequenced yoga practice will send gentle pulses of compression and stretch to sensory receptors along the digestive tract. This combination of pressure and release is believed to help balance the contractions of the gut, whether getting things moving or slowing things down.
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Some Yoga Postures That May Help IBS

If you’ve never tried yoga it may sound overwhelming. You don’t have to be a yoga expert to see that yoga can help IBS symptoms. Yoga is a simple approach to different postures that produce healthy results in the body and mind.

Here are some basic yoga postures that could improve your IBS symptoms. Take it slow, be careful no to get into a position in which you aren’t stable or could fall, and of course, if you experience pain in a posture, stop!

As with any physical exercise, don’t start yoga if your doctor has told you to avoid physical exertion.

Why Yoga?

Yoga is an ancient technique that works on the physical as well as psychological level and relieves the body of ailments like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Practicing yoga helps massage different organs and strengthens them. This is turn aids in overcoming the disorder and eventually restores the body to an optimum condition. Yoga is also well known as a relaxation and anxiety alleviating tool, thus helping cope with the emotional stress.

These basic yoga postures can help ease the pain and relieve you of Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

Marjariasana (Cat pose)

The Cat pose tones the abdomen and improves digestion. It helps in overcoming the emotional stress Irritable Bowel Syndrome brings in by relaxing the mind.

Pavanamuktasana (Wind-relieving pose)

The Wind-relieving pose massages the intestine and other abdominal organs thus helping in releasing excess gas from the body.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward-facing Dog pose)

The Downward-facing Dog pose lengthens the spine and tones the abdominal muscles. This yoga posture also rejuvenates the body by improving blood circulation.

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half-Spinal twist)

The Sitting Half-Spinal twist lengthens the spine and is very beneficial for the liver and kidneys. This yoga posture also stimulates the adrenal glands.

Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)

The Cobra pose tones the abdomen by stretching it. It also helps alleviate stress and fatigue and also improves blood circulation.

Dhanurasana (Bow pose)

The Bow pose strengthens the abdominal muscles and relieve the body of stress. Irritable Bowel Syndrome can alleviate menstrual discomfort which this yoga pose effectively helps overcome.
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Have you ever tried yoga to improve your IBS?