Constipation is not your friend. The bloated, blocked feeling can make you feel sluggish, fatigued, uncomfortable, or even in pain. Forcing bowels out when they are not ready can lead to hernias, leaving you to wait it out. But how long must you stay in discomfort? 

Instead of reaching for a laxative that can cause severe stomach cramps, reach your yoga mat instead. Yoga can help with a blocked bowel as a flexible exercise routine and blood-pumping regimen. Some poses can specifically benefit better intestinal flow through massage and helping to push material through your intestines.

Yoga stimulates blood circulation in the digestive organs

Getting the blood moving will help "wake up" your gut and other digestive organs. When the body is dormant, it lacks the stimulation to keep your food digesting through the body and into the colon. 

A somewhat relaxed Vinyasa flow an hour after eating can help increase your blood circulation. Because Vinyasa relies on stringing poses together through movement, it is the ideal yoga style to get the body going.

Use poses that massage the belly and lower back

Everybody loves a massage and you can use yoga to your advantage to give yourself one by using your own hands or manipulating the body against the ground. Wind-Relieving Pose, or Pavanamuktasana in Sanskrit, can provide a massage to the lower back by tucking both knees into the chest and rolling gently side to side. 

A great pose sequence to work the belly and back together is Cat-Cow, where the back is arched and then rounded. For an added massage, you can roll the hips and buttocks to really target the lower belly and side body, too. You can place your hands to your body for added relief such as in Corpse Pose (Savasana) by massaging the belly yourself. 

Adding a little bit of warm lotion and lavender oil to your massage can help relax the bowels of any tension, another contributor to constipation. Use the fingers to rub your belly gently in a circular motion. You can even cross over your arms to rub the side body.

Exercise can prevent constipation

Exercise, in general, can prevent a later experience with constipation, and yoga is a fantastic choice because you can practice according to your specific needs and ability. Incorporating some constipation-busting moves like Reclined Twist can only help when you're feeling backed up, while regular exercise may be too strenuous for some people. 

Try to do even a quick fifteen-minute yoga practice first thing in the morning to keep your body ready-to-go. If you know you’ll be eating rich foods or a heavy meal later in the day, you can preemptively ready yourself by engaging in a sixty-minute yoga session to prepare yourself.

A toned abdomen can help push what's not moving

Your digestive organs are located beneath the abdomen, so it is only natural that strong abs can help move what may be stuck. The inner muscles and organs need to contract to keep your food moving downwards, and a weak core means your body will struggle to do so. This doesn't mean you need to start doing an intense ab-workout every day. 

Rather, yoga offers gentle enough workouts that can tone your tummy through various poses and crunch variations. Boat Pose (Navasana) is an excellent exercise to tighten your lower belly.

For Boat Pose, you will balance on the sit bone while lifting your legs in the air and reaching your arms forward. The core workout happens when the body must stabilize itself while keeping the back straight. 

If you find this pose too difficult but like the idea of toning the lower belly specifically, choose an easier variation such as bending the knees and keeping your feet grounded to the yoga mat. If your core is somewhat underdeveloped, this easier version will still provide incredible toning to the abdomen.

Plank Pose (Phalakasana) is another familiar posture that relies on core strength to keep the body in position. This posture is a well-known one and you may already gravitate towards it in your yoga practice. Now, you can feel good knowing Phalakasana has an extra advantage after a hearty meal. Incorporating exercises to work your stomach is an excellent way to prevent constipation over time.

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