Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) can leave your stomach feeling like it’s twisted into knots. Add the stress of the holidays and large meals into the equation and relief can seem almost impossible to find.
Yoga can be a good choice if you are living with IBD. Along with meditation, it can help lower your stress levels and certain poses can even help relieve symptoms like gas and bloating. Yoga can also be done anytime or anywhere, making it ideal if you are traveling over the holidays or celebrating outside of your own home.
Try these nine poses to bring you back to a state of comfort.
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This pose stretches the back of the legs, spine, hamstrings, palms, and feet. It also strengthens shoulders, arms, legs, and abdominal muscles.
How to do it: Begin on all fours. Put your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders. Plae your knees on the floor underneath your hips. Tuck your toes and lift your hips toward the ceiling.
Wind Relieving (Apanasana)
This simple stretch known as the wind-relieving pose will help with bloating and gas pains.
How to do it: Lie down, relax and inhale, placing your hands on your knees. Exhale, and hug your knees to your chest. Rock your knees gently from side to side to maximize the stretch. Stay for five to ten breaths, then release your knees. Repeat this pose a few more times.
Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
This restorative pose calms your body and mind. It also helps draw blood flow to the stomach to increase digestion and fight nausea.
How to do it: Begin sitting sideways next to a wall with a yoga block or rolled towel off to one side. Roll onto your back, bend your knees, and place your feet up on the wall. Lift your hips up and slide the block (or towel) underneath your sacrum. Lower your hips down to rest on the block. Straighten your legs up the wall and bring your arms out long by your sides. Turn your palms to face up. Close your eyes and relax here for ten slow breaths.
Cobra pose stretches and strengthens abdominal muscles and helps relieve stress and fatigue.
How to do it: Place your palms flat on the ground directly under your shoulders. Bend your elbows straight back and hug them into your sides. Inhale to lift your chest off the floor. Roll your shoulders back and keep your low ribs on the floor. Make sure your elbows continue hugging your sides. Don't let them wing out to either side. Keep your neck neutral. Your gaze should stay on the floor.
Cat Cow (Upavistha Marjaryasana)
Cat cow is a gentle pose that helps to reduce stress, gets your blood flowing, and massages the colon and stomach to help speed up digestion.
How to do it: Begin on your hands and knees in table pose, with a neutral spine. As you inhale and move into cow pose, lift your sit bones upward, press your chest forward and allow your belly to sink. Lift your head, relax your shoulders away from your ears, and gaze straight ahead. As you exhale, come into cat pose while rounding your spine outward, tucking in your tailbone, and drawing your pubic bone forward. Release your head toward the floor — just don’t force your chin to your chest. Most importantly, just relax.
Gentle Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
This twisting pose can help to stimulate circulation and cleanse your organs. It can also help to increase digestion by massaging both sides of the colon.
How to do it: To begin, lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Cactus your arms on the floor so that your elbows are in line with your shoulders. Then, pick your feet up off the floor and bring your knees to 90-degree angles, paralleling your shins to the floor. Take a slow inhale, then exhale and lower your knees to the left. Keep your right shoulder on the ground. You can bring your left hand to the outside of your right thigh to deepen the twist. Hold for 8 slow breaths and then inhale your knees back up to center. Switch sides.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
In Child’s Pose, the torso rests on or between the thighs, which helps to promote digestion. As you breathe in and out while in the posture, your belly expands and allows for a massage of the digestive organs.
How to do it: Begin on your hands and knees. Gently push your hips back toward your heels and separate your knees slightly wider than your hips. With your big toes together, your legs will form a V shape. As you exhale, lay your torso between your thighs, resting your forehead onto the mat.
This final pose is meant to relax the whole body at the end of your yoga session. It will allow you to relieve any lingering stress or tension with focus on relaxing every muscle in the body.
How to do it: Find a comfortable, neutral position as you lie on your mat. Lengthen from your neck through your tailbone, open across your chest, and move your shoulder blades away from your spine. Let gravity do the rest. Allow your body to feel heavy; let go and sink into the mat.
The material provided is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. You should always seek medical advice before consuming any new medicines or supplements.