Traveling to India year after year and living there for between 2-3 months at a time I became well versed in the Yogic and Ayurvedic approach to addressing constipation! OMG I recall so vividly my visits to Dr Kumar and my insistent pleading with Guruji to let me come to the 5.30am session rather than the 4.30am session so I could evacuate my bowel each morning before practicing asana.
Constipation results in a toxic build up in the intestines and most disease processes are related to this toxic build up in the gut. So it is most important that whatever you are eating is moving through the digestive tract efficiently and effectively.
In this blog I am simply presenting 3 helpful yoga poses and 3 helpful remedies, HOWEVER I strongly recommend that you further educate more fully on the issue by reading the work of Maria Middlestead – a renowned NZ Nutritionist based in Birkenhead Auckland: http://www.mariamiddlestead.co.nz/tips/the-crime-scene-investigation-of-bowel-function/
These 3 specific yoga poses tone and strengthen the muscles of the core body, and so increase blood flow to the area,and create a squeezing and stretching action on the organs. This has the effect of squeezing toxins out, as well as kick starting the peristaltic motion required to aid digestion and to move the bowels.
Seated Spinal Twist: not only does this pose help to relieve current constipation, but it also aids with digestion. Practicing this pose daily, executing the pose on both sides, is a good first step towards a well-functioning digestive system and regular bowel movements.The twist also warms up the back for the next pose- a back bend.
Bridge Pose: starting from the position of lying on your back, this powerful back bend strengthens the back muscles, opens the front of the body, and massages the intestinal area.
These three specific remedies introduce soluble fiber to clean up the intestinal walls and to kick start the peristaltic motion:
Psyllium is a form of fiber made from the Plantago ovata plant, specifically from the husks of the plant’s seed. Psyllium is a bulk-forming laxative, which means it soaks up water in your gut and makes bowel movements much easier by softening your stool . The Ayurvedic Doctor in Mysore – Dr Kumar -recommended taking 1 tsp of psyllium powder with 8 ounces of liquid, before bed (having had no food for 2 hours before) and the same on arising in the morning before taking food.
Slippery Elm has been extensively used in herbal medicine for many centuries. It has pronounced cooling and nourishing properties that make it especially helpful for people whose systems have become too ‘hot’ or ‘dry’ which is considered in Ayurvedic Medicine to be a trait and the Vata and Pitta constitutions.Slippery Elm’s aids in digestion and elimination and more importantly is internal bandage for inflammation or ulceration anywhere along the digestive tract. It literally forms a gelatinous, gooey mass that sits there being soothing but also collects up toxins, foreign material or damaged tissue eliminating it from the body.It is taken in the same way and amounts as the psyllium mentioned above.
Or you can take both together using the same method discussed above BUT put 1/2 tsp of each into the glass.
Linseeds as a treatment for constipation is well documented and in addition they reportedly have these health benefits: improve digestion reduce bloating, improve blood cholesterol levels & heart health, and reduce the symptoms of the menopause and possibly improving insulin sensitivity & blood glucose control. There’s a lot of goodness packed into those tiny seeds!
You can make a bowl of raspberry linseeds that will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days and each day put a scoop over a fresh fruit salad and coconut yoghurt breakfast. Here is the recipe I made up for the Stillwaters Yoga Retreat Breakfasts: Half a bag of ceres linseeds soaked in 3 cups of water overnight, added to 3 cups of thawed frozen organic rasberries and blended up until it resembles a paste.