There is no delicate way of putting this. We have a poop problem.
According to estimates, millions of people are constipated, that is defined by infrequent bowel movements and difficult passage of stool. A constipated digestive system can be a cause of anxiety and discomfort for many and the anxiety can make it all harder to get through.
If you pass fewer than 3 stools a week, then it amounts to constipation.
This is no joke. Some resort to popping pills for a smoother morning ritual and then there are others who go for treatments like enema for relief from tummy woes. Here is the good news. With simple yogasanas, dietary changes and Ayurveda, you can fix your bowel system without having to live through the side effects of pill popping.
You can improve bowel movements on two fronts- physical and dietary.
On the physical and structural level we can practice a few simple Asanas that facilitate the bowel movement. Here are a few asanas you can practice for a better bowel movement.
- Katichakrasana or standing spinal twist
- Ardha Matsyendrasana or sitting half spinal twist
- Shishu Asana or child pose
- Malasana or garland pose
- Pawan Muktasana or wind relieving pose
- Yog mudras, are known to be healing modalities in the science of Ayurveda.
A mudra could involve a hand gesture or the whole body. When these gestures are combined with deep breathing practices, they energize the whole body and increase the flow of prana or life force. Some examples of Yog Mudras are Chin Mudra, Chinmayi Mudra, adi Mudra among others.
- Self abhyanga
Make gentle downward strokes on the stomach and abdomen right before passing bowel.
You can try self abhyanga with Shankara’s Calming Body Oil.
Self-Abhyanga is the practice of massaging yourself with the help of oil to balance doshas. An essential Ayurvedic practice, it can also help you move through harsh winters without stress and constipation, which tends to increase during winters.
The three main benefits of Self Abhyanga are:
√ Nourishes your body and has anti-aging effects.
√ Stimulates internal organs and better circulation that improves waste removal and detoxification of the digestive system.
√ Better sleep quality.
8. You can also practice the following Pranayamas or breathing exercises for a smooth excretion.
Pranayamas or breathing exercises
- Agnisar pranayama (This should be learned from a Yoga expert)
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Abdominal breathing
- Apaan Mudra- Helps the proper functioning of Samana Vayu (one of the Pranas or life forces responsible for digestion) and Apaana Vayu (responsible for excretion)
After your stomach breaks down what you consume, your small intestine absorbs most of the nutrients into your bloodstream. The rest passes undigested to your large intestine and eventually out of your body as waste. The ease with which your large intestine, or colon, releases this waste largely depend on what you eat and drink. The best foods to eat for healthy bowel movements are those that are high in fiber. The presence of fiber can speed up transit time and draw water into your colon, resulting in soft, fluffy stools that are easy to pass.
Other Food Tips For Smoother Bowel Function
- Fruits and vegetables like papaya, orange, beans, and asparagus are good and ease the movement in the bowel.
- Drinking lemon juice mixed with warm water in the morning useful in cleansing the bowel better.
- Develop a regular eating habit and chew the food before swallowing. Good old advice about eating plenty of leafy vegetables and salads still hold.
- Use spices like carom seeds, cumin, black pepper, cardamom not only adds on to the taste but facilitates the body for proper assimilation and excretion.
- Consumption of fried foods and vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes, nuts like cashews and dried foods should be avoided.
- Avoid smoking, coffee and alcohol.
- Don’t take excess stress or tension.
Some home remedies to ease the bowel movement.
- Have a mix of 10 gm of ajamoda powder+dry ginger+butter milk
- Eat ripened mangoes at night after meals
- Drink a glass of milk after having ripened mangoes at night
- Have soaked fenugreek seeds or soaked green grams every morning