Yoga has become a widely-recognized form of exercise which may benefit people both mentally and physically. Dr. Rachel Pauls, a Philly-based Registered Dietitian and Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, has recommended the following five yoga postures for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Begin in a tabletop position, with the hands and knees at shoulder-width distance apart. Place the palms on the mat and carefully raise the hips towards the ceiling while pushing the floor away. Drop the heels towards the floor and keep the neck in line with the spine. Push the thighs up and back, and the arms firmly into the floor and reach towards the ceiling. Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds and repeat 5-10 times.
Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Start in a seated position, with the legs extended out straight in front of the body. Bend the right knee and bring the foot over the left thigh. Reach the left arm over the extended right leg and place the right arm behind the back. Twist the torso towards the right side, towards the bent knee and hold for several breaths. Alternate sides and repeat 5-10 times on each side.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Begin by lying on the back with feet on the ground. Bend the knees, pushing the feet into the floor and lift the hips towards the ceiling. Interlace the hands beneath the hips and press evenly into the feet and hands to lift the hips as high as possible. Hold the pose for up to one minute before slowly releasing the pose.
Supported Child’s Pose (Salamba Balasana)
Start by kneeling onto the mat. Bring the big toes together and separate the knees slightly wider than the hips. Sit onto the heels and then press the hips onto the thighs. Place a bolster, block, or cushion between your inner thighs and lower torso for support. The arms can be extended in front or along the sides, with the head resting onto the mat. Remain in the pose for up to 5 minutes and repeat as necessary.
Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)
Start by lying on the back and bringing the hips as close to the wall as possible. Place the legs up on the wall and keep the arms away from the body with the palms facing up. Relax into the pose, stay as long as desired, or build up to several minutes. To come out of the pose, roll to one side and push off of the wall to rise up.
Yoga poses can provide an excellent form of exercise for those suffering from the symptoms of IBS. Incorporating the recommended poses into a wellness routine may offer some relief and help to improve overall health. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any exercise routine.