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Yogic Management of Constipation

Constipation is a very common complaint. It occurs due to disturbance of the lower digestive tract & majority of us face this problem at some point in time in our lives. The problem starts with the stool becoming hard and the person is unable to pass it with ease. If not taken care of, this condition turns chronic and is the chief cause of many diseases since it produces toxins, which find their way into the blood stream and are carried to all parts of the body. The body begins to be poisoned by the build-up of its own wastes, which results in weakening of the vital organs and lowering of the resistance of the entire system. The gas produced in the stomach due to constipation causes pain in the knees, backache, rheumatism and other pains. Some of the common diseases connected with constipation are piles, peptic ulcers and acidity.

YOGA & CONSTIPATION

Good health, high vitality and freedom from diseases demand that the wastes must be expelled regularly and efficiently. Yogasana, Pranayama, Kriyas, Mudras & Bandhas are helpful to eliminate wastes & heal many problems and ailments. Yoga is a science whose power is infinite. The problem of constipation can easily be solved by regular practice of this science. If balanced diet and plenty of fluids can also be combined with Yoga techniques, results would be more prompt and better. The following Asanas have proven to be very beneficial in curing constipation as they strengthen the abdominal & pelvic muscles and stimulate the peristaltic action of the bowels. These Asanas should be practiced after drinking about two- four glasses of water.

TADASANA (THE STRETCH POSE)

· Stand straight with feet about10 cms apart, arms by the sides.
· Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.
· Interlock your fingers, palms facing towards the sky.
· Exhale; place the hands on top of the head.
· Inhale stretch the arms up over the head & slowly rise up on your toes, stretching and lengthening the abdominal area
· Hold the position for a few seconds.
· Exhale, bring the heels down on the floor and hands on top of the head.
· This is one round.
· Repeat 8 times.

TIRYAKA TADASANA (SIDE BENDING STRETCH POSE)

· Stand straight with feet about two feet apart.
· Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.
· Interlock your fingers, palms are facing towards the sky.
· Inhale, extend the spine.
· While exhaling, bend the body to the right from the waist.
· Hold the position for a few seconds.
· Inhale and slowly come back to the upright position.
· Similarly repeat the process on the left side.
· This is one round.
· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).

KATI CHAKRASANA (WAIST ROTATING POSE)

· Stand straight with feet about two feet apart and the arms by the sides.
· Make fist of the right hand with thumb inside, place it in the center of the lower back, press it nicely.
· Inhale; bring the left hand on the right shoulder.
· Exhale, as you twist the upper body to the right side & turn your head fully to your right to look behind towards the left heel.
· Keep the feet firmly on the ground while twisting.
· Hold the position for a few seconds.
· Inhale and return to the staring position.
· Similarly repeat the process on the left side.
· Inhale and return to the staring position.
· This is one round.
· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).

ASHVA SANCHALANA MUDRA (TIRYAKA BHUJANGASANA)

· Lie with forehead down on the stomach with feet about half a metre apart, heels should be on top and toes are curled under, hands directly under the chest.
· Now inhale and raise the head forward.
· Exhale, Twist the head and upper portion of the body to the right shoulder and look over the shoulder at the left heel.
· Try to feel a diagonal stretch of the abdomen.
· Relax the back and keep the navel as close to the floor as possible.
· Stay in the final position for a few seconds.
· Inhale; bring the face forward again.
· Exhale, twist to the other side without coming back to the floor.
· Inhale & return to the centre and exhale as you lower the body to the floor.
· This is one round.
· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).


UDARAKARSHANKRIYA (THE ABDOMINAL MASSAGE POSE)

· Sit in squatting position with feet apart & the hands on the knees.
· Inhale; bring the right knee to the floor near the left foot, pressing the stomach with the left thigh.
· While doing so push the left knee towards the right.
· Exhale, turn the head towards the left side and look over the shoulder.
· Stay in the final position for a few seconds.
· Inhale and come back to the starting position.
· Similarly repeat on the right side.
· Inhale and come back to the starting position
· This is one round.
· Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times).

After completing the exercises if you feel that you are still not getting the pressure to relieve yourself, then drink water again & do the same exercises.

DIETARY GUIDELINES
  • Taking a glass of lemon water (lukewarm) with one / two teaspoons honey after waking up helps the bowels to clean
  • Before breakfast, one can have raw veg juice (lauki, carrot ---anyone of these)
  • For breakfast, one should have dry fruits such as munacca and figs soaked in water overnight in a glass container. The water in which they are soaked should also be drunk.
  • In addition, one can have seasonal fruits (pears, papaya, apricot, orange, apple, pineapple, grapes, melon, muskmelon, raspberry, guava, pomegranates, mangoes, and musambi). Eating one variety of fruit each time is more beneficial.
  • For lunch, one should take chapattis (black channa flour 80%+ wheat flour 20 %) / chapattis of wheat flour with extra bran & seasonal vegetables (lauki, cauliflower cabbage, carrot, leafy vegetable, turnip, peas, french beans, pumpkin). Salad in any quantity (onion, cucumber, tomatoes, sprouts, carrots, beetroots, cabbage) & curd or buttermilk of skimmed milk. One can have salad before lunch also.
  • For dinner, same as lunch / sweet dalia without milk or salty dalia with vegetables / salad + soup.
  • Before going to bed, take hot milk with munacca / mixing 2-3 tsp of isabgol in milk or warm water / plain hot water is also useful.


FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

Drink water as much as possible during whole day other than at mealtime. We can have soup, buttermilk along with the meals. After half an hour of completion of meals, certainly plain water can be taken. Don't take chilled water and chilled drinks as far as possible. The food doesn't get digested rapidly due to that and the possibility of constipation increases.

We should not take meals unless the previously taken food is digested. One should give a gap of minimum 3 hours between breakfast and lunch & of 6 hours between lunch & dinner. In between, one can have lots of warm water, thin buttermilk, salads & fruit. One should have early and light dinner. Usually the common vegetarian diet gets digested within 4 to 6 hours. However, some contents of the non-vegetarian diet remains in the stomach and intestine even up to three days & get putrefied.

We should eat food consciously, peacefully and without speaking. When we chew the food properly, it will be wet when it enters the stomach & this would help in easing the problem of constipation to a large extent.

Form the habit of visiting the toilet at a regular and appointed hour in the morning and in the evening even if you may not have the urge to void your bowels. Of course you should on no account exert yourself or strain the intestines to effect the evacuation.

Never lie down or go to sleep immediately after eating. It will be a wonderful help in digestion of the food by sitting in Vajrasana for fifteen to twenty minutes after meals.

Remember constipation does not trouble people who are physically active. In case of chronic constipation through overhauling of the whole system under expert guidance is very helpful.
Avoid excessive worry, anger, tension, jealousy and hurrying.


Courtesy: Dr Rita Khanna
Aum Shanti

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