Do you experience occasional digestive issues? If over-the-counter (OTC) medications aren’t getting the job done, you might want to consider regular yoga workouts. “I would recommend a regular yoga routine for people with persistent digestive issues,” says Carmen Meier MD, a gastroenterologist with the TriHealth Digestive Institute.
Benefits of Regular Yoga
While there are no larger-scale studies comparing yoga to traditional treatments with regards to digestive diseases, there are a few reports of patients experiencing symptom help and decreased medication usage with the regular practice of yoga. This appears to be particularly important in conditions that are often worsened with stress, including:
Yoga may also help with:
Which Yoga Type is Right For Me?
There are numerous types of yoga that can be tailored to a particular digestive ailment. “Some types of yoga focus more on breathing and stress management, which might be helpful for things like abdominal cramping, urgency, and irritable bowel syndrome,” Dr. Meier explains. “Other types of yoga require more physical exertion, which can help with conditions, such as constipation or bowel irregularity.”
Yoga types include:
- Bhakti yoga
- Hatha yoga
- Jnana yoga
- Karma yoga
- Raja yoga
- Tantra yoga
Practice Yoga on Your Schedule
Thirty minutes to an hour is the common length of a yoga session. The frequency varies anywhere from once a week to several times weekly. “Fortunately, this is something that can be performed at home with the help of educational DVDs if the attendance of classes is not feasible,” Dr. Meier says. You can also search for free online yoga courses. But, use caution if you're practicing yoga for the first time. Over-extending the muscles by stretching farther than your body is ready can lead to injury.
Finally, you should always check with your doctor to make sure no other more serious ailments need to be addressed, and that the initiation of a yoga program would be safe for you.