Yoga for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
What is Yoga?
Yoga is essentially a complex system or moves, breathing and meditation that we can use to heal and nurture our bodies. It is made up of physical techniques and poses that combine with mental and emotional disciplines that help us along our uniques paths in life. It is said to have been developed over 4,000 years ago in India. It is great for us to use in many aspects of our lives. We can use the techniques and disciplines taught in Yoga for physical wellness as well as mental and spiritual wellness.
Yoga can help you!
Yoga is a very personal experience for the individual preforming it. There are many reasons that someone might consider taking a Yoga class or just practicing poses by themselves. These reasons can include physical healing as well as mental stress relief or mental calm.
Yoga has been studied!
There have been many studies on yoga for the treatment of various diseases and ailments. Recent studies have found that people with back pain that practice Yoga have improved function and reduced pain. (1) Other studies have shown that Yoga reduces anxiety and blood pressure.
Why YOU should be doing Yoga!
There are many uses of Yoga to help Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease. While yoga is not a cure for IBD it can certainly help in the management of some of the many symptoms.
There are SO many different kinds of yoga. Not to mention all of the different poses, but there are some that are specifically great for inflammatory bowel disease. There are positions that can help strengthen the abdominal muscles. There are also positions that can help relieve constipation and diarrhea. Others can help reduce bloating and gas and intestinal swelling. The practice of yoga also can quiet the mind and relieve stress which is a huge trigger for IBD flares.
How can I learn?
There are many ways to learn these positions. You could always take a local class or use an app or the internet to do the positions. There are tons of you tube videos that teach these poses and techniques.
Here are some of my favorite techniques that seem to help my crohn’s disesae when my symptoms are really bothering me.
1. Pranayamas: This is yoga breathing. the word actually means ‘breath control’. As a nurse, I am usually running around crazy and this kind of breathing will slow my racing mind and heart and allow me to relax if just for a moment. Try it by taking a long slow breath in though the nose and our through the mouth. Place a hand over your stomach and feel it open up and go back down. Try to fill your lungs completely and with the exhale empty them completely drawing your abdomen into your spine. You can the also place a hand on your chest and feel the chest cavity open and close. Try to do this breathing when you feel like you need to slow down and take a second.
2. Asanas: These are Yoga poses. There are so many that can help with inflammatory bowel diease. I have listed a few here along with youtube videos of how to do them so you can get started right away. A few of these are:
Wind-Relieving pose :
Extended puppy pose:
Make sure to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Don’t do poses that hurt or make your inflammatory bowel symptoms worse. Don’t try to push through a pose that your body doesn’t like.
To sum up:
There are many ways to practice Yoga. You can find a program someone near you a YMCA, or other gym. You can watch Yoga how to videos on youtube or Netflix. You can google the poses and learn them yourself. There are also many apps that you can use to guide you through the poses and breathing exercises. There are DVDS that you can purchase for Yoga poses and workouts. I currently use DDP yoga! See my post about that here. This program also comes with an app and lots of extras. If you have the money to spend, it’s worth it, in my opinion.
Overall, Yoga would be a great addition to anyone’s health regimen. I highly recommend trying it and seeing how it helps you!