Did you know? Yoga therapy can help with IBS

IBS can cause cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. It often a chronic condition. Yoga therapy can be a great adjunct to professional treatments.  Working out my studio in Chapel Hill, NC and on Zoom, I help people with IBS using movement, breathing, and/or meditation practices. Why and how does yoga therapy help?

Food enters the body through ingestion. It is then digested – broken down into organic elements by chemicals in the digestive tract and the mechanical actions of the stomach and intestines. Organic elements are then absorbed and assimilated by cells in the body. And finally, what is left is eliminated as we go to the bathroom. Ideally, this goes well but often it does not and we need some help.

We almost always start by regulating the breath. Yoga practices where we focus on feeling the breath change the shape of the abdomen is often helpful – specifically expansion of the abdomen on the inhale and contraction of the abdomen on the exhale.  We might also extend the length of the exhale. This could be a movement practice and/or a stand alone breath practice. This may relieve symptoms of IBS and bring more clarity and calm to our lives.

There are also certain yoga postures that help like gentle forward bends, stomach massage, and twists. In some cases it is more than just doing the poses. It is what we notice as we do the poses.  If you have IBS, you may notice your face or hands getting warm at times. This is what we start to notice as we do yoga. We start to notice when the body is getting too heated and stressed. We can then take this intelligence back out into our daily lives. Cultivating awareness of how our body reacts to yoga and the world around us and modifying can sooth the system and increase quality of life.

Meditation practices can also help. We often get separated from our intuition. By expanding our awareness we become in touch with our own wisdom and can see clearly what changes we need to make in our lives to get better.

If you have IBS and you’d like a free consult to discuss how yoga therapy might help you, you can set up a time for quick chat. I’d love to talk with you.

For some research on this subject see:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4438173/

https://www.cghjournal.org/article/S1542-3565(16)30088-X/fulltext