Breathing can combat constipation:
Twenty years ago, when I was a spritely young yoga teacher, I had a private student who was a full time business owner and mom. Her days were filled to the brim with duties and she was on constant over charge. I arrived at her home for the first session. She was highly functional in society but barely breathing. By that I mean her normal breath was extremely shallow. She had invited me as her yoga teacher for a bit of stress reduction but did not mention any other ailments.
I begin all yoga classes with deep breathing. I educated her on the proper way to breath as our body naturally does for us, keeping us alive. Oddly, breathing is one of the most passive actions our bodies do and should be easy and natural. However, through emotional and physical stress, we learn to reverse this process.
Think of the movement of your diaghram, the primary muscle used in breathing, giving your intestines a deep massage during natural breathing and deep belly breathing. This massage helps the body to maintain its energetic rhythm and keeps peristalsis (contraction and relaxation of the intestinal track) healthy and in tune with the rest of the body.
Important to Note:
When you have a pattern of reverse breathing or even shallow breathing, the diaghragm is not massaging your intestines and therefore, peristalsis slows considerably. When peristalsis slows, you have occasional constipation. When peristalsis stops, you have chronic constipation. Of course there are numerous reasons one can become constipated like having Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, IBS, poor diet etc. It is my belief that whatever the reason for causing constipation, your pattern of breathing can either add to the lack of elimination or be the cure.
Back to the story. I taught her deep belly breathing as an introduction to practicing the art of yoga. I encouraged her to practice this breathing every day for one week. When I returned a week later, she greeted me with a big hug and told me that she had been struggling with constipation for 20 years. This was the first time in 20 years that she had been eliminating regularly!!! Her deep belly breathing had guided her body back into natural rhythm. And yours can too.
Deep Breathing Practice:
- Start sitting comfortably with an erect spine or lying down on your back.
- Place your hands lightly on your lower belly an inch below your navel.
- Close your eyes and imagine someone who loves you massaging your entire body in a very slow, steady rhythm. Stay on this image for 3-4 minutes.
- Changing your focus now to your lower belly, breathe in deeply (don’t strain, stay relaxed) and allow your lower belly with your hands to rise towards the sky or if you are sitting expand away from your spine.
- Breathe out deeply and allow your belly to naturally return to its resting place
- Continue this rhythm for 5-10 minutes or longer every day to see dramatic improvement in your gut health and over all health
Stay tuned for a deeper look at this breathing practice and others in subsequent entries.
Send me an email for further information on this and other topics regarding gut health to Info@laurenheals.com