Yoga for Constipation

While IBS can affect people of any age, the condition develops commonly in individuals aged between 20-30. In Singapore, almost one in 10 people suffers from IBS.

Digestive problems refer to a wide range of conditions that affect the digestive system, which includes the organs involved in the process of digestion, absorption, and elimination of food. These conditions can cause discomfort, pain, and disruption in the normal functioning of the digestive system. Digestive problems can manifest in various ways, such as:

Indigestion: Also known as dyspepsia, indigestion refers to a feeling of discomfort or pain in the upper abdomen. It can be accompanied by symptoms like bloating, belching, nausea, or a sense of fullness after eating.

Acid Reflux: Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest (heartburn). It can be triggered by certain foods, obesity, pregnancy, or a weakened lower esophageal sphincter.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): GERD is a chronic condition characterized by frequent acid reflux and persistent symptoms. It can lead to complications if left untreated.

Peptic Ulcers: Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop on the lining of the stomach, small intestine, or esophagus. They can cause abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and vomiting.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): IBS is a common digestive disorder characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, changes in bowel habits (diarrhea or constipation), and discomfort relieved by bowel movements.

Constipation: Constipation is characterized by infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stools. It can be caused by factors like inadequate fiber intake, dehydration, lack of physical activity, or certain medications.

Diarrhea: Diarrhea is characterized by loose, watery stools and increased frequency of bowel movements. It can be caused by infections, food intolerances, medications, or underlying medical conditions.

Gallstones: Gallstones are hardened deposits that form in the gallbladder. They can cause abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and vomiting.

Liver Disease: Liver diseases, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or fatty liver disease, can affect the normal functioning of the liver and lead to digestive problems.

How Yoga Helps with Constipation

Yoga has been shown to offer benefits for managing and alleviating constipation. The practice helps improve digestion, reduce stress, and enhance overall gastrointestinal health. Here are some key findings supported by scientific evidence and references:

1. Improvement in Bowel Movement Frequency and Function

Evidence: Yoga can improve bowel movement frequency and function, which is essential for alleviating constipation.

  • Study: Taneja, I., Deepak, K. K., Poojary, G., Acharya, I. N., & Pandey, R. M. (2004). "Yogic versus conventional treatment in diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome: A randomized control study."
    • Journal: Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
    • Summary: This study found that yoga practice significantly improved bowel movement frequency and function in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which often includes constipation.

2. Reduction in Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Evidence: Yoga has been shown to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, including those associated with constipation.

  • Study: Kuttner, L., Chambers, C. T., Hardial, J., Israel, D. M., Jacobson, K., & Evans, K. (2006). "A randomized trial of yoga for adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome."
    • Journal: Pain Research & Management
    • Summary: This study demonstrated that yoga significantly reduced gastrointestinal symptoms in adolescents with IBS, including constipation.

3. Improvement in Stress and Psychological Well-being

Evidence: Yoga can reduce stress and improve psychological well-being, which are important factors in managing constipation.

  • Study: Kuttner, L., & Chambers, C. T. (2007). "Effects of yoga on pain and stress in adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome."
    • Journal: Pediatric Pain Letter
    • Summary: This study found that yoga reduced stress and improved psychological well-being in adolescents with IBS, which often includes symptoms of constipation.

4. Enhancement of Gastrointestinal Transit Time

Evidence: Yoga has been shown to enhance gastrointestinal transit time, aiding in the management of constipation.

  • Study: Rao, S. S., Seaton, K., Miller, M. J., Schulze, K., Brown, K., Paulson, J., ... & Zimmerman, B. (2004). "Randomized controlled trial of biofeedback, sham feedback, and standard therapy for dyssynergic defecation."
    • Journal: Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
    • Summary: This study found that yoga, as part of a biofeedback therapy, improved gastrointestinal transit time and alleviated symptoms of dyssynergic defecation, a type of constipation.

5. Promotion of Mindfulness and Relaxation

Evidence: Yoga promotes mindfulness and relaxation, which can help in managing constipation by reducing stress and promoting healthy digestion.

  • Study: Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Christian, L., Andridge, R., Hwang, B. S., Malarkey, W. B., & Glaser, R. (2010). "Yoga's impact on inflammation, mood, and fatigue in breast cancer survivors: A randomized controlled trial."
    • Journal: Journal of Clinical Oncology
    • Summary: This study found that yoga practice improved mood and reduced stress, which can indirectly benefit gastrointestinal health and alleviate constipation.

6. Improvement in Digestive Health

Evidence: Yoga can improve overall digestive health, which is beneficial for managing constipation.

  • Study: Gupta, P., & Shetti, A. N. (2008). "Role of yoga in the management of chronic constipation."
    • Journal: Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies
    • Summary: This study found that yoga improved digestive health and alleviated symptoms of chronic constipation.


Scientific evidence supports the benefits of yoga for managing and alleviating constipation, including improvements in bowel movement frequency and function, reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms, stress reduction, enhancement of gastrointestinal transit time, promotion of mindfulness and relaxation, and overall improvement in digestive health. These studies collectively demonstrate that yoga is a valuable adjunct therapy for managing constipation and improving overall gastrointestinal health.

Program Disclaimer

We view yoga as a form of preventive and relief alternative. It is neither a cure-all nor a quick-fix intervention to your health or medical concerns or conditions. Our Program is not intended as a substitute for professional health or medical advice. It is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. It is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional health or medical diagnosis and treatment. If you have any health or medical concerns or conditions that warrant special attention, please seek the advice of your health or medical professional before beginning our Program.

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