Irritable Bowel Syndrome or “IBS” is essentially a nervous system condition. Even though the symptoms of IBS are in the gut area; Gas, bloating diarrhea, and constipation are the most common symptoms. There are not any issues with the intestinal tract, rather a brain-gut communication issue. One way to think about it is that the muscles in these areas are spasming or not functioning properly. This condition effects possibly 40 million people in the U.S. alone.
The key to working with IBS is to lessen anxiety. Yoga, as we know, is well suited for this. Many people with IBS present with other indicators of anxiety, however, it is chicken and egg. Is it the IBS causing anxiety or anxiety causing IBS? In terms of treatment, it may not matter what is causing what since the system must be balanced and anxiety lessened to reduce symptoms.
In clinical practice I’ve found it useful to assess the individual and determine what type of practice will lead to less anxiety. In terms of directly soothing nerves in the gut area, it is best to let the breath do the work. I have seen it suggested that certain poses are best for IBS. I believe it’s more the breathing practice and matching a style of practice to the individual’s needs that produces results.
Below is a general practice that incorporates breathing practice, forward bending, back bending, and twists in a combination that will stimulate the gut-brain connection without irritating the digestive tract. This practice can be modified to suit individual needs but is a good starting point.
May this information be helpful for all those suffering.
Interested in helping others as a certified therapist? Check out yoga therapist training courses that we offer at Breathing Deeply.
PDF Version: IBS Practice
There’s no doubt that yoga is gaining popularity, but you may be asking yourself, what is the most popular type of yoga? Where is each type most popular in the U.S. and around the world? And for those who are interested in trying it themselves, how can you practice these styles of yoga safely? For […]
Friends in Yoga, Sitting on a cushion, taking a yoga class, chanting a mantra before your morning coffee…no one would call these radical acts. They are small choices that we make to better ourselves. The motivation to practice often takes form by our desire to be healthier, to be more focused, to connect with our […]
Breathe in, breathe out. Looking for a therapeutic yoga definition? Learn what yoga therapy is and what it can help treat from Breathing Deeply.