Those rumors of embarrassing farts during yoga class are true. Luckily, you can use that to your advantage with yoga positions to help you poop. If you’re ever constipated and desperately need to poop, the stretching and exercises that are part of yoga can help regulate your bowel movements. In fact, there are several stretches to help you poop specifically. But now you’re probably wondering, how do stretches for constipation work?
“Yoga is one of the best natural ways to manage constipation,” says gastroenterologist Saurabh Sethi, M.D. “The compression and massaging of some yoga positions can stimulate blood flow in your digestive organs. If one is suffering from constipation, they may want to try to include yoga in their daily practice, along with dietary modification like increasing fiber and water intake.”
Looking for healthy ways to relieve gas pains or make yourself poop? Here are nine yoga positions to help you poop.
Downward-Facing Dog Yoga Pose
This basic yoga pose is great for constipation. Sethi says it stimulates digestion by compressing your gut, stimulating blood flow in your abdominal organs, and relaxing the GI tract.
Start on your hands and knees, with knees below your hips, hands below your shoulders, fingers pointing directly forward, and palms pressing down. Then, while exhaling, tuck your toes and extend your legs and arms while pushing your pelvis into the air. Your body will create an A-shape. While keeping your hands in place, continue to press the floor away, looking between your legs and tucking your stomach toward your navel.
Similar to downward-facing dog, this yoga pose is great for constipation because it contracts your organs and increases blood flow. It’s also slightly easier to get into and far more relaxing.
Start on your hands and knees, and rest your butt on your thighs with your knees apart. Extend your body and arms across the floor. Then resting your chest between your thighs and forehead on the ground, press back on your hands like in downward facing dog, but this time push your weight into your legs.
Cat-Cow Yoga Pose
Many yoga poses for constipation are about holding the stretch, but the cat-cow pose requires you to oscillate between positions 10 to 20 times, which is guaranteed to push that poop button.
With your hands and knees on the ground, create a table-top position with your body. Drop your stomach toward the ground while arching your back as if it were smiling. Lift your chin and chest towards the ceiling, and broaden your shoulder blades. This is the cow (and it feels like it). Then, curve your stomach into your spine and round your back towards the ceiling. You should look a lot like a pissed-off cat.
Supine Twist Yoga Pose
Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Extend your left leg straight and your right arm to your right side so it’s perpendicular to your body. Keep your palm facing down and place your left hand on your right knee. Drop it to the left side of your body while keeping your left hip steady on the floor. Finally, look toward your right hand, completing the poop-friendly body twist, which may have been what Chubby Checker was singing about. Repeat on both sides.
Wind-Relieving Yoga Pose
This pose is known for being so effective at stimulating the bowels that yogis actually named it after farts. Trust the experts.
While lying on your back facing the ceiling, bring one knee to your chest, and your nose to your knee. Release your head to the ground while pulling your knee into your chest and stomach. Switch legs, doing the same thing on the other side before doing it with both legs simultaneously. Bending both knees, press both legs into your stomach so you look like a flatulent ball.
Crescent Lunge Twist Yoga Pose
To make yourself poop with this yoga pose, start in a lunge with your bent knee at 90 degrees and the toes of your straight leg facing straight ahead. Place your hands into prayer, rotate your chest toward your bent leg, hooking the opposite elbow, and twist while keeping your hips straight. Repeat on both sides.
Chair Yoga Pose
Standing straight up, raise both arms above your head with your palms facing each other. Keep extending your arms as you bend your knees with your back straight and thighs parallel to the floor. Then, bring your hands together in prayer, and twist as you did in the Crescent Lunge.
The Garland Yoga Pose
The yogi squat makes use of the same theory as a Squatty Potty: Your GI tract doesn’t like it when you sit and would prefer if you’d squat. This is why this yoga pose is so great for constipation.
“The colon also has an outlet valve, in the form of the puborectalis muscle at the rectum. In the sitting position, the rectum is maintained in the closed position,” Sethi notes. “In the squatting position, the puborectalis muscle relaxes its grip on the rectum to straighten the pathway to the anus.”
To get into the position, sit on the floor at a right angle with your legs out straight, then bend each leg, bringing your calves to the back of your thighs and pointing your knees to the ceiling. Lean forward and gently raise your seat into a squat.
Standing Forward Bend Yoga Pose
Stand up straight, then bend forward at the hips, keeping your knees slightly bent as well. Lengthen your torso and bend your elbows, holding each elbow with the opposite hand. Press the balls of your feet into the floor and let your head hang down. Continue to lengthen your torso and push your feet down while bringing your stomach into your spine.
This article was originally published on