Yoga poses for ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can cause inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the large intestine and rectum. Some triggers make symptoms worse.

Stress is a common trigger for UC flare-ups, so it’s important to find ways to manage stress if you’re living with the disease. Yoga is one strategy that can help.

Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation.

Although yoga alone is not enough to treat UC, adding yoga to your routine may have benefits for your health. It is important to follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan for UC.

A 2019 review found that mindfulness practices such as yoga can help relieve stress, reduce depression, and improve quality of life for people with UC.

A study 2017 to assess the effectiveness of yoga in UC separated 77 people living with the disease into two groups. One group went to 12 weekly 90-minute guided yoga sessions. The other group followed written self-care advice.

People in the yoga group reported better quality of life compared to the self-care group after 12 weeks and less disease activity after 24 weeks.

If you want to start a yoga practice, consider signing up for a beginner’s class at a local yoga studio or gym.

Here are eight yoga poses that can help relieve stress and improve your well-being if you suffer from UC.

Start on your hands and knees with your knees apart and your big toes touching.

Sit with your hips back and let your butt rest on your heels. Bend forward, so your belly rests between your thighs and your forehead rests on the floor, a yoga block, or a pillow. Relax your shoulders, arms, neck and face.

Hold the position for 1 minute or more.

Start on your hands and knees, hands flat on the floor, wrists under shoulders and hips positioned above knees.

As you inhale, arch your spine. Lower your belly toward the floor while lifting your tailbone, chest, and chin toward the ceiling. Keep your neck long and your shoulders broad.

As you exhale, round your spine. Drop your tailbone, release the crown of your head toward the floor, and pull your belly toward the ceiling.

Repeat 5-10 times.

Start by standing with your feet parallel and hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.

As you inhale, raise your arms above your head. Keep your biceps slightly in front of your ears. Reach your fingers.

As you exhale, sit down with your knees bent until they are roughly parallel to the floor, or as close to that position as possible without your knees sticking out past your toes. Keep your lower back long.

Hold for up to 1 minute.

Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.

Step forward one foot so that your feet are about 4 to 5 feet apart. Rotate your back foot so that your toes are pointing at about a 45 degree angle. Press your weight into your back heel.

As you exhale, bend your front knee until your thigh is roughly parallel to the floor. Keep your front knee above your ankle. Keep your back leg straight, resting your weight on the outside edge of your back foot.

At the same time, raise your arms above your head. Keep your shoulders open, away from your ears. Reach your fingers, lift your chest and lengthen the sides of your body. Gently gaze up at the ceiling.

Hold the position for up to 1 minute, then repeat with the other leg.

Start by sitting on the floor with your back straight and your legs stretched out in front of you.

Bend both knees and pull your heels towards your pelvis. Press the soles of your feet together and let your knees open. Grasp your feet or ankles with your hands.

With each inhale, focus on lifting your torso and lengthening your spine. If you want to deepen the stretch, gently lean forward from your hips as you exhale. Keep your spine long.

Hold for up to 1 minute.

Start by sitting on the floor with your back straight and your legs stretched out in front of you.

Bend your right knee and place your right foot flat on the floor, outside your left thigh. Place your right hand on the floor behind your right hip. Wrap your left arm around your right knee to hug it to your chest.

As you inhale, lengthen your spine. Lift through the crown of your head and root through your tailbone.

As you exhale, pull in your navel and gently twist it to the right. Keep your neck aligned with your spine as you twist.

With each inhalation, focus on lengthening your spine. With each exhale, gently deepen your twist. Don’t force yourself to turn further than you can comfortably while keeping your spine long.

Hold the position for 3 to 5 breaths. Slowly release on an exhale and repeat on the other side.

Start by lying on your back with your legs extended and your arms down at your sides.

As you inhale, bend your right knee towards your chest and clasp it with both hands. As you exhale, gently pull your right knee towards your chest.

Hold for 5-8 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Start by lying on your back with your legs stretched out and your arms at your sides, palms facing up.

Let your body relax and sink into the ground. Close your eyes if it’s comfortable.

Rest in this position for several minutes or more. Breathe.