Does Yoga Really Help With IBS?
I know what you’re thinking. Ugh. You’ve heard it a million times from a well-meaning friend or family member: "Why don’t you try yoga? It will heal your IBS."
Just want to be crystal clear: I am not telling you that yoga will take away all of your IBS symptoms. I live with IBS and I know it’s not that simple, although I wish it was. On the flip side, I will share that my experience doing yoga has been nothing but positive for my physical health and dealing with IBS symptoms.
An active lifestyle
My entire life I have been active. I tend to lean towards high-impact exercise, always. I grew up taking dance classes starting at 4-years-old and never stopped. In between dance I played sports with my brother and cousins and was always running around like a maniac, scraping my knees and being active.
I grew to fall in love with the art of dance and eventually went to study it in college, to then turn professional after graduation. I danced for the Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center (NYC) for 4 seasons and my hopes were to then explore dancing on Broadway.
In other words, I am an athlete and that was always what I knew my entire life. In 2011, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and IBS. Both cases are severe. Shortly after, I had to quit my beloved job dancing in NYC because I physically became too ill.
Living with my new normal: IBS and Crohn's
With time, as I adjusted to my new normal, I realized that high-impact exercise impacted my bowels in a negative way. I was desperate to stay in shape and feel strong so I turned to yoga. Yoga has always been a supplemental exercise for dancers. It encourages flexibility, balance, strength, and mental focus—all things a professional dancer needs.
In turn, I decided to make yoga my main form of exercise. I found a teacher on YouTube that I love. Her name is Kassandra. All her classes are free and they range from beginner to advanced levels, plus all ranges of time length. You can pop in for a 10-minute class or an hour and a half class. It’s perfect. You choose what you need and did I mention it’s free!
Finding my yoga routine
Over time, I found, that when I get into a solid yoga routine, my IBS symptoms improve. Yes, I actually feel less anxious and deal with less cramping and urgency. Don’t get me wrong, there are times where I have to press pause and use the restroom in the middle of a class. But with time, the IBS symptoms lesson, and I see immense improvement. To the point that I have now made yoga my primary way to exercise, next to light weight lifting.
It’s a win-win. I feel stronger and better about my body, seeing physical improvement while also reaping the benefits of fewer IBS symptoms. I never felt these sorts of results from doing a fast Zumba class or going for a run.
So if you are struggling to find a way to stay fit while dealing with the pesky symptoms of IBS, I highly recommend giving yoga a try. You can start at your own pace, all you need is a mat, a device, and an internet connection!
Do you do yoga? How do you like it? If not, what other form of exercise do you do? Share below, we love to hear from you.
Do you think there is enough awareness of IBS?