• By Amanda Blackburn.

Six easy Yoga moves to help people with Crohn's Disease!

My daughter has had Crohn's disease since late 2015. She has been very ill with it and some days she can hardly move and is in terrible pain. She used to love dancing and has had to stop due to being too ill to continue. When she is having a pain free day I do some very basic yoga moves with her to help keep her flexible, build up her strength and help her clear her mind. I also teach my 6-year-old yoga to help keep him flexible, strong and happy. Yoga is a great way to deal with the symptoms of any chronic illness, such as inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis). Yoga opens a door to a healthier lifestyle that can, calm your symptoms and help you heal from the pain a chronic condition can cause. The physical practice of yoga if performed correctly has wonderful effects on the body. Each pose can be placed together to form a sequence that will help balance the body and heal it with a gentle opening. Ease into yourself and open tight spots within your body and I promise that Yoga will benefit you! Just concentrate on what is right for you and go at your own pace, listening to your body. My general rule for yoga is if it hurts do not do it, explore for yourself, and do not worry if someone else can do a headstand or backbend and you can not. Yoga is about your own exploration and gentle opening of your body if you strain you can actually make yourself worse. Listen to the messages your body gives you.

  • Always centre yourself before you begin.

  • Sit on the floor, a mat or carpet in a position that is comfortable for you.

  • Close your eyes, breathe and clear your mind focusing on your breathing.

  • Feel supported by the earth underneath you, breathe through your nose and inhale filling your lungs up from the bottom, the middle and finally the top.

  • Suck your belly button into your back making a contraction in your lower abs, slightly curving your tailbone under and straightening your spine.

  • Keep the spine straight throughout your practice and try to keep your lower abs contracted to protect the lower back.

While practising yoga, asana it is very important to practice your breathing techniques. In yoga (ujjayi, or victorious breath) is described as being a nostril breathing, that reaches deep into the diaphragm, constricts the throat and causes an ocean-like sound. Breathing opens up the body and helps to heal getting the oxygen to our organs. When you are in a pose, focus on the tight parts of your body and send the breath there, it will help your body open. While you listen to your breath stay in the moment and separate mind stuff from your body. Easy Pose, also known as, Sukhasana, Decent Pose, Easy Pose and Pleasant Pose, is an asana (In yoga, asana refers both to the place in which a practitioner, yogi if male and yogini if female sits and the posture in which he or she sits in a position is firm, but relaxed) practised in yoga, Buddhism and Hinduism, similar to sitting in a simple cross-legged position.

Easy Pose

Easy Pose is a popular pose for meditation. It teaches you to adopt the proper posture while sitting This move is best not to be performed if you have a severe leg problem, any pain in the lower spine, sciatica or severe knee problems.

  • It strengthens your back and lengthens your spine.

  • Stretches your knees and ankles.

  • Opens your hips.

  • Stretches and broadens your collarbones and chest.

  • Calms your mind.

  • Enhance's your condition of peacefulness and serenity.

  • Kick's out anxiety, stress and mental tiredness.

  • Helps in improving body posture.

Always start your Yoga with this move!

  1. Sit on the floor (yoga mat or carpet) with your legs stretched out.

  2. Fold the left leg and tuck it inside the right thigh.

  3. Fold the right leg and tuck in inside the left thigh.

  4. Keep the hands on the knees.

  5. Sit up tall with your spine straight, keeping the buttocks on the floor.

  6. Relax your whole body, breathing normally.

  7. Stay in the position for about 5 minutes and try and focus on your breathing keeping your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed.

Easy Pose is a comfortable seated position for meditation. A seated meditation posture is usually chosen to begin or end a practice of yoga.

Child's Pose

Child's Pose (Balasana) is a common beginner's yoga pose. It is often used as a resting position in between more difficult poses during a yoga practice. You can hold this position for long periods of time. Placing your head down on the mat has an instant calming and soothing effect on the brain. The inward fold of the body, with the eyes looking back towards you, sends a signal to your brain that you’re safe, and that it’s OK to rest and get rid of all thoughts swirling around in your head. *Do not practice Child's Pose if you have a current or recent knee injury. Women who are pregnant should only practice a wide-legged variation of the pose — do not press the belly on top of the thighs* Whilst in this pose if you put your knees closer together so that your belly is resting on your thighs you will massage your internal organs which may help move your digestion along. Taking long, slow deep inhales and exhales in this pose will push your abdomen into your legs, and then draw it back up again. Doing this repeatedly is literally going to manually massage your intestinal tract.

If you sit at a desk all day, stand for long periods of time the chances are you have some compression in your lower back. Folding over your legs immediately reverses the extension of the tailbone that can cause lower back pain. Child’s Pose allows you to open up and stretch this area of the body.

Your hips may also be taking a beating in your day-to-day life. Sitting in a chair for long periods of time can actually tighten all of the muscles in and around your hips. Reduce any hip pain by taking your knees wide apart in your Child’s Pose so that your belly can relax in between them, you will be getting a nice stretch and opening through the hips.

  1. Kneel on the floor.

  2. Touch your big toes together, sit on your heels and separate your knees hip width apart.

  3. On an exhalation, lean forwards allowing your entire body, front and back to rest between your thighs. ...Keep your arms long and extended, palms facing down.

  4. Press back slightly with your hands to keep your buttocks in contact with your heels. Lengthen from your hips to your armpits, and then extend even further through your fingertips.

  5. For deeper relaxation, bring your arms back to rest alongside your thighs with your palms facing up. Completely relax your elbows.

  6. Let your upper back spread out and relax the lower back, allowing all the tension in your shoulders, arms, and neck drain away.

  7. Keep your gaze drawn inward with your eyes closed.

  8. Hold for up to a minute or longer, breathing softly.

  9. To release the pose, gently use your hands and walk your body upright and sit back on your heels.

Cat Stretch

Cat Stretch (Marjaryasana) is a move that you perform in two actions together for a gentle, flowing breath-synchronized movement. you practice With this pose you will move from one pose (cow) as you inhale to the next (cat) as you exhale, your movements should match your breathing.

*Do not perform this if you have back or neck-related problems*

  • Start on your hands and knees in Table Pose making sure your hips are in a line with your knees and your wrists are in a line with your shoulders.

  • Keep your back flat and straight with your spine in a neutral position.

  • Make your neck long, without straining, your eyes relaxed and look at the floor.

  • Move into Cow Pose and as you inhale lift your sit bones (ischium bones in your pelvis) upwards and press your chest forward allowing your belly to sink towards the floor.

  • Lift your head and relax your shoulders away from your ears.

  • Look straight ahead and hold for a few seconds.

  • Come into Cat Pose as you exhale rounding your spine out and tucking in your tailbone.

  • Slowly move your pubic bone forward.

  • Move your head carefully towards the floor without forcing your chin to your chest (if you have a neck injury, keep your head in line with your torso throughout).

  • Repeat five or six times, making sure to do the movement slowly and gracefully, its effect is more powerful and meditative.

This yoga move:

  • Improves posture and balance

  • Strengthens and stretches the spine and neck

  • Stretches the hips, abdomen and back

  • Increases coordination

  • Massages and stimulates organs in the belly, like the kidneys and adrenal glands

  • Creates emotional balance

  • Relieves stress and calms the mind

  • Brings flexibility to your spine

  • Helps to strengthen your wrists and shoulders when practised regularly

  • Massages your digestive organs and improves digestion

  • Tones up your abdomen

  • Improves digestion

  • Helps relax your mind

  • Improves your blood circulation

Mountain Pose is the foundation for all of the standing postures it improves posture, groundedness, stability and confidence.

*Do not practise this move if you have a recent or chronic injury to the shoulders*

  1. Stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart.

  2. Spread your toes and the balls of your feet laying them softly down on the floor.

  3. Rock back and forth and side to side gradually reducing swaying to a standstill with your weight balanced evenly on your feet.

  4. Firm your thigh muscles lift your kneecaps and relax your lower belly.

  5. Lift your inner ankles to strengthen the inner arches.

  6. Visualise a line of energy all the way up along your inner thighs up to your groins, feeling the core of your torso (trunk of the human body), neck, and head, all the way to the crown of your head.

  7. Turn your upper thighs slightly inward.

  8. Lengthen your tailbone towards the floor and lift your pubis (pubic bone) toward the navel (centre of your belly).

  9. Press your shoulder blades towards your back to widen them across and then relax and release them into your back.

  10. Lift the top of your sternum straight toward the ceiling making sure not to push your lower front ribs forward.

  11. Widen your collarbones and hang your arms beside the torso.

  12. Keep the crown of your head directly over the centre of your pelvis, look straight ahead relaxing your throat and allowing your tongue to flatten on the floor of your mouth.

  13. Soften your eyes.

Mountain Pose helps:

  • Improve posture

  • Strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles

  • Firms abdomen and buttocks

  • Relieves sciatica

  • Reduces flat feet

Cobra Pose

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) is a back-bending yoga pose that helps to open the chest and lungs.

*Do not perform this move if you are pregnant, have Carpal tunnel syndrome, a headache or back injury*

  1. Lie flat on the floor, stretch your legs back with the front of your feet on the floor.

  2. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders, hugging your elbows back into your body.

  3. Press the fronts of your feet, thighs and your pubic bone firmly into the floor.

  4. Inhale and begin to straighten your arms lifting your chest off the floor (push up gently without straining.

  5. Hold at the height that you can maintain a connection through your pubic bone to your legs. Press your tailbone towards your pubic bone and lift the pubic bone towards your belly button, narrowing your hips.

  6. Gently squeeze your buttocks together making sure you don't squeeze them too hard.

  7. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, puffing the side of your ribs forward.

  8. Lift through the top of your breastbone without pushing the front of your ribs forward.

  9. Spread your backbend evenly throughout the entire spine.

  10. Hold this pose for 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily.

  11. Release back to the floor with an exhalation.

  12. Find the height at which you can work comfortably and avoid straining your back!

Cobra Pose helps:

  • Strengthens the spine

  • Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen

  • Firms the buttocks

  • Stimulates abdominal organs

  • Relieves stress and fatigue

  • Opens the heart and lungs

  • Soothes sciatica

  • Therapeutic for asthma

  • Traditional texts say that Bhujangasana increases body heat, destroys disease, and awakens kundalini.

Perform a final relaxation pose at the end.

Corpse Pose (Savasana) aligns your body and helps you deeply relax. Placing a cushion underneath your knees will take weight off of your pelvis, which can allow the spine to release and relax.

  • Make sure you are warm.

  • Lie flat on your back.

  • Place a cushion underneath your knees or lay flat on the ground.

  • Let your feet rest on the floor and allow your legs to drop slightly open.

  • Place your arms either above your head or by your sides making sure to let them flop and relax.

  • Close your eyes allowing your body to feel heavy on the ground.

  • Release each body part from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head.

  • Turn your awareness inward and relax completely.

Practice these moves daily or every other day and enjoy the benefits. *Always work within your own range of limits and abilities* *If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practising yoga*


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