The uncomfortable, burning sensation associated with acid reflux isn’t a pleasant experience, but yoga can help. With a few mellow yoga poses, the symptoms of acid reflux may ebb into oblivion, giving you the relief you’re seeking.
In this article, we review five of the best yoga poses to alleviate acid reflux and how they help. To start, let’s take a look at acid reflux and what it is.
- 1 What Is Acid Reflux?
- 2 Can Yoga Help With Acid Reflux?
- 3 5 Of The Best Yoga Poses To Relieve Acid Reflux
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acidity, also known as acid reflux, is a common condition that occurs due to excess acid production in the stomach. At the base of your stomach, there’s a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), acting as a valve.
When everything runs smoothly, the LES closes behind food, blocking the stomach’s acids from entering the esophagus. However, if the LES doesn’t close all the way or opens too frequently, it can allow stomach acid to move into the esophagus.
This produces a burning sensation in the chest, commonly known as heartburn. Doctors recognize these symptoms as acid reflux disease or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) when people experience them more than twice weekly. Conversely, some folks solely experience occasional acid reflux.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
Millions of Americans experience acid reflux symptoms every year, with approximately 20 percent experiencing acid reflux occasionally or regularly. These symptoms can result from various risk factors, including the following:
- Snacking close to bedtime
- Being overweight or obese
- Consuming a large meal
- Lying down immediately after eating
- Lying on your back or bending at the waist after consuming a large meal
- Consuming specific foods, including citrus, chocolate, mint, tomato, onions, garlic, spicy foods, or fatty foods
- Drinking specific beverages, including coffee, tea, alcohol, or carbonated drinks
- Being pregnant
- Taking various medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen, some muscle relaxers, or blood pressure medications
Can Yoga Help With Acid Reflux?
Yoga can be a solution to acid reflux relief. Gentle poses and forms of pranayama can help ease the symptoms by bringing blood flow to the abdomen, which helps with digestion.
A study on GERD found that 45.6 percent of individuals reported stress as a factor impacting their reflux symptoms. Another study connected the dots between increased stress levels and an influx in the secretion of stomach acids.
More acid in the stomach can translate to aggravated symptoms, so researchers began exploring yoga as a potential solution to calm stress levels and alleviate symptoms.
Through further studies, researchers discovered that yoga might help lower the body’s stress response, making it a potentially effective treatment for GERD.
5 Of The Best Yoga Poses To Relieve Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is an unpleasant experience, so if you’re contending with its effects, yoga might help. Try the following five yoga poses to relieve and control acid reflux.
Forward bend pose (Paschimottanasana)
Commonly known as the forward bend pose, this pose is ideal for stretching the muscles and aiding digestion, offering acid reflux relief. To start, sit on your yoga mat with your legs and hands at your sides.
Tighten the core to bring blood flow to the area, focusing on your breathing. When you’re ready, fold forward, stretching your hands toward your toes. If you’re comfortable, advance the pose by bringing your forehead and chest toward your legs.
Avoid forcing the head or chest to touch your legs; remember to work within your limits. Hold the pose for three minutes or as long as you’re comfortable, breathing deeply through the pose.
Reclining bound angle pose (Supta Baddhakonasana)
This pose, also known as the reclining bound angle pose or reclining butterfly pose, is a soothing balm for an agitated stomach producing acid reflux symptoms. It gently reduces the symptoms by allowing gravity to work its magic in lowering acid out of the esophagus.
You’ll need a few props for this pose, including a pillow, a couple of blankets, or a stack of books.
Start in a seated position, then slowly recline on your exhale, leaning back to rest on your forearms. Position a prop behind your head to elevate it above your chest, ensuring your neck is comfortable.
Bring your feet together, placing the soles together to create a diamond shape with your legs. Place your left hand on your stomach and the right on your heart, breathing through the pose for five to ten minutes.
Thunderbolt pose (Vajrasana )
The thunderbolt pose, or Vajrasana, fixes hyperacidity causing acid reflux while simultaneously enhancing blood circulation to the abdomen. To start, kneel on the ground, resting your bottom on your heels.
Keep your spine straight and your head and neck in a neutral position, with your hands resting gently atop your knees. Hold the position for around 10 minutes, focusing on deep, even breathing.
Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
In the cobra pose or bhujangasana, you allow gravity to do its work in keeping acid reflux at bay. While the pose is an active posture that offers a deep, glorious stretch through the chest, shoulders, and neck, it also gently massages and stretches the digestive organs.
To start, lie in a prone position on the floor with the tops of your feet resting on the mat. Place your hands beneath your shoulders, keeping your elbows tucked toward your ribs. When you’re ready, press into the floor with your feet, thighs, and hips, pushing through your palms to raise your upper body off the floor.
Raise as high as you can before your lower body begins to rise from the floor. Lift the chest, keeping your ribs from flaring outward. Breathe as you hold, remaining in the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. When you’re ready, exhale and bend your elbows to lower your body back to the floor.
Half spinal twist pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
The half spinal twist pose, or Ardha Matsyendrasana, helps stretch the abdominal muscles, bringing blood flow to the area and helping with digestion. Start seated with your right leg over the left so the left foot lies along the right pelvic region.
Bend your right knee to bring your right foot over the left knee and twist the upper body to the right, bringing the left arm toward the right knee. Hold the pose for a few breaths, then repeat on the other side by bringing the right foot over the left knee.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Yoga Is Best For Acid Reflux?
When experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, it’s best to stick with gentle, upright yoga positions. Inverse positions can worsen symptoms, so opt for upright poses that offer soothing stretches and increased blood circulation to the stomach and abdomen, as this will help pacify the symptoms.
Is It OK To Do Yoga With Acid Reflux?
Absolutely, you can do yoga with acid reflux! Calm, soothing yoga postures can alleviate symptoms of acid reflux by improving blood circulation to the abdomen and reducing stress. Stick to upright poses that allow gravity to work in tandem with your efforts.
Can Yoga Make Acid Reflux Worse?
Some poses in yoga, like the downward-facing dog or swan dive, can aggravate the symptoms of acid reflux. When experiencing these symptoms, it’s best to stick to gentle, upright yoga postures to avoid further irritating the symptoms.