Yoga originates in the text of ancient sages, and yet, this form of exercise and therapy holds promise in modern times. Yoga lowers stress and combats symptoms associated with anxiety. Consequently, for those facing acid reflux, it is a great cure. Research shows that a majority of GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease patients reported stress directly impacts reflux symptoms.
Acid reflux is a symptom of GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. GERD is more common in Asia than in Western countries, as dietary habits focus on acidic foods here mostly. However, Western countries are also reporting a higher incidence of acid reflux due to rich diets and resulting in obesity.
GERD is a common medical condition in modern times, especially for those suffering from medical conditions like obesity or lifestyle diseases like diabetes.
Another study reveals that stress directly impacts acidity in the stomach, and the mind-body connection is best exemplified in the gut. So yoga for acid reflux could be just the cure you seek if stress-induced GERD is making life tough for you.
Why Choose Yoga for Acid Reflux?
Yoga poses for acid reflux or Yoga methods like Pranayama can counter plenty of stress and combat excessive acidity in the stomach produced due to anxiety. To avoid invasive procedures and accelerate relief from acid reflux, PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors can be paired with yoga(1) as well.
One research study even demonstrated that Kapalbhatti and Agnisar Kriya combined to ward off GERD in hernia patients along with PPIs. For achieving full symptomatic relief, the yogic postures are incredibly beneficial for strengthening the LES/Lower Esophageal Sphincter.
Specifically, the LES becomes lax in acid reflux patients, and the excessive acid regurgitation into the throat harms the tissues due to pepsin and other acids. The esophageal tube connects the stomach to the mouth and also serves as a passage for acid to reach the throat when hyperacidity due to stress strikes.
Mostly, the research study found that LES tone and LES laxity could be addressed through Kapalbhatti which is one of the ten pranayama breathing methods along with Agnisar Kriya for abdominal flapping to reduce acidity due to the relaxation of LES. Besides improving gastrointestinal motility, yoga also limits the capability of the stomach tract to persist in peristaltic contractions.
It prevents fluid and secretion shifts that trigger stomach acidity and acid reflux. Yoga for acid reflux leads to a relaxation response due to reduced epinephrine and response from end-organs. The response triggers a simultaneous lowering of the respiratory and the heart rate, besides a reduction in blood pressure. As yoga decreases the digestive tract’s stress response, GERD symptoms abate.
[Also Read: Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux]
How to Do Yoga Poses For Acid Reflux?
For trying yoga for acid reflux, opt for free videos of yoga poses. For example, aim for a 10-12 minute routine to relieve tension in the neck and focus on breathing to balance the body. Seated breath works and poses like the Chair, the Dancer, and the Mountain can work well.
Avoid poses like Downward Dog that lead to the acid flowing up. Shavasana/Corpse pose should ideally be performed after elevating the head.
Many yoga poses for acid reflux(2) can also reduce acidity, such as Reclining Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana), Reclining Easy Cross-Legged (Supported Supta Sukhasana), Upright Side Stretch (Parvottasana). Warrior 1 (or Virabhadrasana I), Triangle or Trikonasana and Revolved Triangle or Parvirtta Trikonasana.
Other poses to try for GERD include the easy pose. This pose is a simple cross-legged position where you sit down on the mat, bend the right knee, and tuck in the heel. Bend the left knee and position the heel of the left foot in line with the right heel.
This pose can be carried out for ten to twenty breaths. Another great pose is the cat pose, where you need to get on all fours and arch the spine. Hold this for one to two counts and repeat till relief is experienced.
[Also Read: Yoga for Acid Reflux?]
Benefits of Yoga for Acid Reflux
GERD is a multifactorial disease, and yogic poses can help in relieving stress and reducing symptoms of acid reflux. Some postures can even enhance the digestive processes and improve the health of digestive organs.
There is a two-way impact of yoga. Firstly, yogic postures can alleviate GERD symptoms by toning the organs. Indirectly, the body experiences relaxation. Practical exercises can range across the Locust pose the Easy pose and the Cat Pose. Pranayama is beneficial in improving circulation in digestive organs and counteracting abdominal muscles.
1. Relaxing the Body
Yoga for acid reflux relaxes the body by easing stress and tension in the muscles. The physiological indicators like heart rate and blood pressure also stabilize.
2. Toning the Digestive Organs
Through a simple combination of stretches and exercises, yoga improves the digestive organ and LES tone, boosting gastric-acid secretion in a balanced way. This combination combats acid reflux.
3. Improving Circulation
Another essential benefit of yogic poses is that the stomach and its organs receive enough circulation, blood, and oxygen nutrients to function effectively. Crucially, yoga improves digestion and serves to balance acidity levels in the gut.
Thus, yoga offers multiple mechanisms through which acid reflux can be combatted. GERD and symptoms of acid reflux/heartburn can be staved off through twin methods of poses and breathing exercises. Yoga methods and postures hold great value for aiding in digestion, countering excessive acidity and keeping acid reflux at bay.
1. What Type of Yogic Asanas or Poses Help in Acid Reflux?
Some of the best poses for countering acid reflux include the Easy Pose, the Dancer pose, the Mountain pose, the Chair pose, the Cat pose, the Locust pose, and the Corpse pose. However, certain precautions should be taken while opting for yoga for acid reflux. For example, avoid poses like Downward Dog, which can cause the acid to flow upward.
2. How Does Yoga Avert Acid Reflux?
The multiple ways yoga methods and poses avert acid reflux are as follows. By inducing a relaxation response, yoga aid in digestion and counters excessive acid production. It also tones the digestive organs and improves circulation, which counters stress-linked GERD.
3. How Do Yoga Methods Reduce Acid Reflux?
There are ten types of breathing exercises or Pranayama, which is a yoga method. Some, like Kapalbhatti, strengthen the abdomen and aid in digestion while inducing a relaxation response and lowering stress associated with excessive acid reflux.