Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Yoga for Acid Reflux

Acid reflux also known as Acidity is a common condition which occurs when the stomach produces more acid. The food we eat is broken down into smaller particles by the acid but sometimes the stomach produces more acid which caused Acid Reflux.

The backward flow to this acid produced by stomach to esophagus is called Acid Reflux. It is also called Gastroesophageal reflux Disorder (GERD). This acid causes heartburn and taste gives an unpleasant taste in the back of throat. GERD if not treated can damage the esophagus or other health disorders if not treated properly.

All these imbalances causing acid reflux are managed by Yoga which with the help of Asanas and Pranayams massages the abdominal organs and tones the digestive system which brings back the stability and balance of the while digestive system and prevents Acid Reflux.

Yoga for Acid Reflux

Yogasanas for Acid Reflux

There are several yogasanas which massage the abdominal organs thereby stimulating the digestive system to work properly.

The yogasanas which help in regulating Acid Reflux or Acidity are mentioned as follows:

  1. Vajrasana or Thunderbolt Yoga Pose for Acid Reflux

    Vajrasana is the only yogasana which is done after the meals. It helps in digestion of food and thus controls acidity if the food is properly broken down and digested.

    Steps to do Vajrasana or Thunderbolt Yoga Pose for Acid Reflux

    • The first step to practice Vajrasana or Thunderbolt Yoga pose for acid reflux is to Kneel down while bending your lower legs backwards in such a way that they are kept together and the big toes of both the feet are crossing each other. Gently lower your body on the lower legs in such a way that the thighs are resting on your calves.
    • Keep your hands on your knees and set your gaze on a point and look forward while keeping your head and neck straight. Maintain your breath while practicing Vajrasana. You should inhale and exhale deeply while sitting in this yogasana.
  2. Paschimottanasana or Back Bending Yoga Pose for Acid Reflux

    Paschimottanasana is a very beneficial yogasana for the abdominal organs. As the body bends forward the abdominal organs are massaged thereby treating not just the digestive problems like acid reflux but also menstrual issues and it also helps get rid of tummy fat.

    Steps to do Paschimottanasana for Acid Reflux

    • The first step to practice Paschimottanasana or Back Bending Yoga Pose involves sitting with your legs outstretched and hands on your knees. This is the starting position for Paschimottanasana or Back Stretching Pose and is also called Dandasana.
    • With a deep inhale, raise your hands above your head and give your arms a stretch.
    • With a big and deep exhale, start moving your arms forward towards the foot.
    • As you move forward, take your hand on your legs as far as possible towards the big toe.
    • If this seems impossible, try to grasp the ankle with your hands or any part of the leg which can be reached by hands comfortably.
    • Allow the leg, arm and back muscles to gently stretch.
    • While maintaining a firm grip on the toes, gently move your upper body starting from the hip joint towards the legs.
    • Keep your legs straight while moving the upper body forward.
    • Always keep your spine erect while bending forward when practicing Paschimottanasana.
    • Try and touch your knees with your forehead.
    • This is the final position of Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Back Stretching Pose.
    • Slowly comeback in the original position.
  3. Ustrasana or Camel Pose Yoga for Acid Reflux

    Ustrasana tones the digestive organs and helps in getting the waste out of the body and thus helps in getting rid of Acid Reflux.

    Steps to do Ustrasana for Acid Reflux:

    • Kneeling on your mat or on the floor and place your hands on your hips.
    • Ensure that your knees and shoulders are in the same line, and the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling.
    • While Inhaling draw your tailbone in towards your pubis. While ding this you will feel pull at the navel.
    • At the same time, arch your back. Gently slide your palms over your feet and straighten your arms.
    • Keep your neck in a neutral position. It should not be strained.
    • Hold the position for about 30 to 60 seconds before releasing the pose.
  4. Makarasana or Crocodile Pose for Acid Reflux

    Makarasana stimulates the digestive organs hereby help in getting rid of digestive disorders like acid reflux

    Steps to do Makarasana for Acid Reflux

    • Lie down straight on your stomach on floor or on a yoga mat.
    • Join your elbows in such a way that the one arms come directly over another arm and place your palms under the chin.
    • Lift your chest up while keeping your elbows and legs together.
    • While inhaling, first fold your one leg at a time and then both the legs together.
    • While folding, your ankles should touch the hips.
    • While exhaling, your feet should be straight and keep your head steady.
    • Repeat this for 20 to 25 times.
  5. Matsyasana or Fish Pose for Acid Reflux

    Matsyasana helps in getting rid of excess acid produced inside stomach by increasing the blood blow in the abdominal area.

    Steps to do Makarasana for Acid Reflux

    • Lie on your back on floor or on yoga mat. Place your arms alongside your body.
    • Place your hands underneath your hips with palms facing downwards towards the floor.
    • Gently and gradually raise your head and chest up.
    • While keeping the chest elevated bring your head backwards and let the top of your head rest on the floor.
    • With the head touching the floor, bring your elbows to as close to the body as possible and press the thighs and logs towards the floor.
    • Hold this pose for a few breaths.
  6. Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose for Acid Reflux

    Ardha Matsyendrasana helps in detoxifying the body and stimulates blood circulation to the abdominal area thereby helps in controlling acidity.

    Steps to do Ardha matsyendrasana for Acid Reflux

    • To do this yogasana for acid reflux, sit with your legs outstretched on the floor or on the yoga mat.
    • Place your right foot on the other side of the left leg beside the knee.
    • Fold the left leg in such a way that that the sole of your left foot touches the left hip.
    • Place the palm of right hand behind your back and fold the left arm around the right knee and twist your back to look backward.
  7. Mayurasana or The Peacock Pose for Acid Reflux

    This yogasana for acid reflux is supposed to be done empty stomach. Mayurasana helps get rid of all digestive disorders but requires a practice to master it.

    Steps to do Mayurasana for Acid Reflux

    • Sit on your heels with your knees wide apart.
    • Place your hands on the floor with the fingers pointing towards the body. Bend your arms in such a way that the elbows are pressing towards the abdomen.
    • Touch your head on the floor and bring the strength in the stomach. Stretch your legs in such a way that the upper part of feet is facing the floor.
    • Shift your body weight on your hands and lift your body off the floor in such a way that the body is parallel to the floor. Hold this position for a few breaths or for 10-20 seconds initially.
  8. Pavanmuktasana or Wind Relieving Pose for Acid Reflux

    It relieves excess gas from the system and treats chronic acidity. It should not be done by pregnant women, people suffering from chronic back pains or spinal problems.

    Steps to do Pawanmuktasana or Wind Relieving pose for Acid Reflux

    • Lie on your back on the floor or on the yoga mat.
    • Raise your legs and fold the knees in such a way that the knees come close to your chest.
    • Fold your hands around your legs and raise the upper part of your body in such a way that your chin touches the knees of both the legs.
  9. Balasana or Child Pose for Acid Reflux

    Balasana helps in relieving stress from the body thereby calming the nervous system which in turn reduces anxiety.

    Steps to do Balasana for Acid Reflux

    • Sit in Vajrasana on the floor or on yoga mat.
    • Bring your arms to rest backward in such a way that both the arms are lying on either side of the thighs. Bend forward and bring your forehead to touch the floor.
    • Stay in this position for a few seconds.
  10. Mandukasana or Frog Pose for Acid Reflux

    Mandukasana works on the abdominal organs by, massaging them and specifically working on the digestive organs and helps in getting rid of the stomach disorders.

    Steps to do Mandukasana or Frog Pose for Acid Reflux

    • Comfortably sit in Vajrasana on the floor or on the yoga mat
    • Close the fists of your both hands.
    • While clinching the fists press your thumb inside with the fingers.
    • While pressing the navel with your both fists exhale and bend forward.
    • Hold the breath when you are in the position of bend forward and keep looking straight.
    • Stay in this position for some time (hold the position as much as you can), inhale and come back to starting position (Vajrasana).
    • Repeat this for three to four times.

Pranayams to Control and Get Rid of Acid Reflux

Anulom Vilom

This pranayam boosts energy in the body and releases stress and anxiety. It should be practiced in the morning in the fresh air on empty stomach.

Steps to do Anulom Vilom

  • Sit in Padmasana.
  • Close your right nostril with the thumb and inhale deeply from the left nostril.
  • Close the left nostril with the ring finger and little finger of the same hand and exhale deeply from the right nostril.
  • Now, inhale deeply from the right nostril and after inhalation

Kapalbhati Pranayama

Kapalbhati Pranayama helps get rid of all the stomach and abdominal disorders like acid reflux, improper digestion etc.

Steps to do Kapalbhati Pranayama

  • Sit in Padmasana or Lotus feet pose.
  • Inhale deeply and fill your lungs with air to their full capacity.
  • While exhaling, take your abdominal muscles inwards.
  • A pressure will be felt while exhaling and while the stomach is pushed inwards.
  • Repeat this for at least 3-4 minutes every day to improve digestion.

Shitali Pranayama

Shitali Pranayama purifies the blood and helps in expelling toxins out of the body thereby helping in curing indigestion and acid reflux.

Steps to do Shitali Pranayama

  • Sit in any of the meditative asanas i.e. - Sukhasana, Padmasana or Vajrasana.
  • Roll your tongue and inhale through mouth while your tongue is rolled. You will feel that that air going inside your mouth is being cooled by the tongue.
  • Exhale from the nostrils.
  • You can practice 4 seconds of inhalation from mouth and 6 seconds exhalation from the nostrils initially and the ratio can be increased with practice.

Yogic Aahat to Control Acid Reflux

Food Management is a very essential part of managing and controlling acid reflux. Few of the modifications that are required with regular practice of Yogasanas and Pranayams are mentioned below.

Yogic aahar to control Acid Reflux is mentioned below:

  • Consume as much water as you can during the day. This will help in excreting acid from the body.
  • Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet to promote good bowel movement.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol.
  • Avoid having spicy food.
  • Avoid oily and deep fried food. Take as many raw vegetables as you can.
  • Consume sprouted food as much as possible.
  • Yogurt and Buttermilk help in neutralizing the acid produced in stomach. Consumption of Yogurt is advised during lunch.

Precautions and Contraindications While Practicing Yoga for Acid Reflux

  • Always practice yoga two hours after having your meals – when you've Acidity or acid reflux it is a rule for you to practice yoga after the food you had is digested. The less contents you'll have in your stomach, lesser is the possibility of the food contents to reflux from the stomach to the back of esophagus which gives heartburns. Moreover, energy will be diverted from practice and towards digestion, you can't breathe as deeply on a full stomach as you can on an empty.
  • Avoid asanas which brings on the symptoms and avoid practicing them. When you start practicing, you'll see there are a few asanas which causes acid to flow back from the stomach to esophagus. If you're practicing empty stomach then also there is acid stored in the stomach which causes the regurgitation.
  • Asanas to be avoided if you're having Acid Reflux or Acidity. Bridge, Dolphin, Downward Facing Dog, Extended Puppy, Feathered Peacock, Forearm Stand, Handstand, Head Stand, Knew Down Twist, Legs Up the Wall, Plow, Rabbit, Shoulder Stand, Thread the Needle, Wheel, Wide Legged Forward Bend
  • Do not stress your body with excessive exercise. You are advised not to over exert your body while practicing yoga if you have acidity. Go as far as your body allows. Do not push yourself beyond the limits. You can use props while practicing advanced yoga poses if you are a beginner or are not able to practice yogasanas because of any reasons.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: July 10, 2017

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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