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Yoga for Acid Reflux

Updated on August 20, 2014

People all over the world practice yoga to manage their stress filled lives as well as to help them stay fit. Could it be useful for more than that? What if it could help you manage your acid reflux? If you have ever had acid reflux, you know the painful symptoms well, the blazing pain that bounds from your stomach all the way up into your throat. If you have it to the extent that it can’t be controlled with a simple over the counter remedy, you likely also experience nauseousness and even back pain in conjunction with the burning sensation in your chest and throat. The soothing tranquil effects of a simple yoga for acid reflux routine when combined with a balanced diet, may help you to get this condition under control.

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Acid Reflux and GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, more commonly known as acid reflux is a fairly frequent complaint among people of all ages. Stomach acids instead of just digesting and breaking down your foods as they were intended,travels back up into the esophagus due to a malfunction of the valve that is supposed to keep it separated from the stomach.

Most will say they have acid indigestion and are experiencing a fiery sensation in their throats and chest. Spicy foods like garlic and red pepper, alcohol, citrus drinks, and foods with a high fat content will only make it worse.

When this condition has become chronic, patients can develop ulcers, erosion of the stomach and esophageal lings, even cancer. Doctors offer the usual accepted methods of treatment, with over the counter antacids, prescription medications and drastic diet changes.

In conjunction with these treatments or alone, yoga has been known to greatly alleviate the symptoms of this disease. It helps to keep it manageable.

Yoga Postures for Acid Reflux Relief

From the experience and teachings of many yoga instructors, it has been found that certain positions and regimens of yoga are very helpful in controlling this debilitating condition. Some positions are inherently good for the digestion and that is a great benefit for anyone suffering from acid reflux.

Poses such as reclined hip openers, modified side stretches and supported backbends can help to boost blood circulation in the abdominal cavity as well as working to reduce the acid content of your digestive system.

When you have good circulation your body works better and is more able to do what is needed to be done as far as helping you to digest your food properly. Sometimes yoga, when supervised by a professional, can totally alleviate these symptoms when used with dietary changes.

Specific ones to try include the Warrior 2, the corpse and the side airplane.

Yoga for Heartburn

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Warrior 2 Pose

The Warrior 2, is a fantastic position to use to help get your acid reflux under control, because it stretches the chest muscles which will help to get rid of some of the symptoms, yet also still allows for deep breathing. To do the Warrior 2, you begin in a standing position, slowly move one foot about two feet behind your body with your foot angled at 45 degrees, you then drop the other knee til it is parallel to the ground and rotate your upper body so that it is over your knee, and extend your arms. Hold position for thirty seconds and switch to the other side.

Corpse Pose for Heartburn

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Corpse Pose

The corpse, though a simple enough exercise, is a good yogic position to help as well, because it is very relaxing and that is always great for a condition that may be exacerbated by stress.

You lay flat on your back, allowing your legs and feet to fall to the side, and keep your palms up, then simply move your legs back and forth and circle your arms first in one direction, then the other.

Continue with deep breaths in between and you can stop when you feel relaxed.

Yoga Poses that are Bad for Acid Reflux

While some yogic poses are considered to be beneficial for digestive complaints, there are plenty that are contraindicated, such as Downward Facing Dog.

If you have problems with acid reflux or heartburn, any position that applies pressure or compresses the abdominal cavity is going to make you feel worse, not better.

Moves that require standing or seated forward bending movements, as well as headstands are to be removed from your regimen, or you may get headaches or even nausea.

If you are experiencing it at the time of your workout, you should avoid any poses that cause you extreme physical strain.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes for Heart Burn

Although yoga can prove to be very helpful to persons with GERD, it is not necessarily the answer all by itself. If you combine yoga with the recommended dietary and lifestyle changes however, you can expect some relief.

Some people have had success with natural remedies like raw organic apple cider vinegar and aloe vera juice.

Slowing down and taking your time when eating, as well as cutting down on the alcohol and caffeine are good ways to start. Be sure to remember that these changes are important when doing the yogic poses for relief, and that without them the poses themselves may not help at all. You can consult your regular doctor for changes in diet that will be of benefit to you in this case.

Just like any other health concern, you have to take your individual problems into consideration. Talk to your doctor and a certified instructor to find out if this will be of help to you. If you have back problems or other health issues that would be contraindicated with these stretches, their may be some better alternatives that would work for you. Alternative approaches such as with yoga have been of benefit to many, for an abundance of physical complaints, as well as digestive problems. Yoga is a gentle way to help get your body back into physical health, as well as being of benefit mentally. A very relaxing workout, toning your body as well as your mind.

Is There A Yoga Acid Reflux Cure?

Can yoga really help with acid reflux? What do you think?

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Conclusion

Suffering from acid reflux is a major concern to anyone who has experienced it. With all the stress and rich foods and indulging lifestyles that people are participating in these days, far more are finding themselves with the burning fires of indigestion than ever before. If you are in pain from this condition more than once a week, and want to consider other possible solutions besides taking a pill for relief, then yoga may be for you. When used in conjunction with changes in your diet and how you eat, it can be a quality tool in your repertoire for relief. Yoga is not only used to get into shape, or relax, many are using it with help of a certified instructor to help with medical concerns like this one as well as others. Talk with your physician and yogic professional about the possible benefits to you personally.

Please also take a look at my other hubs on acid reflux, gerd, and heart burn:

Mattress Wedge for Acid Reflux

Aloe Vera Juice For Acid Reflux

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    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando FI Chor 

      3 years ago from Andalusia

      Acid reflux symptoms are created by a bad diet. Yoga helps circulation, posture, and creates "more room" inside your body for all organs to function better, but if people carry on eating processed foods and too much saturated fat from meat and dairy, their health will suffer no matter how much exercise they do.

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