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Yoga for Heartburn Relief

When many people picture the backward bending headstands that so often epitomize yoga classes, they would think that such contortions would cause more pain, not relieve it. But in fact, certain yoga poses can help to calm down the fire within your chest—especially when paired with medical treatment for acid reflux.
Depending on the severity of your discomfort, treatment for chronic heartburn may include medication, lifestyle changes or reflux surgery. Macon is home to many fine restaurants and festivals that are filled with all sorts of spices and delicious foods that you won’t want to miss out on due to your acid reflux. Supplementing your physician’s treatment with physical activity and a healthy diet is one way to get the most out of your reflux therapy plan.

A word to the wise: yoga can be intense

So, take a class first if you have never tried it before, and make sure to get clearance from your doctor. If you have just had reflux surgery, then starting out with an advanced yoga course right away may not be the best idea. Starting out slow with your yoga routine allows you to gradually develop balance. If your goal is to alleviate pain from heartburn through yoga, then injuring yourself isn’t going to do much help.
Here are a few yoga poses that have particularly been shown to help alleviate acid reflux.

  • Sukhasana or Easy Pose. With your back straight and your legs crossed in front of you, sit still with your hands resting on your knees. Do not entangle your legs, but instead allow your left ankle to sit atop the right. This is one of the classic meditative poses, helping to straighten the spine, slow down the metabolism and promote inner tranquility.
  • Bidalasana or Cat Pose. For this pose, balance yourself on your hands and knees with your toes pointing straight behind you. Distribute your balance evenly across the palms of your hands, applying pressure from the index finger to the base of your wrist. Hunch your shoulders, arching your back to simulate a cat while keeping your gaze downwards towards your fingertips. The cat pose helps initiate movement from your center, helping you to coordinate your movement and breath.
  • Virabhadrasana I or Warrior I pose. To begin this pose, stand with your feet together at one end of your mat, and take a large step, placing your left foot three or four feet in front of you. Slowly move into your left leg, gradually straightening out your right leg behind you, keeping your toes on the mat. Your head, knees, hips and shoulders should all be pointing straight forward. Circle your arms above your head and join your hands in the air as you point your head towards the sky. Taking deep breaths, hold this pose for one minute, or as long as you feel comfortable doing so. The warrior I pose helps to relieve acid reflux by lifting the diaphragm and extending the esophagus.

Yoga cannot cure your acid reflux, but when practiced in conjunction with medical attention it may help to alleviate some of your discomfort.


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