I finally discovered a yoga class a month ago that I liked, in particular a gentle yoga session that doesn’t ask for a lot of expertise (or sweat). But as I did downward dog, I had acid reflux, which caused a burning sensation in my throat. She was familiar to me, yes.
I suppose this has happened to other individuals as well. When you’re not sitting up straight, acid reflux, which happens when stomach acid backs up into your food pipe or oesophagus, might be caused. It may occur when doing a simple task like tying your shoes or while your body is under stress after an activity like downward dog.
According to Samantha Nazareth, a gastrointestinal specialist at PEPCID®, “The position of yoga poses, whether inverted or flat, might cause acid reflux, particularly if the stomach is already processing food.” The passage of food from the stomach to the next section of the intestine often takes up to four hours.
I contacted Dr. Nazareth and a few other professionals to provide their best advice for reducing acid reflux on the mat since I was determined not to let this problem interfere with my yoga practise.
1. Choose your poses wisely
If you’re going to practise yoga by yourself, pay attention to the positions you choose. According to Gina Newton, a NASM-certified yoga instructor and personal trainer, “some that are amazingly beneficial in lowering acid reflux include chair pose, dancer position, and mountain pose—all standing postures.” Triangle poses, Warrior I, and reclined bound angle are also beneficial.
Newton advises sticking to “slow, gentle yoga vs rigorous, hot yoga to bring more peace and quiet to your body” if you’d prefer attend yoga courses than come up with your own flow.
Just be aware that changes will probably need to be made. According to integrative health pharmacist Swathi Varanasi, inverted positions like downward-facing dog “may cause acid to migrate up the GI tract, from the stomach to the oesophagus, generating a painful burning sensation.” If your teacher instructs you to hold this position, experiment with other options until you find one that feels more comfortable, such as plank or child’s pose, or just take a break each time the class does downward dog.
Dr. Varanasi advises lifting your head in savasana or any other supine or reclining position to prevent the acid from rising. A yoga block or blanket placed below, for instance, might be helpful.
2. Be aware of what and when you eat
Acid reflux might be brought on by eating too soon after doing yoga. Dr. Varanasi advises eating or having a snack at least two hours ahead. Additionally, he advises staying away from trigger foods including alcohol, caffeine, citrus, tomatoes, and pineapple as well as spicy meals.
3. Take an antacid or acid reducer beforehand
Mild acid reflux may benefit from PEPCID Complete®. Dr. Nazareth describes the medication as a chewable pill that offers dual-action heartburn treatment that kicks in immediately and lasts for hours. “It combines an H2 blocker, famotidine, which helps manage acid all day or all night, with an antacid that begins to neutralise acid.” (He is aware that acid control does not equate to symptom reduction, however.) Rolaids, Alka Seltzer, Pepto Bismol, Tums, and Mylanta are more alternatives.
4. Adopt yogic breathing techniques
A 2013 study published in the International Yoga Magazine found that specific breathing techniques related to yoga, like Kapal Bhati (feeling your breath in your stomach), Agnisar Kriya (a stooped breathing exercise that aids in digestion), and Pranayama (controlled breathing), can help lessen acid reflux and other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to Dr. Nazareth, they may “raise diaphragmatic tone, which helps lessen the ability of acid to move from the stomach to the oesophagus.”
Yoga and mindful breathing may both assist with generalised stress and acid reflux. According to Newton, stress may make the stomach more acidic. Yoga can help relieve stress, which in turn lowers stomach acidity and strengthens the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Breathing improves the decrease of stress and anxiety and aids in LES strengthening.
Just bear in mind that breathing might sometimes become more difficult due to acid reflux. Therefore, if breathing exercises aren’t helping you today, concentrate on alternative tactics. The main line is that since everyone of us is unique, Dr. Varanasi advises trying various positions and techniques as well as practising on yourself to see what works best for you.
You nailed it. Try out this fluid flow first, making any necessary adjustments: