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Yoga for Acid Reflux

Yoga for Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, also known as acidity, is a common condition faced by many people worldwide. Some face this regularly, while others have occasional occurrences. Acid reflux is also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and if it is recurring frequently (more than twice a week) or begins to affect everyday life, then it is a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Over time, GERD damages the esophagus and causes other serious health conditions. While yoga cannot directly treat acid reflux, it can reduce the effects of it and lower stress levels, a major contributing factor. 

What is acid reflux? 

Acid reflux refers to the backward flow of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. This gives heartburn and an unpleasant taste in the back of the throat. It often makes it harder to swallow and burns when eating or drinking too. 

What are the symptoms of acid reflux?

Acid reflux causes a burning in the esophagus due to the acid being washed back up from the stomach through the esophageal sphincter. This sensation is worse when lying down too quickly after a meal, when bending over or when swallowing. Acid reflux also causes heartburn, chest pain, dry cough, a sore throat and a lumpy feeling in the throat. Acid reflux is more common in those who are obese, pregnant women, diabetics and asthma patients. 

How to treat acid reflux? 

Acid reflux causes discomfort in day-to-day life. If left untreated, it can lead to GERD and more damages too. There are several treatments available, starting from medications to physical examinations and procedures performed by a doctor. Tracking your diet to see which foods are causing more acidity is very helpful. Exercise and reducing stress is also useful in treating acid reflux. Yoga is a helpful practice to reduce the effects of acid reflux. 

Yoga for acid reflux

Stress is a significant contributor to acid reflux. In fact, a study on GERD, found that stress is a lifestyle factor that greatly impacts acid reflux. Stress leads to an increase in how much acid the stomach secretes. More acid means one is more likely to experience reflux symptoms. Yoga is a practice that lowers stress levels significantly, activates the parasympathetic nervous system and balances the hormonal system. In fact, a study found that practicing yoga in conjunction with medications can be helpful in controlling and/or alleviating symptoms related to digestive diseases. Yoga as a complementary technique to manage acid reflux is thus effective and impactful. Many yoga poses and practices for digestion are also useful for acid reflux. 

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Yoga poses for acid reflux

Reclined Cobbler’s Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

This is a relaxing yoga posture that soothes the body while releasing tension from the lower back, abdomen and hips. It is effective in releasing stress and calming the mind and body, while also activating the parasympathetic nervous system. 

Reclined Cobbler’s Pose

Warrior 1 (Veera Bhadrasana)

A strengthening posture, Warrior 1 is effective in managing acid reflux as it strengthens the core and abdominal muscles. It is a grounding posture that reduces gas and acid build up. 

Warrior 1

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

Similar to Virabhadrasana 1, Trikonasana is also effective in reducing acid reflux as it strengthens the muscles, stimulates the digestive fire and is a grounding in nature. 

Triangle Pose

Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana)

The only yoga pose you can do soon after a meal is Vajrasana. Vajrasana encourages blood circulation in the abdomen (to the stomach and intestines), aiding digestion. It also stimulates the digestive fire, making digestion stronger and better. 

Thunderbolt Pose

Legs-up-on-the-wall pose (Viparita Karani)

A restorative yoga asana, Viparita Karani relaxes the entire system. It has a soothing and calming effect on the mind and body, and it relieves stress and strain from the system, having a positive impact on acid reflux. 

Legs-up-on-the-wall pose

Breathing exercises and cleansing techniques to manage acid reflux 

Practicing Pranayama techniques helps relieve stress greatly. Many Pranayama practices like Nadi Shodhana, Ujjayi and Bhramari are effective techniques for stress relief. Nadi Shodhana also boosts energy and cleanses the system. Practices like Kapal Bhati and Bhastrika aid digestion, stimulate the digestive fire, reduce acidity and are helpful for other conditions related to the stomach. Cleansing techniques like Agni Sar (stimulating the digestive fire) and others such as Nauli (isolation of the belly), Dhauti (purifying the stomach) and Shankhaprakshalana (cleansing the intestines) are a part of the Shat Kriyas that aid in reducing acidity and acid reflux symptoms

Lifestyle and dietary changes for acid reflux 

Making a few changes to your daily routine and incorporating enough time to rest and relax will aid in managing acid reflux. Meditation and Yoga Nidra will reduce the impact of stress and anxiety, promoting relaxation. 

Keeping a food diary will help you track which foods are not suiting your system. Certain foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, garlic and onions might increase acid reflux. Too much caffeine, especially coffee and tea, can also aggravate it. Alcohol and fizzy or aerated drinks can also increase acid reflux. Avoid too many sweets, excess oil and spicy food. Include more fruits and raw vegetables. Consuming more liquids such as water, buttermilk and coconut water are also helpful. 

Regular exercise, eating smaller meals, avoiding eating just before bedtime or lying down after a meal are a few ways to reduce acid build-up. In case of excess weight, reducing pressure on the abdomen can also help prevent reflux. 


Practice yoga regularly to reduce the effects of stress and subsequently, acid reflux. With regular practice, symptoms will reduce and the digestive system will get stronger. Practice with a certified yoga teacher who can guide you through specific practices to manage and treat acid reflux. 

How do I relieve acid reflux?
Yoga can be beneficial in relieving acid reflux symptoms through various practices and postures. Breathing exercises and gentle yoga poses can aid digestion and reduce abdominal pressure. Mindful eating and staying hydrated also supports healthy digestion.
What is the main cause of acid reflux?
The main cause of acid reflux is the malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which can weaken or relax inappropriately. This allows stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, leading to irritation and symptoms like heartburn. Factors like stress, poor diet, and lifestyle habits can also influence LES function and contribute to acid reflux. Yoga practices that promote relaxation, mindful eating, and gentle poses can help manage acid reflux symptoms, but medical advice should be sought for chronic or severe cases.
How can I reduce acid reflux at home?
To reduce acid reflux at home incorporate practices like deep breathing exercises (such as diaphragmatic breathing), gentle yoga poses that aid digestion, and mindful eating habits to avoid triggers. Managing stress through yoga and meditation is crucial since stress can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms. Stay hydrated, avoid heavy meals before yoga, and consider elevating the head of your bed to prevent nighttime reflux. Remember that while yoga can help, it is essential to seek medical advice for chronic or severe acid reflux to address the root causes effectively.
Yoga for Acid Reflux
Arunima Singhdeo

Arunima is the Founder & CEO of Shvasa. She was the cofounder and COO of which raised approx $20mn in funding from Accel Partners and Tiger Global, which was later acquired by The Mahindra Group. She was also a Vice President at Infoedge India - a successfully listed Internet company. Arunima is a Master Yoga & Meditation teacher with over 2000 hrs of practice and 1000 hrs of teaching Yoga. Her two passions are yoga and the internet.

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