All of us may have at one time or other felt that burning sensation in our stomach and chest after overeating, improper eating, or even eating too fast or carelessly. Acid reflux, or acidity as it is commonly known, refers to this burning sensation and other symptoms that occur when the stomach produces too much gastric acid in order to aid the digestion process. This burning may extend to the food pipe, and you may also experience heaviness, dizziness, bloating, and general discomfort.
Occasional acidity may be okay and even unavoidable sometimes, but frequent bouts of acidity may be reflective of a disease, or poor lifestyle and eating patterns. Prolonged and frequent acidity can also damage our digestive system. Thus, it becomes important to remedy this problem if you notice a pattern emerging.
We suggest taking help from doctors for acute issues and for chronic issues, combining yoga with medication can bring much faster results. Treatment or set of practices and contra-indications would depend a lot on underlying root cause. We also would like to recommend use of right eating habits, use of herbs or natural products etc, to help relieve the discomfort and treat the disease. These changes in habits can take time, and may not provide you with immediate relief. However, supplementing these changes with Yogic asanas and breathing practices can help you tackle acidity more quickly and effectively.
Here are some such asanas –
Note: In case you have acid reflux while doing the postures, avoid the ones where there is inversion happening as the acid would flow up towards your upper body
Vajrasana (Diamond Pose) – Simple yet effective, this asana is perfect for those who have just begun practising yoga. This asana can be practised anywhere and helps acidity by reducing the circulation to the lower part of the body and improving blood blow to the digestive system, thus ensuring that even heavy or hearty meals are digested without any acidic symptoms. This asana is best practised after a meal for healthy digestion.
Pawanmukta asana (Wind Removing Pose) – Considered to be one of the best asanas for the digestive system, this posture stimulates the abdominal organs to remove blocks to the digestive system, while also loosening the pelvic muscles and strengthening the back. Pawanmukta asana works the entire body to ensure better digestion, and regular practice can tackle both acidity and constipation. Doing this asana first thing in the morning is recommended for best results.
Halasana (Plough Pose) – This inversion asana not only challenges the pelvic girdle strength and bring relief to the mind and shoulders, but it also stimulates the thyroid and the abdominal organs. While it may be a challenging pose and one that definitely requires time and practice, the all-round benefits of the halasana make it worth learning. As a challenging pose, it is best accompanied by a series with preparatory and finishing yoga asanas.
Marjari Asana (Cat Pose) – A gentle but effective stretch of the abdominal, back and hip muscles, the cat pose gets the blood flowing throughout the body, loosens the muscles, and essentially gets you ready for the day. Best practised early morning before your day starts, this asana can ensure healthy digestion all day long.
Bhujang Asana (Cobra Pose) – A beginners pose with great benefits, this asana can be practised by anyone who does not have any wrist problems. It stimulates all the organs of the digestive system, including the stomach, kidneys and the gallbladder. Blood circulation increases too, and the stretch it gives is an added benefit.
Adho Mukha Savasana (Downward Dog) – Yet another easy pose with great benefits, this asana helps in both effective digestion and weight loss. Constipation, gastric issues, and belly fats are some of the major problems it targets, and it is also an easy way to build strength and flexibility.
Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) – A challenge for intermediaries for yoga, this asana promises great benefits including improving the digestive system and liver function, along with improving conditions of both the mind and body. However, this asana should only be practised in the presence of supervision, as improper steps may cause injuries.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist Pose) – The ultimate workout for back problems, this asana also regulates digestion and importantly, the secretion of digestive juices, thus directly tackling the root cause of acidity. You may not achieve the perfect pose in one go, but regular practice would bring both perfection and benefits.
Anulom Vilom – Even breathing exercises (pranayamas) are beneficial for the digestive system, and anulom vilom is one such exercise. Involving simple alternative breathing patterns, this exercise should be practised in the morning on an empty stomach. Providing all-round benefits, it improves blood circulation, calms the mind and body, and enhances the functioning of the digestive system.
Sheetali/Shitkari – These are cooling pranayams and would help you to fight excess heat and pitta dosha in your body and hence would reduce stress, anxiety, anger, BP and also works on reducing acidity. It can be a very good practice for problems in summer time but should be avoided when you have chest congestion, cold or have depression disorder.
Additional – Usage of Kapalbhati, Bhastrika and Agnisaar Kriya to practice to treat  but you have to be careful as while doing these practices as in some cases we have observed that it increases acid levels in the body and can cause discomfort.
Bhaskrita Pranayama – Another breathing exercise, this pranayama also involves an altered pattern of breathing that calms the mind and the body, and actively engages the muscles of both the lungs and the abdomen.
Kapalbhati Kriya – Kapalbhati is forceful expulsion (Rechaka) of air with rapid strokes numbering to 20/30/60/120 or more depending on your condition. Kapalbhati clears all the kapha dosha and works on 6 chakras and energizes the body. It has shown positive to assist people undergoing treatment of GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)/Acid Reflux
Agnisaar Kriya – Agnisar kriya helps in regulating digestive power and ensure proper functioning of all of the abdominal organs and maintains optimum health of the organs. It stimulates all five pranas, especially samana, and raises energy level; thus can be helpful in alleviating depression, dullness and lethargy. It is done by creating a ‘vacuum’ and strongly pulling the abdomen inside and moving the stomach in and out forcefully without breathing and then finally releasing the stomach. This movement, massages the internal organs and increase blood flow to the area and removes blockages.
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It is important to remember that these exercises will not bring immediate benefits – while you may feel some relief, long-term freedom from acidity issues come only when you practice these asanas correctly and regularly.