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Acid Reflux and Yoga

Scrapbird2010-07-04 17:01:18 +0000 #1
I am a complete novice, so please forgive any ignorance in this post. I have attended only two Yoga classes.

I have severe acid reflux. I refuse to undergo surgery, and I am trying to get myself off the drugs. I'm changing my diet and successfully losing weight. I've already stopped Prevacid, and am working on getting rid of Ranitadine.

Yoga gives me heartburn. Serious heartburn. Physiologically, this makes sense to me, because putting my head in a position lower than my stomach (Downward Dog, and even Child's Pose) would seem to encourage leaking of acid. Natural treatment and prevention of heartburn all suggest sleeping on an incline, with the head higher than the stomach.

And yet, all over the net, I am finding that Yoga is recommended for relief of acid reflux. How can this be? What am I missing?

This is a serious plea for some help with my confusion and frustration. Thank you so very much.
Pandara2010-07-04 17:15:22 +0000 #2

Your condition is not easy to treat and generally people think that normal heartburn or being acidic is the same as acid reflux and it is not. First of all, I am not a doctor and my advice is purely from a yogic perspective and I want to recommend that you carefully implement it or first discuss it with your health practitioner.

By changing your diet you are well on your way to control acid reflux. What you need to do is to look at the food you eat, change all the tamasic type of food to sattvic food, in other words avoid sharp food like onions and chillies, meat, alcohol, caffiene and even smoking. Include ample fresh fruit and veg in your diet and drink plenty of water. Juice tend to make it worse. My father also suffered from this and his doctor gave him the following advice years ago and it worked like a dream for him. Before you start your day, eat half a papino or paw-paw or pineapple in the morning. Both fruits aid disgestion and reduce acid in the body. Eventually you will most probably have to consider surgery, but that is a lst resort if you just can't live with it anymore.

About your yoga asanas, avoid the forward bends where you place too much pressure on the stomach, just do a little and if you feel you had enough come out of the asana. It sounds ridiculus to do the inverted poses, but something like the shoulder stand will strenghten your stomach and back muscles, which in the long run will help to control the reflux. Many people will most probably differ here from me, but try the back benders and the mountain pose, they tend to tone the stomach muscles as well. I have a whole stomach series, but I shall sent them to you in a personal email which you can also try and see if they help.

Good Luck as this is not an easy defect to suffer from.
justwannabe2010-07-04 17:40:03 +0000 #3
when you have a thorn in your skin that you have not taken care of and just let it go. The skin grows over it. So a time comes to dig it out and guess what, it hurts more then just leaving the thorn in but in the end will bring releif.

try this

when you have acid problems, eat romain lettuce with nothing else, this may nuetralize it some or completely

yogaforbliss2010-07-04 18:02:43 +0000 #4
Hello Scrapbird,

I have been through this acid reflux problem some 10 years ago. Now I do not have it at all. Ultimately it was 'guided imagery' techniques that cured my GERD condition.

First here are my 'non-yogic' suggestions

1) Ask your doctor to test for Helicobacter Pylori bacteria to rule it out. The 2005 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to the scientists who discovered H.Pylori (see this link Press Release: The 2005 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: )

2) If no H. Pylori is found then try the natural ginger treatment recommended by Dr. Stoll at Ask Dr Stoll - Upper Gastrointestinal Symptom Relief:

3) Guided imagery is similar to the Yoga Nidra process except that it mainly focuses on bodily healing and does not delve into subtle body aspects. You can read about guided imagery by 'googling' it. I also have a write-up on my old web site at if you care to read it here ( Guided Imagery: )

Good luck
InnerAthlete2010-07-04 18:23:40 +0000 #5
Conceptually speaking, acid reflux is more of a symptom of something than a thing itself.

Therefore the cause of the "leaking" must be determined before an appropriate course of remedy can be followed. Otherwise it's guesswork followed by happenstance. It may work or it may frustrate the bejeezus out of you.

If your issue lies in the ileocecal valve then, I am told, it is possible for a good osteopath (or chiro) to manually adjust it with some positive result. That does not mean one eats carelessly or that one does whatever thye want. It would still need to be cared for appropriately.

If the issue is rooted elsewhere then another approach would be mandated. There are specific ways in which a comprehensive yoga approach (not merely asana) can soothe. mitigate, and heal this sort of issue but it must be done mindfully and with proper teaching.



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