The 5 Best Yoga Poses for Acid Reflux, According to an Instructor

Certain yoga poses — like revolved triangle pose or seated spinal twist — can relieve symptoms of acid reflux.
Image Credit: Koldunov/iStock/GettyImages

When I entered my third trimester of pregnancy with my daughter, I developed acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Determined to take a natural approach to help remedy this issue, I turned to yoga, and thankfully, adapting certain yoga poses into my daily practice helped me tremendously.

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Acid reflux occurs when acid from your stomach flows back into your esophagus and manifests with symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, chronic dry cough, chest pain and a sore throat.

Twenty percent of Americans have been diagnosed with this digestive disease, according to the National Library of Medicine. And while there is currently no known cause to explain the development of GERD, there are certain lifestyles or risk factors that can trigger its onset, including obesity, pregnancy and asthma.

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If you're one of the many people dealing with the uncomfortable symptoms of acid reflux, practicing yoga can help with acid reflux symptoms. That's because yoga has been shown to decrease stress — and stress increases the amount of acid your stomach secretes, which can cause acid reflux, according to a July 2013 study in the ​International Journal of Yoga​.

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Ready to relieve your acid reflux symptoms? Here are five beneficial yoga poses to get you started.

Things You'll Need

  • A yoga mat

  • A yoga block or yoga bolster

Warning

If you're having frequent or severe heartburn or your symptoms are accompanied by other issues like chest pain or unintended weight loss, be sure to tell your doctor as soon as possible, per the Mayo Clinic. If you can't afford medical care, you can find low-cost options in your community through HealthCare.gov.

1. Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana) With Deep Breathing (Pranayama)

Breathing oxygenates your entire body, including your digestive tract, which allows any trapped toxins and energies to be released from within. Additionally, sitting up straight with your chest slightly out and shoulders drawn back helps improve your posture and prevents you from slouching.

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Doing this pose (especially after eating) helps prevent the compression of your chest and stomach, making it easier for you to properly digest your food.

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Activity Yoga
  1. Kneel on the floor.
  2. Sit back onto your feet.
  3. Place your hands on your thighs with your palms down.
  4. Straighten your back and shoulders and tighten your core.
  5. Close your eyes if you'd like and breathe in deeply and release your breath slowly.
  6. Stay here for 5 minutes.

2. Seated Spinal Twist (Bharadvajasana)

This gentle posture-correcting pose helps stimulate digestion by making it easier for food to move through your intestines.

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Kneel on the floor.
  2. Sit back onto your feet.
  3. Lean to the left and place both hands on the floor in front of your left knee until you're sitting on your left hip.
  4. Twist to the left by turning your ribcage, shoulders and head and look over your left shoulder.
  5. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
  6. Practice this pose on each side of your body 3 to 5 times each.

3. Side Stretch

Doing this side stretch helps create space in your rib cage and prevents the compression that causes acid reflux. Additionally, this stretch allows your body to breathe easier.

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Start in a comfortable seated position with your legs crossed.
  2. Place your right hand on the ground next to you and reach your left hand over your head and stretch to the right.
  3. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side.
  5. Practice this pose on each side of your body 3 to 5 times each.

4. Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana)

This is another great pose that can help correct your posture. When practiced regularly, this pose lifts your chest and extends your esophagus, while also increasing the blood supply to your abdominals, which helps tone them and promote overall health, reducing acid reflux.

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Stand up straight and tall in mountain pose (Tadasana), exhale and step your feet 3 to 4 feet apart.
  2. Raise your arms parallel to your mat and reach them out to the sides, with your shoulder blades wide and palms facing down.
  3. Turn your left foot out to 45 degrees, with your right facing toward the front of your mat.
  4. Align your left heel with the arch of your right foot, exhale and turn your torso to the right, squaring your hips with the front edge of your mat.
  5. Exhale and turn your torso farther to the right, leaning forward over your front leg.
  6. Reach your left hand down either to the floor, your shin, or a block if your have one, as you allow your left hip to drop more toward the mat.
  7. Turn your head to gaze at the right fingertips.
  8. Shift most of your weight to your front hand and back heel.
  9. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, practicing the pose on each side of your body 3 to 5 times each.

5. Supported Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supported Supta Baddha Konasana)

Rather than lie down on your back (which may trigger acid reflux), elevate your head on a block or bolster instead. This is a great restorative pose that stimulates your abdominal organs and helps provide ease while dealing with acid reflux.

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Place a yoga bolster or yoga block toward the top of your yoga mat.
  2. Lie on your back with one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your heart with your head elevated on the bolster or block.
  3. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together.
  4. Allow your knees to fall out to either side as far as they can go.
  5. Stay here for 5 minutes.

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