Acidity is one of the most common ailments people are suffering these days. It is not only a nagging health issue in itself but also triggers many other problems. Perennial acidity has been found to be one of the causes behind heart attacks. Taking solace in modern medicine certainly brings instant relief but the cost-effective healthy lifestyle through yoga could be wonderful. Given that acidity is caused by a range of factors and could be the result of a psychosomatic disorder, yoga experts advise postures, pranayamas as well as meditation depending on the varying root cause of this common yet perilous problem in the long run. They also caution against one-size fits all solution and recommend a customised health plan instead.
Yoga instructor at Art of Living Foundation Anand Karn suggests a complete guide for prevention and treatment of acidity through asanas, pranayams, meditation or combinations of the three.
"Our body has three types of doshas - kapha, pitta and vayu. When pitta goes up, there is a tendency of acid reflux in the body. In yoga, customised approach is used as far as recommending specific asanas, pranayamas or meditation for acidity is concerned because the problem may happen for a variety of reasons from stress, lifestyle issues, to gastrointestinal problems," says Anand Karn.
Acidity can happen due to the following reasons:
Stress: People do not understand that stress can cause acidity. When we are thinking stressful thoughts all day, they have a psychosomatic effect on our body. To take care of this, people can practice meditation and yog nidra for treating acidity.
Faulty Lifestyle: Our body has a biological clock and if we do not follow the routine, it is bound to have side-effects. When we sleep late at night say 11 and 12, we may face this problem. If we are not following a proper routine during the day, no yoga asanas will be effective. A proper dincharya must be followed and lifestyle modifications have to incorporated.
Gastrointestinal issues: Certain kinds of food can result acid reflux in the body. A set of yoga asanas can help correct the issue of acidity.
Yoga For Acidity Due To Stress
- By practicing meditation, we connect our body and mind and the underlying causes like stress are rectified.
- The body has to be relaxed completely before sitting in meditation
- While focus should be on breathing, it shouldn't be forced and the inhalation and exhalation should be done in a natural way
- While sitting for the meditation, the intent must be clear regarding what issues need to be resolved
While sleeping at a proper time ensures your body gets full rest, there are times when certain people from certain professions like businessman, actors etc are not able to sleep on time. When they are not able to take sleep at a proper time, stress may accumulate due to which the problem of acidity may occur. Yog Nidra is a good option in such cases. If done properly, half-n-hour of yog nidra is equivalent to 6 hours of sleep
- Lie down on your mat with your arms stretched out
- Set your intention before you start
- Close your eyes
- Take a couple of deep breaths till you are relaxed completely
- Focus on each and every body part from toe to head and release tension
- Keep inhaling and exhaling comfortably till you feel fully rested
Yoga For Acidity Due To Faulty Lifestyle
If you are not eating, taking bath and sleeping at proper times, chances are that you will face several health issues including acidity.
Patanjali has classified yoga in eight parts - Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana And Samadhi. While Yama are ethical rules, Niyama are the set of rules or habits one must include in their dincharya. Only after you follow the above two, you can move on to Asanas, while Pranayama and Meditation follow.
- One must wake up and sleep at the same time
- One should eat satvik food at the right time
- There is also a proper time for taking a bath and relieving yourself.
- Only after the lifestyle, has been corrected the asanas will be beneficial.
Yoga For Acidity Due To Gastrointestinal Issues
Acidity can happen due to wrong combination of food, or the food eaten at the wrong time, or certain food habits like drinking tea first thing in the morning. These can be corrected by a set of yoga asanas and pranayamas.
YOGA ASANAS FOR ACIDITY
1. Pada-Hastasana (The Hands To Feet Posture)
Pada-Hastasana which involves touching feet with hands by bending is quite useful in improving digestion and making spine flexible.
- Stand straight with feet 2 inches apart.
- Inhale slowly and raise the arms up.
- Stretch up the body from the waist.
- Exhale and bend forward until both palms rest on the ground.
- Stretch the back, to make it straight as much as possible.
- Maintain this final posture for 10-30 seconds with normal breathing.
- Now inhale, come up slowly to the upright position and stretch the arms straight above the head.
- Exhale, slowly return to the starting position
2. Trikonasana (The Triangle Pose)
Trikonasana helps in gastritis, indigestion, acidity and flatulence. It also makes the spine flexible, strengthens calf, thigh and waist muscles and improves lungs capacity.
- Stand erect and keep your feet apart at the distance of 3 feet.
- Raise both your arms sideways to shoulder level inhaling slowing
- Turn the right foot towards right side.
- Exhale and slowly bend to the right side and place the right hand fingers just behind the right foot.The left arm straight in line to the right arm.
- Turn the left palm forward.
- Turn your head and gaze at the tip of the left middle finger.
- Remain in the posture for 10-30 seconds with normal breathing.
- Inhale, slowly come up.
- Repeat the same procedure from the left side.
3. Ushtrasana (The Camel Pose)
- Sit in Vajrasana
- Bring the knees and the feet few inches apart and stand on your knees.
- Exhale and clasp your hands together over your toes.
- Inhale, pull your heels asclose as possible up to perineum region. If your thighs are not touching or are not close to the floor, place a soft cushion underneath the knees for support.
- This is the final position.
- Stay in this position for sometime with normal breathing.
4. Bhujangasana (The Cobra Posture)
The asana helps relieve constipation and stress.
- Lie down on your stomach, rest your head on your hands and relax the body.
- Now join your legs and stretch your arms.
- Keep the forehead on the ground.
- Now place your hands just beside the body, keep palms and elbow on the ground.
- As you inhale slowly, lift the head and chest up to navel region without changing in the position of hands.
- Stay there comfortably.
- This is called Sarala Bhujangasana.
- Now come back and place your forehead on the ground.
- Keep your palms besides the chest and raise your elbows where they are.
- Inhale, slowly lift the head and chest up to navel region.
- Keep the elbows parallel and maintain the posture for 10-30 seconds with normal breathing.
- This is Bhujangasana.
- Exhale, rest your forehead on the ground, come back to Makarasana and relax.
Pranayama For Acidity
Kapalbhati rejuvenates the whole body, strengthens the nervous system and tones up the digestive organs.
- Sit in any comfortable posture.
- Close your eyes and relax the whole body.
- Inhale deeply through both nostrils, expand the chest.
- Expel the breath with forceful contractions of the pelvic an dabdominal muscles and inhale passively.
- Do not strain.
- Continue active/forceful exhalation and passive inhalation.
- Complete 30 rapid breaths, then take a deep breath, exhale slowly and relax completely.
- This is one round of Kapalabhati.
- Each round shall be followed by being still for a while.
- Repeat 2 more rounds.
The main characteristic feature of this pranayama is alternate breathing through the left and right nostrils without or with retention of breath (kumbhaka).
- Sit in any comfortable posture.
- Keep the spine and head straight with eyes closed.
- Relax the body with few deep breaths.
- Keep the left palm on the left knee in Jnana mudra and the right palm should be in Nasagra mudra.
- Place the ring and small fingers on the left nostril and fold the middle and index finger.
- Place the right thumb on the right nostril.
- Open the left nostril, breathe in from the left nostril, close the left nostril with the small and ring fingers and release the thumb from the right nostril; exhale through the right nostril.
- Next, inhale through the right nostril. At the end of inhalation, close the right nostril, open the left nostril and exhale through it.
- This completes one round of the Nadisodhana or Anuloma Viloma Pranayama
- Repeat for another 4 rounds.
3. Bhramari Pranayama
The practice of Bhramari relives stress and helps in alleviating anxiety, anger and hyperactivity. The resonance effect of humming sound creates a soothing effect on the nervous system and mind.
- Sit in any comfortable posture with eyes closed.
- Inhale deeply through the nose.
- Close the eyes with index fingers, place the middle finger side of nose, don't close it, mouth with ring and small fingers, ears from respective thumbs.
- Exhale slowly in a controlled manner while making a deep, steady humming sound such as that of black bee. This is one round of Bhramari.
- Repeat it for 4 more rounds.