Yoga for Indigestion

Therapy

Article by Suman Kannan

November 8th, 2021

Yoga practitioners sitting in sukhasana.

Do you know the PH of your stomach acid is 1.5 to 3.5? It means your stomach acid is very powerful; it can digest even a bone. It plays an important role to digest food and majorly destroying bacteria, fungus or any other microbe, which might be present in food and water. Don’t worry it's safe inside the inner wall of the stomach. Supplying to the demand for energy and storing of energy is the primary function of the digestive system. Due to an inactive and unhealthy lifestyle, our digestion system is unstable and causes various digestive system related problems like gastric problems, stomach irritation, acidity, bloating, vomiting, pain in the stomach, heartburn, and diarrhoea.

Indigestion is widely known as upset stomach and dyspepsia. These symptoms occur often or occasionally. Digestive system problems are common but each person will experience them in a different way.

Yoga and Ayurveda home remedy for indigestion

According to Ayurveda, indigestion is caused due to Pitta Dosha. Yogic lifestyle methods recommend cleaning of the stomach wall periodically by practising Vamana dhauthi (stomach cleansing) and every day Kapalbhati (skull cleansing) a part of the six ancient cleansing practices to balance the Pitta Dosha and keep the digestive system healthy.

Yogic lifestyle also suggests customization of your meals according to your dosha by choosing the right food for your body which are Rajasic (stimulating foods – example spicy food), Tamasic (food makes you weak and lazy – example fermented drinks with alcohol) and Sattvic (pure essence of food – example vegetarian and easy to digest food). These foods should be consumed according to seasonal and bodily changes. For a healthy life, Yoga has provided us with simple and effective techniques and yoga exercises for indigestion.

Here are a few yogic techniques for indigestion:

Kapalbhati

It also means skull cleansing. Continuous exhalation with rigorous abdominal contraction to force the lung to throw out air, which decreases the pressure in the lungs and also removes residual air. This action of decrease in pressure lets the atmosphere fill fresh air deep in the alveoli’s 'airbags in the lung', which results in well-oxygenated blood in the body. It is essential in the process of digestion and the functions of organs in the digestive system.

Sukhasana

Steps:

  1. Sit in any comfortable seated pose with hands in chin mudra.
  2. Inhale deeply and exhale completely, now start exhaling by contracting your abdomen to force air from the lungs through your nostrils making sounds of forceful exhalations.
  3. Repeat for 60 repetitions within 30 seconds and 3 deep inhales and exhales.
  4. Repeat for 2 more times.

Contraindications: People with high blood pressure and vertigo should practise this slowly, preferably under the guidance of a yoga instructor.

Benefits:

  • Improves oxygenated blood in the body.
  • Generates heat in the body, which is good for digestion and metabolism.
  • Therapeutic for patients with lungs and abdominal organs disorder like indigestion, fatty liver, constipation etc.

Bhadrasana

It also means gracious pose. This pose can be applied to our day to day life during or after meals to improve the function of the digestive system. This pose improves blood circulation to the abdominal region and keeps the spine straight, facilitating space in the stomach for better digestion.

Bhadrasana

Steps:

  1. Sit in extended leg position, fold the right leg from the outer side.
  2. Place the right leg below the right hip and the same on the other leg sitting on your heels.
  3. Keep the knees wider at shoulder width.
  4. Keep your spine upright with gentle core contraction and sit tall with a fixed gaze at a point for as long as you can sit in the posture.

Contraindications: People suffering from sciatica should avoid this pose.

Benefits:

  • Improves performance of the digestive system.
  • Enhances mental power and abilities of the mind.
  • It’s a restorative pose that helps in reducing fatigue.

Udhyan Bandh

It can help in regulating hormones and the production of body enzymes like stomach acid can also be regulated with this practice.

Udhyan bandh

Steps:

  1. Sit in Bhadrasana, hold both knees with both hands.
  2. Exhale deeply and hunch your spine, lock the chin with collar bone and contract the abdominal muscles.
  3. Hold the breath until you feel the need to inhale and deeply inhale and exhale 3 times.
  4. Repeat for 10 cycles.

Contraindications: Pregnant women and people with high blood pressure should avoid doing this pose.

Benefits:

  • Stimulates and strengthens the respiratory, digestive system and reproductive glands.
  • Resolves problems like gas trouble, acidity and indigestion.
  • Calms the mind and nervous system.

Mandukasana

Also known as the frog pose, uses Adi mudra while performing the asana. It compresses the internal organs and stomach in the abdominal region. It works as a massage to remove deposits from the inner layer of the stomach, which results in improved digestion and organ function in the abdomen.

Mandukasana

Steps:

  1. From bhadrasana close the knee and sit in vajrasana.
  2. Place the thumb inside and make a fist.
  3. Place the knuckles of the thumb by the side of the navel.
  4. Exhale deeply and compress the abdomen with the fist and hinge forward, forehead touching the floor.
  5. Hold for as long as you can, until you feel the need to inhale, follow it by 3 deep inhales and exhales.
  6. Repeat for 2 more cycles.

Contraindications: Pregnant women and people with knee injuries should avoid this pose.

Benefits:

  • Therapeutic for diseases like constipation, diabetes and digestive system disorders.
  • Increases flexibility, strengthens muscles around the knee and range of motion of the ankle.
  • Increases lung capacity.

Dhanurasana

Also known as the bow pose, it is an amazing practice to direct blood circulation towards the stomach and abdominal muscles, respiratory muscles and improve digestion. It is very therapeutic if followed with a forward bend posture like paschimottanasana i.e. seated forward bend.

Dhanurasana

Steps:

  1. Lie down on the mat in a prone position, place the chin on the floor.
  2. Reach for the leg with the hands with the elbow straight from the side and hold the ankle.
  3. Inhale, arch the spine by raising the chest and leg simultaneously and look up.
  4. Hold the posture for 12 seconds with a deep inhale and exhale.
  5. Repeat for 2 more times.

Contraindications: People with any back or neck injury or hernia should avoid this pose.

Benefits:

  • Improves appetite and digestion.
  • Therapeutic for patients with diabetes.
  • Increases lung capacity.

These are some of our picks that help relieve indigestion and help improve the functioning of the digestive system.