There is currently no known treatment for hiatal hernia, but one can better manage this condition by making certain lifestyle changes. This includes following a diet that eliminates trigger food and exercising to avoid becoming overweight and avoiding indigestion. However, it is best to stick to less intensive work outs, and that is why, yoga is a highly recommended physical activity for those who have hiatal hernia. Aside from being a good form of exercise, it also helps relieve stress, which can cause acid reflux that leads to irritation and inflammation.
Choose the Right Asana
You must remember that although yoga is generally beneficial to mental and physical well-being, there are certain poses that you should avoid when you have hiatal hernia as they may have a counterproductive effect. For example, asanas that require you to bend are not ideal as they allow stomach acid to travel to places where it doesn’t belong. These include the cobra, boat and wheel pose, and others that require the body to take a ‘V’ shape or become inverted.
1. Uddiyan in Sabasana
Why it helps: It strengthens the diaphragm and abdominal muscles.
Steps: Lie down on your back and keep your knees bent, with your heels touching your buttocks. Place one palm over your navel and place the other hand over it. Breathe in deeply by pushing your abdomen out and slightly pressing with your palm, then breathe out by pulling the abdominal muscles in. Do 6-10 repetitions. Take a rest in savasana.
2. Utthan Padasana
Why it helps: It exercises internal and external abdominal muscles, helping with indigestion, constipation, and gas trouble. And it even helps to burn fat faster.
Steps: Lie down on your back with your legs outstretched and your palms down and near your body. Bring toes together and keep them loose. Make sure your body is straight and look towards the ceiling. Inhale deeply and slowly through your nostrils. Stretch out your toes as far as you can. While holding your breath, lift both your legs about 10-12 inches from the floor. Keep your eyes on your big toes. Hold for 5 seconds. Slowly bring down your legs and breath out at the same time, completing your exhale by the time both legs are back on the ground. Relax in savasana for a while before repeating. Start with about 5 reps.
Why it helps: It creates tension and pressure in abdominal muscles and internal organs, increasing blood circulation, improving digestion, and releasing gases in the large intestine.
Steps: Lie on your back while keeping the spine as straight as possible, arms at the side, and feet together. Inhale, then as you exhale, bring your right knee towards your chest and press the thigh on your abdomen with clasped hands. Inhale, then breathe out while you lift your head and chest off the floor to touch your chin to your right knee, loosening the grip of your clasped hands a bit. Hold that position for about five seconds, breathing in and out normally. After that, exhale while going back to starting position. Repeat with the left leg, then both legs. Do 3-5 reps, then allow your body to relax.
As with any health condition, you must first inquire with your specialist if it is okay for you to do yoga or any other type of exercise.
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