Nausea can strike anyone at any time. You might have eaten too much, or you're suffering from the stomach flu. It could be that you recently found out that you're pregnant and are experiencing morning sickness. Whatever the cause of your nausea, it's tempting to stay in bed in the fetal position and hope the feeling passes.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
That might not be the best solution, however. Consider getting out of bed, unrolling your mat and trying out a few yoga poses to calm your stomach. A study published in 2007 in European Journal of Cancer Care found that yoga calmed the symptoms of chemotherapy-induced nausea in cancer patients, so it stands to reason that certain poses could also help with nausea caused by other reasons 3.
Keep in mind that when practicing, avoid any yoga poses that involve bending backward, as that might make your nausea worse.
Deep Breathing in Savasana
Deep breathing is a focus in yoga, and it can help calm feelings of nausea. Filling up completely with oxygen means the muscles can release and the diaphragm muscles are able to relax, dispelling the queasy feelings.
To focus on your breathing, it's best to be in a pose that doesn't require concentration to maintain, such as Corpse pose, or Savasana. Lie flat on your back on your yoga mat with your legs extended. Place your arms in a neutral position by your sides.
To breath deeply, inhale air until your chest is full and you can't breath in any more. Hold the breath for three seconds, and then exhale through your mouth. Pull the navel in while you're pushing the air out, until your lungs are completely empty. Repeat this deep breath several times until you're feeling a little better.
- Deep breathing is a focus in yoga, and it can help calm feelings of nausea.
- To focus on your breathing, it's best to be in a pose that doesn't require concentration to maintain, such as Corpse pose, or Savasana.
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Also known as Legs Up the Wall pose, Viparita Karani is known to quell pain from digestive problems or menstrual cramps. To do it, you'll need a thick blanket or pillow for support.
Lie on the floor so you're perpendicular to a wall. Lift your legs up and scoot your bottom as close to the wall as possible, so your legs form a 90-degree angle with your body at the hips. Place a blanket or pillow under your hips for support, and then breath and relax. Stay in the pose for anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.
To release from the pose, bend your knees and push your pelvis off the floor to remove the support. Lower your back to the floor and turn to the side, take a breath, and then sit up.
- Also known as Legs Up the Wall pose, Viparita Karani is known to quell pain from digestive problems or menstrual cramps.
- To do it, you'll need a thick blanket or pillow for support.
Supta Virasana, also known as Reclining Hero pose, helps relieve nausea by lifting your diaphragm off your liver and stomach. However, it's an intermediate yoga pose, and shouldn't be attempted unless you can sit your buttocks on the floor between your knees in Hero pose already.
Place a bolster on the floor, and then immediately in front of it, get into Virasana, or Hero pose, with your knees bent below you and your butt on the floor between them. On the exhale, lower your back toward the floor, first leaning on your hands, and then supporting yourself on your elbows. Once you're on your elbows, release your lower back and recline onto a support bolster or blanket. Lift your arms up and over your head, extending them behind you. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
To get out of the pose, press your forearms into the ground and lift your torso up, moving the support to your hands.
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- Supta Virasana, also known as Reclining Hero pose, helps relieve nausea by lifting your diaphragm off your liver and stomach.
- On the exhale, lower your back toward the floor, first leaning on your hands, and then supporting yourself on your elbows.
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Kelsey Casselbury is a freelance writer and editor based in central Maryland. Her clients have included Livestrong, School Nutrition magazine, What's Up? Media, American Academy of Clinical Chemistry, SmartBrief and more. She has a formal education in personal training/nutrition and a bachelor's degree in journalism from The Pennsylvania State University.