Yoga is a practice that is supposed to make you feel good. Many yogis practice yoga regularly because it makes them feel strong, relaxed, and more confident. But what happens when you feel nauseated when practicing yoga?
What is Nausea?
Nausea is the queasy feeling in your stomach that makes you want to throw up. Sometimes, you vomit, sometimes you don’t. Usually, it is accompanied by dizziness.
In yoga, dizziness and nausea are pretty standard. However, the reason is not because of yoga itself.
What Are the Causes of Nausea?
Many conditions can cause nausea. These include stress, dehydration, anxiety, infection, food poisoning, pregnancy, migraine, motion sickness, and so much more.
What Can Nausea During Yoga?
Feeling nauseous and dizzy during and after yoga can be caused by many things. But, here are the most common I’ve seen as a yoga teacher:
Moving from a standing posture to a seat to a prone position can cause motion sickness. In fast-paced styles of yoga such as Vinyasa, this is very common. When you feel motion sickness as you move from one posture to another, it may lead to nausea.
To fix this: Stay still in one pose, like a child’s pose or easy pose for a few minutes or until you feel better.
You are Full
It is recommended not to practice any kind of physical activity with a full stomach. For example, if you ate a meal less than two hours before practicing yoga, you will likely feel nauseous, primarily if you practice intense yoga asanas.
To fix this: Avoid practicing yoga within two hours since your last meal or until you have digested all the food you ate.
You Are Practicing Hot Yoga
In hot yoga classes, the rooms are heated from 80-degrees Fahrenheit to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are not used to practicing this style of yoga, your body can overheat, and you can get heatstroke. One of the symptoms of heatstroke is nausea and vomiting.
To fix this: Step out of the class for a while to get some cool air. Drink lots of water to cool down the body. You can go back once your body temperature has gone back to normal.
You Are Dehydrated
As you sweat in your yoga class, you lose water in the body. If you are not hydrated enough during the class, you will start having a dry mouth, muscle cramps and weakness, and lightheadedness. These are symptoms of dehydration, which can all lead to nausea and vomiting.
To fix this: Make sure to keep yourself hydrated. Drink water once you feel thirsty, even when you are in the middle of a yoga class.
You Are Stressed and Anxious
Stress affects any body system, from circulatory to nervous system to reproductive to digestive. When it concerns your digestive system, it can lead to stomach aches, nausea, and vomiting. The physical practice of yoga can cause stress to your body, especially if you are not used to it, and you are not mindful of your breath. It can lead to vomiting and nausea.
To fix this: Take a pause in any kind of seated posture and breathe deeply.
You Are Hungry
When you get hunger pangs, you can get a stomach ache. That is because the acid can also build up inside your stomach and can hit your lower oesophageal sphincter. When this happens, it triggers nausea and usually leads to vomiting.
To fix this: Eat something light before a class, such as a protein bar or have a protein drink throughout the class.
Your Yoga Class Is So Intense
Sometimes, a yoga class can be so intense that you can’t catch your breath, whether you are a beginner or an advanced-level yogi. It is common in power yoga and flow-based classes. When the class is so intense, it can trigger nausea and vomiting in many people.
To fix this: Give yourself some slack. You don’t have to go all the way out if you’re feeling out of breath. Yoga is all about being mindful of the breath. So if you have to take a child’s pose to catch your breath, do it. Or excuse yourself to vomit. There is no shame in that.
Yoga Poses That Will Help With Nausea
Yoga may cause nausea, but it can also help relieve it. Here are some poses you can do once you feel nauseous and lightheaded before, during, and after the class.
Supine Hero Pose (Virasana)
Virasana or Hero Pose is a seated meditation posture that gives relief to tired legs. It can also help in relieving nausea when in a supine position. To do this posture:
- Kneel on the mat with the knees together and the feet hip-width apart. If this is too much for your knees, you can fold the mat or use towels to offer more cushions for the knees.
- Slowly sit back in between your feet. If your buttocks can’t reach the ground or feel strained in your knees when the buttocks are on the floor, put a block between your calves and sit on it.
- Keep your shoulders away from your ears and chin parallel to the floor.
- Stay in this pose for a few rounds of breath until nausea is relieved.
Legs up the Wall
Legs up the wall is a very relaxing yoga asana. It can relieve low back pain, stretch your hamstrings, and reduce stress and lightheadedness. It can also help in motion sickness and nausea. To do this pose:
- Find a space close to the wall. Sit down facing the wall. You should be very close to the wall.
- Then bring the legs up the wall, making sure that the buttocks are on the wall. Extend your legs fully if you can, or bend your knees a little. You may also put a towel under the sacrum if you want.
- Stay in this pose until you feel relaxed.
Baddha Konasana (Cobbler’s Pose)
Baddha Konasana or cobbler’s pose is an excellent yoga asana for opening the hips. It’s also a relaxing pose, which you can do with the help of a wall or in a supine position. You can come in this pose to catch your breath and relieve nausea. To do the baddha konasana:
- Come and sit on the floor or the mat.
- Bend your knees with the heels close to your buttocks. Bring the soles of your feet together and let the knees come down to the sides.
- Grab your ankles or your shins and fold forward if you can. Keep the hands in front of your chest in a prayer position or on your lap if you can’t fold forward.
- Stay in this pose for a few rounds of breath.
Easy pose is a great preparatory pose for any yoga asana. It is also very relaxing and will give you comfort as you try to lower your body while in the middle of nausea. You can do this to catch your breath until nausea settles. Here’s how to do it:
- Come and sit on your mat or directly on the floor.
- Cross your ankles and keep your spine tall and erect. If your back rounds, you may sit on a block or a stack of books.
- Stay in this pose for a few breaths until nausea subsides.
Tips for Students With Nausea
To avoid nausea during and after yoga, here are some tips:
- Practice yoga two hours after a meal. If it’s been more than two hours, eat a light snack, such as nuts.
- Keep yourself hydrated but don’t drink too much water that you feel bloated, which can trigger nausea.
- Pace yourself. Whenever you feel that stomach acid is building up, lay down in Savasana for a while to catch your breath or step out of the class to get fresh air.
Yoga and other physical activities can trigger nausea. Make sure to observe your body before starting the asanas and give it what it needs so you can avoid nausea.