Yoga is known for its many health and wellness benefits. However, some people experience nausea or an upset stomach during or after practicing certain yoga poses. If you’ve felt queasy on your mat, you likely want to get to the root cause of why yoga makes you nauseous.
Nausea or vomiting when doing yoga is not normal. Understanding the triggers can help you prevent and treat a nauseated feeling during your practice.
6 Common Causes of Nausea During Yoga
There are several possible explanations for yoga-induced nausea:
Doing yoga poses on an empty stomach or when you’re overly hungry can trigger nausea. Yoga compresses the abdominal organs, which can cause discomfort if your stomach is completely empty.
Eat a light snack about 30-60 minutes before your yoga session. Carbohydrates or proteins are ideal.
Lack of fluids is a common cause of nausea, dizziness, and cramps during exercise. Yoga dehydrates your body through sweating.
Drink at least 12-16 ounces of water in the hours leading up to yoga class. Have water on hand to sip throughout your practice.
When your core body temperature increases from hot yoga classes or overexertion, you may feel lightheaded, weak, or nauseated.
Take breaks as needed. Hot studios should be under 100°F. Avoid hot classes if you have heat sensitivity.
Being upside down in inversions like Downward Facing Dog, Headstands, and Shoulder Stand redistributes blood flow and pressure. This change in circulation can trigger nausea in some people.
Start with brief, supported inversions. Avoid inverting on a full stomach. Come out of the pose at the first sign of nausea.
Twisting poses like Half Lord of the Fishes and Revolved Triangle Pose compress the abdomen. Backbends also squeeze the stomach.
Modify poses, come out of stretches gently, and never force your body into uncomfortable positions.
Inner Ear Imbalance
The vestibular system in your inner ear controls balance and spatial orientation. Inversions and changing positions in yoga can cause inner ear imbalance and vertigo-like nausea.
Build up slowly with core-strengthening poses to improve inner ear stability over time.
Tips to Prevent and Soothe Yoga Nausea
If you frequently experience nausea during yoga, there are ways to help minimize it:
- Eat some fruit or other light snack 30-60 minutes pre-yoga.
- Stay well hydrated before, during, and after yoga.
- Avoid hot classes and overheating.
- Start slowly and don’t overexert yourself.
- Use props like blocks to modify intense poses.
- Come out of inversions and twists slowly.
- Practice breathing exercises to reduce nausea.
- Rest in Child’s Pose as needed during class.
Stopping a yoga session at the first signs of nausea can help prevent vomiting. Sip water and take deep breaths lying on your left side until nausea passes. Avoid intense practices when nauseated.
When Should You Seek Medical Help
While occasional yoga-induced nausea is normal, recurring nausea or vomiting warrants medical evaluation. See your doctor if you experience:
- Nausea after every yoga class
- Vomiting during or after yoga
- Severe abdominal pain, chest pain, or headache
- Signs of dehydration like excessive thirst and dark urine
- Difficulty standing or walking after yoga due to dizziness
- Nausea lasting over 48 hours
These symptoms may indicate an underlying health condition being aggravated by yoga. Your doctor can assess for issues like migraines, vertigo, gastroparesis, or heart problems. Medical treatment is needed so you can safely return to yoga.
Enjoy Your Yoga Practice
Yoga should leave you feeling energized and relaxed, not queasy and uncomfortable. Use caution with twists and inversions, stay hydrated, and talk to your instructor so they can help modify your practice. Pay attention to nausea triggers so you can avoid them.