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Hernia Help

Being diagnosed with a hernia doesn't have to mean the end of your yoga practice.

By YJ Staff

According to Philadelphia-based neurologist Julio Kuperman, M.D., who has been practicing yoga for 25 years and teaching for 10, being diagnosed with a hernia does not mean the end of your yoga practice. In fact, he cured his own inguinal (groin area) hernia with yoga. For all types of hernia, it's important to consult with a trusted medical professional (and a qualified yoga teacher). Both Dr. Kuperman and Dr. Jeff Migdow, M.D., a practicing yogi with a holistic medical practice at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, Massachusetts, believe that a gentle yoga practice can help bring strength to the musculature where the hernia is occurring.

According to Dr. Kuperman, abdominal (or umbilical) hernias like are a result of weakness in the rectus abdominus muscles, which run from the pubis to the rib cage. He suggests beginning with some yogic sit-ups. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, knees bent, and lift just your head off the floor (no curling or crunching!). You may want to avoid poses that put excess pressure on the abdomen, like twists and full Navasana (Boat Pose). "Practice standing poses like Vrksasana (Tree Pose), which stabilizes the psoas and lumbar spine," says Dr. Kuperman. Even if you are drawn to a stronger practice, nice and easy is what you need now.

Many also suffer from a hiatal hernia, which is a protrusion of the stomach into the diaphragm. People who suffer from this should also avoid postures which put pressure on the abdomen, like Cobra, Bow, and Bridge. Practicing slow, deep breathing can firm the diaphragmatic muscles. And with a hiatal hernia, it is best to avoid inversions, which can send acids from the stomach back into the esophagus.

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Reader Comments


I am 24 years old & I am doing gym from last 1.5 month. It is not heavy weight lifting, just a warm up. But there was pain in my lower left abdomen, for few minutes. Also there is no hernia bulge I can see. And no other symptoms. Please suggest me yoga and pranayams to prevent from hernia

David C

I'm a senior and have been physically fit all my life. Had surgery not to long ago for diveticulitis. Recovery has been good, except the other day I started twisting doing some avaerage work. Seems I got all kinds of stomach pains, Have to do no work, Started yto use a hernia belt and what a relief, Would like to know what exersizes are best for this type of hernia. seems like there is multiple fractures, If you can take the time to email me for help. and good advice. I can't seem to sit still for very long.


I have upper abdoman hernia, pls suggest the aasans and pranayam, I am mother of 2 and 38 yrs old.

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