This is the time of year we are more likely to overeat, which can bring on the hiccups. And once they start–even if we can stop them, they often come back shortly. It’s caused by an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm that repeats several times a minute. It can be very unpleasant, and not a little embarrassing.
You can look up hiccups on Wikipedia and find out lots of theories about how we get them, but if you have hiccups, you probably just want them to stop. Being a yogi and especially fond of the breathing practices we call pranayama, I stumbled upon a cure that has never failed me, though I admit I occasionally have had to do it twice to get rid of the dreaded hiccups. Here’s how:
Exhale strongly, leaving the lungs empty
Perform stomach lift, Uddiyana Bhanda
Hold for as long as comfortable
Slowly inhale, from bottom to top
Resume normal breathing
That’s basically all there is to it. Try again if it doesn’t work the first time. I never had much luck with the “startling” technique, although my brothers tried like to devil to scare the hiccups out of me. Drinking water from the back of the glass never worked for me either.
Let me know if this technique works for you! You can make a comment under the post.
I got a comment from a friend of mine in Yogaville that doing the stomach lift when you’re really full from overindulging is not comfortable or even do-able. So, it doesn’t have to be a full stomach lift, rather a gentle lift of the belly. The main thing is the exhale. Begin by exhaling all the air out of the body, then gently lift the low belly–as if you’re doing Uddiyana Bhanda, but without straining. Then hold the breath as long as you can, and gently inhale slowly, using ujjai. I hope this clarifies this.