Disclaimer: This is not expert medical advice. Please always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any form of exercise after surgery.
Recovering with Yoga
Working with a qualified yoga teacher is a great idea following a surgical procedure. Even if you’re already familiar with yoga, working with an instructor can ensure you progress appropriately through your recovery.
Here are some ways in which yoga can support surgery recovery!
This ancient practice includes relaxation and mindfulness techniques that can help manage pain and discomfort during the recovery process.
Gentle poses and deep breathing exercises can provide a degree of relief and reduce the need for pain medication. This will naturally vary from person to person.
Improved Range of Motion
Some post-surgery recovery periods may lead to stiffness and reduced range of motion.
Gentle stretching and yoga can improve flexibility and mobility, helping to regain full movement in affected areas.
Surgery and recovery can be stressful, both physically and mentally. Yoga’s stress-reduction techniques, including meditation and relaxation exercises, can promote mental and emotional well-being during the healing process.
Gentle yoga movements and poses can promote better blood circulation. Better circulation facilitates the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the surgical site, potentially speeding up the healing process.
Pranayama (breathing exercises) can help improve lung function and oxygenate the body, which is particularly important after surgery to prevent complications like pneumonia.
Engaging in deep breathing exercises doesn’t have to be part of a yoga practice, and you might want to do this regularly throughout the day anyway.
Some post-surgery situations may require specific muscle groups to be strengthened. Yoga can be adapted to target those areas with gentle and controlled movements.
This is one of the reasons why working with an instructor is preferable, as they’ll be able to guide you to go at a manageable pace. Never push your body beyond your comfort zone when you’re in the early stages (first few months) of healing from surgery.
Certain yoga poses and stretches can promote better scar tissue healing by increasing blood flow to the area and preventing adhesions.
Post-surgery massage is also great for this!
Balance and Stability
Some surgeries can affect balance and stability. Yoga can help improve these aspects, reducing the risk of falls and injury during the recovery process.
Surgery recovery often disrupts sleep patterns. Yoga can improve sleep quality and help with insomnia or other sleep disturbances.
Take it Easy
It’s important to approach post-surgery yoga cautiously, especially if you are a beginner.
Start with gentle, restorative yoga practices. Avoid any poses or movements that strain or stress the surgical area. Listen to your body, and only do what is comfortable and safe for you. It’s absolutely essential that you always follow your healthcare provider’s guidance and recommendations for post-surgery activities.
Remember that not all surgeries are the same and individual circumstances can vary greatly. Your surgeon or physical therapist will provide the best guidance for your specific case and may recommend a rehabilitation plan that includes yoga or other forms of exercise.