These are my go-to yoga postures I practice when recovering from endometriosis surgery. After surgery I usually only practice Hatha (physical) yoga after about 4 weeks or when I feel my body feels ready for some gentle exercise. Everyone is different though, so listen to your body and if a pose just doesn’t feel right, or hurts in any way – stop. If you’re unsure, check with your doctor.
As it happens I am currently recovering from major surgery. Due to multiple surgeries and having a stent in my left side, I haven’t practiced regularly for about 6 months. But patience and practice is key, over time strength can be regained and flexibility will improve.
So here is my guide to post-surgery yoga. It is restorative and relaxing, there are no standing poses. I would recommend natural, slow breathing throughout, if you can move with your breath that’s great too.
Pose 1 – Child’s pose
This is a restorative, hip opening pose. Kneel on the floor, touch your big toes then sit on your heels then separate your knees. Lay your torso between your thighs, Lengthen your tailbone from your pelvis and your skull away from your shoulders. Your shoulders should feel wide and relaxed. Hold for 2-3 minutes.
Pose 2 – Toe squat
The toe squat can be challenging, especially at first. This pose places pressure on the knees, toes, feel and ankles. If you have any problems in this area perhaps it’s best to avoid or try for a shorter duration with a cushion under your knees.
This is a great way to begin your practice, it is uncomfortable but also a big, juicy stretch for the feet and toes. It strengthens the ankles and opens the toes and feet.
Begin by kneeling, sit on your heels, then tuck your toes under, sit on the balls of your feet. Hold for 1-3 minutes.
Pose 3 – Cobbler’s pose
I find this pose incredibly soothing. It stretches the thighs and groins, opens the hips and stimulates the abdominal organs, helps digestion and eases period pain. It is also great for the lower back.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight, then gently bring the soles of your feet together. Rest your hands on your feet. Allow your knees to fall gently apart. Sit up straight with your shoulders relaxed. If you find it difficult to sit up straight, sit on a cushion or block. Hold for 3 minutes.
Pose 4 – Cobbler’s pose with forward bend
While seated in cobbler’s pose, try bending forward, move very slowly and place your hands, to the floor. Hold for approximately 1 minute.
Pose 5 – Baby dragon
This is a beautiful, hip and groin opening low lunge. It can be uncomfortable on the knees so place some extra cushion under the knee if you need to.
Begin on your hands and knees, step one foot between your hands. Make sure your knee is directly above your heel. Slide the back knee as far back as you can. Either place your hands on your front knee or on the floor, either side of your foot. Hold for about 3 minutes on each side.
Pose 6 – Frog pose
Another deep groin opening pose, frog pose helps alleviate menstrual cramps and aids digestion. There is a slight back bend involved which compresses the lower back. If you find it places to much pressure on your knees, place something soft under them.
Start in child’s pose and slide your hands forward. Separate the knees, then gently separate the heels as pictured below. Hold for 3 minutes.
Pose 6 – Extended puppy pose
This pose is similar to when you see a dog doing a ‘play bow’, with their bottom up and head down. Puppy pose stretches the spine and shoulders, it is very calming. Hold for 1 minute. Oh and yes that’s my dog in the photo – he loves to participate in my yoga practice!
Come onto all fours, place your hands under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Walk your hands forward and slowly lower your chest to the floor. Keep your arms straight, just above the floor. Move your forehead towards the floor, arch your back towards the floor, rest your arms on the floor and push your hips back to lengthen your back. When coming out of this pose you can slowly move back into child’s pose.
Pose 7 – Gentle seated twist
Gentle being the key word here, if you’ve had surgery on your abdominal area, it’s unlikely you’ll feel like doing lots of twists! This pose stimulates the abdominal organs, improves digestion and blood circulation, lengthens and strengthens the spine, shoulders and hips, it is also a very relaxing pose so great for anxiety or stress.
Begin sitting cross legged. Sit tall, relax your shoulders and sit evenly on your bottom, keep your abdomen firm. While inhaling raise your arms above your head, then exhale and lower your arms to the right side of your body, the right hand should be on the ground beside you the left on your right knee. Rotate your head and tuck your chin in so it’s tilted to your right shoulder. Sit tall and breathe slowly for about 1 minute, repeat the process on the other side.
Pose 8 – Side neck stretch
This pose helps alleviate neck tension. While seated gently tilt your head to the right, extend the left hand down and hold your head with your right hand, you should feel a deep neck stretch on the left side. Breathe slowly and deeply, hold for one minute on each side.
Pose 9 – Meditation, either seated or lying down in corpse pose (savasana)
Savasana is just as important as all the other yoga postures, the goal is complete relaxation – which is difficult to achieve. I often meditate in a seated position, especially after surgery as lying down can be uncomfortable. If you choose to lie down in savasana, try placing a bolster or cushion under your knees to help alleviate the pressure on your tummy. Hold your position for at least 10 minutes and try to focus on the different parts of your body, relaxing each part as you go. See my recent blog post for a more detailed guide to meditation.
I’d love to know your thoughts, have you tried yoga before? How has it helped you?
Yours in health