Yoga is a popular activity that can have many positive effects on the body and mind when performed correctly. Many of my patients ask when they can return to yoga, and what is safe for them to do after breast surgery
- First, ask your surgeon and oncologist when you are OK to start doing yoga. Every surgery is different, so timing and restrictions differ person to person.
- Second, the exercises below should be safe to begin 6 weeks after expander or implant surgery Again, after clearance from your surgeon. These may not be appropriate for flap surgeries (latissimus flap, TRAM, DIEP, etc.) and may also not be appropriate if you are undergoing or have undergone radiation due to skin effects. Ask your physician and / or your physical therapist if you are unsure.
- Third, these exercises should all be pain free. Do not ever push into pain. The old adage of ‘no pain, no gain’ does NOT apply here.
Seated Cat Cow
Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet supported on the floor. Think about sitting tall as if a string is pulling the top of your head towards the ceiling. From here, gently arch backwards from between your shoulder blades as if leaning over the back of a chair but be careful not to arch your lower back or your neck.
Follow this up with a bend forward as if someone punched you in the gut. You should look like an angry cat.
Keep your neck relaxed as you move between these two positions.
Seated Trunk Rotation
Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet supported on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest. Think about sitting tall as if a string is pulling the top of your head towards the ceiling. Gently twist to the right as you exhale. Inhale as you return to start position. Gently twist to the left as you exhale. Inhale as you return to the start position.
If this becomes easy, you can straighten your right arm in front of you and follow it with your eyes and body as you turn to the right, and repeat on the left.
Seated Teapot / Side Bend
Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet supported on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest. Think about sitting tall as if a string is pulling the top of your head towards the ceiling. Take a deep breath in and then bend to the right as if leaning over a tall ball as you exhale – this will help keep your spine healthy. Be careful not to ‘crunch’ down, but rather extend your spine long as you bend. Inhale as you return to start. Repeat on the left.
If this becomes easy you can straighten your left arm above your head as you inhale, then exhale as you side bend to your right. Repeat on the left side.
Seated Scap Squeeze
Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet supported on the floor and your hands resting on your lap. Inhale deeply first, then exhale as you squeeze your shoulder blades together behind your back. Your hands should not move.
If this becomes easy you can move your arms up to a ‘goalpost’ position, again squeezing from between your shoulder blades.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet and low back flat on the ground. Grasp your hands together in front of your belly with your elbow straight. Inhale deeply then exhale as you slowly lift your arms (elbows still straight) up towards the ceiling then towards the wall behind you. Inhale as you return to the starting position.
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