While some may believe hip replacement surgery is debilitating and greatly affects mobility, a few months of physical therapy and a doctor's approval can have most patients practicing yoga again. According to the Yoga-Teacher-Training.org, yoga is not only possible for hip replacement patients, but it may help to speed up recovery, strengthen the joint and help a patient regain freedom of movement.
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The "oga Journal recommends several guiding principles for practicing yoga after hip replacement surgery. Always ask your doctor or physical therapist for recommendations and clearances. She may be able to give you a list of movements you should avoid as well as movements that are helpful to strengthening your hip. When practicing yoga, you should always be working toward establishing a functional range of motion. However, you should never strain yourself by trying to do too much too soon. If you experience pain, stop and tell your instructor. She will almost always be able to offer alternative positions for you.
Before you begin practicing yoga again, consider the changes in your body. Dr. Rowena Nicholson, director of The Center for Balanced Medicine, says after a single hip replacement, most patients favor their other side, so posture and alignment are important to remember. Consider too that it will also take longer to get down onto the floor and stand up again, so avoid changing positions too many times. Other things to think about are the time that has lapsed since your operation and your own level of flexibility and strength. Lastly, one major consideration is the surgical approach your doctor used. A posterior approach means she went in from the rear, and an anterior approach means she went in from the side or front.
If your doctor conducted surgery through a posterior approach, the following actions are most likely to cause dislocation: aduction, or crossing your legs at knees; flexion, or bending forward at the hips; and internal rotation, or turning your thighs inward. Roger Cole, Ph.D., and certified Yoga teacher of the Yoga Journal, suggests avoiding certain poses like Uttanasana, or Standing Forward Bend; Garudasana, or Eagle; Gamukhasana, or Cow Face Pose; and Balasana, or Child's Pose. However, back bending postures and spread-leg positions such as Utthita Trikonasana, or Triangle Pose, and Virabhadrasana II, or Warrior II, should not give you problems. It is recommended that any patient who has undergone hip replacement surgery through a posterior approach should not cross her legs for three to six months or bend forward at the hips past 90 degrees for one year.
Yoga-Teacher-Training.org recommends avoiding Virabhadrasana I & II, or Warrior I & II; Padmasana, or Lotus; and Baddha Konasana, or Bound Angle, if you had an anterior hip replacement. Unlike posterior surgery, backbends should be avoided, as well. Stay away from sitting postures that turn the thigh bone out, wide abductions, and any poses that cause hyperextention of the hip for one year after surgery. A Boat Pose using a block between the thighs is a recommended pose, as well as any movement that strengthens the hip flexors and adductors.
There are several other important tips for hip replacement patients practicing yoga. The Yoga Journal says to always be sure that your thighs are rooted in the hip sockets when doing poses. Make sure you are not putting all of your weight on either hip. A chair may be used as an alternative to getting onto the floor. Many poses that focus on your arms and core can be done in a chair. Don't overexert yourself, but don't be afraid to move your body, either. Yoga is not just physical, but spiritual, and can promote healing in both ways.