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Top yoga poses after a hysterectomy to strengthen your core.
Probably the most popular videos on my YouTube channel are my videos talking about my hysterectomy. No one seemed to talk honestly from their personal experience which led me to create the first video: After the hysterectomy: What to expect weight loss. Also take a moment to read After the hysterectomy – exercise yoga for a recap of where I was a few years ago.
Doctors talk to you from a medical perspective but what about everything else? What about how you’re going to feel when you no longer have the pain pills? Or what about your belly. Will it every go back to the way it was especially if you had an invasive hysterectomy as I did? What about those mood swings when your thrust into medically induced menopause? Sex? Do we even walk to talk about sex?
For me personally, the first 18 months or so I breezed through. My issues didn’t really hit until I was at the two year mark after my hysterectomy. From that point on, I was fighting hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and let’s not even talk about my belly or my weight.
Reflecting back while answering emails and messages, one thing I realized has remained constant since my hysterectomy is yoga. Specifically Gentle Flow Yoga that I teach which focuses on core strength.
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Let’s be honest. No the answer is you will never be the same after a hysterectomy but fact of the matter is you’re a different person today than you were yesterday. And that is where we start. Right here. Right now. This moment. Today.
Why should you do yoga after surgery?
The short answer is you should include yoga every single day whether you have had a hysterectomy, gone/going through menopause, raising children, pregnant or even beginning your period. I have been doing yoga on and off since I was 18 but I don’t think I truly appreciated how much it benefitted me until my 40’s. That is when I incorporated it into my weekly exercise routine.
Yoga has helped my body recover not only after my hysterectomy, but also after injuring my hip training for a marathon and rehabbing from dislocating my shoulder. Then add in the mental/emotional benefits and it’s a wonder everyone doesn’t include yoga in their exercise rotation.
The benefits of yoga after my hysterectomy are many but these are my top reasons:
- Core strength. Core strength is not just having flat abs and I have faced facts that I may never have truly flat abs again. My ab muscles were literally sliced in half to remove my uterus. But your core is actually from your shoulder to your hips, front and back. Many yoga flows incorporate engaging your core which helps with balance, flexibility, strength and yes, strong abs.
- Mental. Yoga is the connection of mind and body and focus on your breathing as you transition from pose to pose not only helps your body relax into position, it quiets the mind. When you find your mind racing with unanswered questions, simply focusing on your breathing can help you relax and let the thoughts go.
- Flexibility. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful that I can simply bend over and pick something up off the floor. My hips, back, legs, arms and shoulders are all flexible which allows me to easily move through my day as a fitness instructor and wellness coach.
- Improved posture, pelvic floor rehabilitation and muscle strength. Many yoga poses engage the pelvic floor muscles which may provide relief from symptoms after hysterectomy. In addition, the whole body will get stronger as your yoga practice deepen – very important as we age.
Where should you start? First listen to your body and remember the yoga pose will adjust to you. If you find your belly is in the way when you first begin where you are bending forward or folded over as in child’s pose, simply grab your belly and move it where you are comfortable. The more you practice, the stronger your core will become.
The following positions are gentle enough for beginners but also fantastic for those that have been practicing before surgery (be sure you have your physicians approval before doing any exercise):
- Pelvic tilt into bridge. Lying on your back, inhale and tilt your pelvis up and pull your abs in. Exhale and release. When you are pulling your pelvis up with the inhale your lower back will press into the floor/mat. Repeat at least three times. Then move into a bridge by pressing your hips toward the ceiling, engaging your core and squeezing your glute muscles as you move onto your shoulders. These poses can also help relieve back pain.
- Spinal twist/rotation. Lying again on your back, arms perpendicular to your body, knees up and bent as if they are on an ottoman. Gently let your knees fall to the right as you exhale and look over your left shoulder. Repeat several times on both sides.
- Down dog/plank. Moving into plant position, line up your hands directly under your shoulders creating a straight line with your back to your toes. Gently push your hips toward the ceiling as you transition into down dog. Imagine someone grabbing your hips and pulling them gently up. Lot of energy in your arms and legs. Transition back to plank and hold for a count of 10 before returning to down dog. Repeat.
- Meditation. Equally important in your yoga practice is to set aside time to be mindful in a meditation. Calm your body from your toes to your head, body part by body part. Your only focus will be on your breathing. Inhale for a count of 10, exhale for a count of 10 as you completely and totally relax. When you first begin meditating you will probably struggle with random thoughts. Acknowledge them then return your awareness to your breathing. Try to meditate minutes when you first begin then build from there. The benefits of meditation are many including stress, anxiety and depression relief. I personally meditate every morning but it was a process that took several months. Be kind to yourself.
It’s very important to take your time as you recover from your hysterectomy. It’s major surgery and affects us not only physically but mentally as well.
When you’re ready to advance beyond these first moves, find a yoga class you’re comfortable with or reach out to me for my online training schedule.
If you are looking for something you can do as time allows, I recommend you check out Yoga Burn. The reason I love Yoga Burn is because it is designed for women by a woman and has three different levels from beginner to advanced. In addition it’s very affordable and can be done in the comfort of your home every day. You can get more details here: Yoga Burn Program.
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Denise Sanger lives a life split between her love for fitness and her passion for travel particularly to the BEACH. Denise also has a love of marketing and lives in beautiful Suwannee County, Florida. You can find out more about Denise here: About Denise