Monthly Archives: November 2013

Yoga and Joint Surgery

This year has been the second year in a row where I have undergone surgery on my right shoulder after a nasty ski accident a few years ago where I damaged it considerably.

Lucky for me , I had great physical fitness, strength, balance and agility to get me through the first few weeks after my op, thanks to yoga. I could manage pretty well with just 3 working limbs. I even remember just a few days after the op being able to clamber up onto a kitchen work top (being a bit vertically challenged I’m always doing things like that) to get something out from the top shelf of a cupboard. It was pretty easy.

Yoga too has helped me to get better again, being able to stretch out cut- through muscles and build up physical strength and fitness again. Just 4 months on from the op I am back to a full ashtanga yoga practice. Ashtanga yoga is physically challenging. It’s great to be okay again although I take it easy and listen to what my body wants me to do as always.

Yoga can really help to prepare yourself on a physical and mental level before joint surgery and also to get fit again after it. It should complement physiotherapy, osteopathy and so on, rather than be an alternative route though.

This is what Liz, a student at my Wednesday night class,  has to say about yoga and her issues after knee surgery:

“Having had years of problems with my left knee and several operations it left me with quite a bit of muscle wastage. My physiotherapist suggested I took up Yoga, and low and behold Tanya’s leaflet came through the door. I am a great believer in every thing happens for a reason. I was really worried about attending classes and know that I wouldn’t be able to manage some of the positions. Tanya was able to suggest an alternative way of doing them. I have been attending her classes for about 2 ½ years now. It has taken me a while to build up my strength but the biggest problem has been building up my confidence, I have been so worried that my knee might collapse so it has been my confidence that has held me back.  One evening I was able to walk down the stairs carrying a box without thinking-  before I would come down one step at a time. The following week I felt I had to share my good news with my fellow classmates. They were so thrilled and it has now given me the boost to try other positions which I have previously avoided. I believe attending Tanya’s yoga classes not only helped me physically and mentally to get over the problems with my knee. “

This is Helen, who had major knee surgery last year. Yoga helped Helen both before and after surgery.


So, do consider yoga even if you are not in the best of physical health;  it is a great way to physically and mentally look after yourself. If you can breathe you can do yoga.