Q. I have not done yoga in a long while and I'm feeling stiff and uncomfortable one week after my laparoscopic total hysterectomy. Can I do stretching and some slight bending?

A.

Yoga is a wonderful practice to consider when beginning to exercise after recovering from surgery. One of the great things about yoga is it can be easily adapted or modified based on the individual’s needs. However, it is incredibly important to have a conversation with your doctor prior to starting yoga to ensure it is safe to practice and make yourself aware of any new physical limitations caused by surgery. Most doctors recommend waiting a certain period of time prior to engaging in any sort of physical activity, especially if you are experiencing pain and stiffness. Once you get your doctor’s approval, it is best to start at a studio with a licensed instructor to learn the proper techniques and modifications needed. There are many stretches and poses meant to ease one’s body into the movements.

Yoga has been proven to reduce the psychological stress caused by one’s diagnosis, while helping to manage the physical symptoms and side effects. If you are interested in practicing, contact the oncology social worker on your team to learn about local programs. There are also many free classes available online that are tailored to the needs of cancer patients.

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