The first thing after surgery – breathe….

The first thing after surgery – breathe….

After major abdominal surgery I was surprised to experience lots of problems breathing. This is exacerbated by the physiotherapist’s insistence that you take deep breaths and cough a lot – even when the merest whisper of a breath makes you feel like you might explode.

Here are two breathing techniques. You can use the first one as soon as you come round from your anaesthetic, and the second one a few days later. If you are visiting someone in hospital after surgery you could print this out and guide them through the techniques – a real luxury.

1. Breathing focus

  1. Tune inwards, notice the body
  2. Tune into your breath
  3. Without changing the breath count the breath in and count the breath out
  4. Now try to equalise the breath
  5. Now make the out breath longer
  6. Now try to breathe more deeply, some areas of the lungs will feel sore, others won’t just experiment.
  7. Try breathing down towards your belly button
  8. Try breathing into your ribs, as if you are trying to push them to the sides
  9. Try breathing into your back
  10. As you focus your breath into your belly, ribs or back, repeat the mantra ‘I am breathing in….. I am breathing out….’ for several breaths
  11. Let go of the matra, let go of any breathing pattern, return to natural breathing.
  12. Observe how you feel.

Complete Yoga Breath

This is a stronger version of the first exercise, and will help you to get to know the new landscape of your belly after surgery. This will be a little sore, but if it hurts, then return to the first exercise.

Rest one hand on your belly below the navel, and one above the navel.

  1. Tune inwards, notice the body
  2. Tune into your breath
  3. Without changing the breath count the breath in and count the breath out
  4. Now try to equalise the breath
  5. Now make the out breath longer
  6. Now try to breathe more deeply, some areas of the lungs will feel sore, others won’t just experiment.
  7. Try breathing down towards your belly button, pushing your hand below the navel out a little
  8. Then in the same in-breath try breathing into your ribs, as if you are trying to push them to the sides
  9. Then still in the same in breath, try breathing into your back and up towards your collar bones.
  10. Once you have got a breathing rhythm, repeat the mantra ‘I am breathing in….. I am breathing out….’
  11. After about 12 breaths Let go of the matra, let go of any breathing pattern, return to natural breathing.
  12. You can increase the number of breaths as you recover, until you are doing the complete Yoga breath for 5 minutes.

If you have any questions, please do post them.

Cat x

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