Post surgery, you might be thinking that you will never be able to use your abdominal muscles again. Turning over or getting out of bed might seem impossible now, but these two practices will help you to find you abdominal muscles after surgery and build your confidence in them. Try to practice them every day.
1. Pelvic tilt
In addition to helping you to engage with your abdominal muscles, this practice has the added benefit of stretching your lower back as well as activating your abdominal muscles.
a) Start by lying on your back and if possible come to a position where your knees are bent and your feet are on the floor or the bed. Put your hands on your hips and begin by pressing the back of your waist into the bed. When you first start doing this, this might be as much as you can do, and that is absolutely fine.
b) To move on, as you press the back of your waist into the bed, try to draw your navel in towards your spine.
c) For the third stage try to tolt your pelvis towards you as your press the back of your waist into the bed.
d) Finally you press down through your feet in order to lift your hips slightly off the bed.
Recommendation – start with 5 repetitions and gradually build up to 30 repetitions
2. Uddiyana Bandha
In Yoga ‘Bandha’ means ‘lock’ and this Uddiyana bandha is also known as the abdominal lock. It is a brace position for the abdominal muscles which has three subtle stages and as such is an excellent practice to use to get to know your abdominals again.
a) As before, start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor or the bed. Put one hand below your navel (belly button) and one hand above. The emphasis here is on trying to do something rather than doing it – so it doesn’t matter if you have dressing in the way.
b) Focus on your lower hand. Try to draw in your abdomen, only pulling in your lower hand. The reality is that nothing will move, or the whole abdomen will move slightly. Remember, we are focussing on trying to do the right movement rather than actually doing it!
c) Focus on your upper hand. Try to draw in your abdomen, only pulling in your upper hand. The reality is that nothing will move, or the whole abdomen will move slightly. Remember, we are focussing on trying to do the right movement rather than actually doing it!
d) Now bring together both sensations – of drawing in both the upper and lower abdominals.
Hold for a moment.
Recommendation – start with 5 repetitions and gradually build up to 30 repetitions. You can also increase the length on of the ‘lock’ up to a maximum of 5 breaths but don’t try to hold for more than five breaths until you have fully recovered.