How to do yoga after a big injury

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For the first 3 weeks post cycling accident, my tibial fracture required me to have a straight leg splint. This restricted me to sitting in a chair with leg elevated or a wheelchair. This put a tremendous amount of pressure on my back. I completely lost my yoga mojo but out of necessity, I found creative ways of doing yoga.

This can apply to anyone who has been injured or has limited mobility.

Great chair yoga sequence
With all these poses, sit comfortably in a chair to start. In yoga, it’s important to connect the breath to movement. These poses warm up back and shoulders, creates space between the vertebrae.

1. Sitting side bends

  • Sit up in chair with lengthened spine
  • INHALE, lift arms above, arms up near ears, either fingers pointing upward or pressing palms together, EXHALE, bend to right side
  • INHALE, come back to centre, EXHALE, bend to left side
  • INHALE, come back to centre, EXHALE, bend forward
  • Repeat 5 times, remember to lift and lengthen spine with every movement.

2. Sitting cat/cow

  • Sit up in chair with lengthened spine and hands on thighs
  • INHALE, gently look up, open chest by pushing shoulder blades together, pushing abdomen forward
  • EXHALE, drop head forward, rounding back, hunching shoulders forward
  • Repeat 5 times slowly, moving with the breath

3. Sitting spinal twists

  • Sit up in chair with lengthened spine
  • INHALE, lift spine up and look over right shoulder, use hands on legs as leverage to intensify the lift
  • EXHALE, hold the twist
  • INHALE, lift spine and twist a bit more
  • EXHALE, hold the twist
  • INHALE, lift spine and twist a tiny bit more
  • EXHALE, back to centre
  • Repeat on other side

4. Sitting neck stretches

  • Sit up in chair with lengthened spine
  • INHALE, looking directly forward, lift head up, and bend neck to right side, EXHALE back to centre
  • INHALE, looking directly forward, lift head up, and bend neck forward, chin to chest, EXHALE back to centre
  • INHALE, looking directly forward, lift head up, and bend neck to left side, EXHALE back to centre
  • INHALE, looking directly forward, lift head up, and gently look upwards, EXHALE back to centre
  • Repeat 3 – 5 times

Tips

  • Enjoy the quiet time of slow stretching – this will really improve your mood.
  • Be mindful by being aware of how the muscles feel with subtle movement.
  • Longer holds bring deeper stretches, as it takes time for the brain to tell the muscles to release tension.
  • Focus on long breaths to uplift mood, count to 4 on inhale and 5 on exhale (slower exhales).
  • Joint mobility requires movement, so your are doing well to be considering yoga and reading this blog 🙂

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