Post-ACL Surgery Yoga Flow

It’s been about 2.5 years since my ACL Surgery… Since then, I’ve fully recovered, trained to become a yoga teacher, and have been instructing for the past 1.5 years. During this time, I have learned a LOT about the anatomy of the body (actually, just the body in general!), and I’ve been getting more technical when creating my classes/YouTube videos.

There was a request from a few of my readers to put together a post-ACL surgery yoga sequence, and I was finally able to record something after returning from my recent travels. Check out the video below and let me know what you think! I can create more based on each person’s timeline recovery & what needs to be strengthened. I hope this helps!! <3
**UPDATE: Check out my Yoga For ACL Recovery Course here – it includes a 2-month progression plan, with 1-2 new classes to follow along with every week. Learn more and purchase the course at ACLYoga.com!

 

 

This e-book was created as a guide to help everyone – Adults, Kids, Athletes, and Non-Athletes – recovering from ACL surgery. After reading this guide, you will have a better understanding of what to expect, surgery options, costs & insurance, and a detailed timeline for recovery.

Improve your range of motion, increase your strength, and feel more confident post-surgery with a 2 month yoga progression plan.

Yoga for Breast Cancer

Hello!

Unfortunately, Cancer has become a common, everyday word that we hear. Friends, family, coworkers – we are all affected, whether its someone close to us or someone we see on TV. The chemotherapy process is long, and it leaves those going through treatment drained of energy and unable to live their every day normal life.

After learning that a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, I began to brainstorm ways that I could help make her days a little easier while going through chemotherapy (Did you know 1 out of every 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast cancer in her lifetime?!). There isn’t much besides comforting words and actual gifts, so I decided to do some research and put together a few simple, modified yoga poses that could help increase energy, and even help manage pain.

Below are a series of poses I have researched and put together information for my friend – and for anyone else going through cancer treatment. It can be hard to summon up any energy during treatment, so for those who are used to being active, these poses are a nice way to incorporate a little workout in your life. They will also help bring relief, as well as encourage movement to fight the fatigue and pain!

**Hold each pose below for 5-10 DEEP breaths. This helps brings body awareness, increases energy circulating throughout the body, and helps with fatigue.

Child’s Pose
Benefits
: relaxes the spine, stretches muscles in back
Modify: Bring arms to side
Body Position: Sit hips back on heels and lower your chest to your thighs, and head to ground. Bring arms over your head, or keep them at your side.

Childs Pose_2 - Yoga Cancer

Childs Pose - Yoga Cancer

Hero Pose
Benefits:
 Improves posture, stretches thighs & ankles, promotes circulation, reduces swelling
Modify: Kneeling, knees together, on toes; towel or blanket between calves & hamstrings
Body Position: 3 ways to do this pose

1) Sit back on heels, then slowly lower down to butt and let feet splay out to the side

Heros Pose - Yoga Cancer

2) Sit back on heels, knees together, feet tucked under

Hero Mod2 - Yoga Cancer

3) Sit back on heels, knees together, on toes

Hero Mod - Yoga Cancer

Crescent Lunge
Benefits:
Helps manage physical pain pre – & post op; stretches/lengthens lower & upper body; opens chest
Modify: Cushions or chair under front leg (optional), back knee on floor, hands rest to sides on blocks
Body Position: Front leg bent, knee over ankle; back knee bent, resting on the floor; arms rest at side with chest raised, or hands are resting on blocks at sides for support.

Crescent Lunge - Yoga Cancer

Warrior 2
Benefits:
Encourages deep breathing; nurtures lymphatic system
Modify: Chair under front leg (I used a side table with a blanket for cushion)
Body Position: Front leg bent, knee over ankle; hips open, back leg straight, grounding foot into the ground; arch of back foot should be in line with the heel of the front foot; hands at hips, or arms up, gaze over front fingertips.

W2 - Yoga Cancer

W2_2 - Yoga Cancer

Bridge
Benefits: 
Improves Circulation, stretches muscle tissue around breasts
Modify: Towel or pillow under back
Body Position: Lay on back with pillow underneath the small of your back. Place your hands on your hips or keep them to your side.

Bridge - Yoga Cancer

Seated Twist
Benefits: 
Releases tension; wrings out toxins in organs; gentle stretch
Modify: Do not bend knees as much; do not twist as deep
Body Position: Come to a seated position, feet in front, knees slightly bent. Chest up, spine straight. Twist slightly to the side, bringing one hand to knee & other arm behind hip. Option to sit cross-legged as well. (Don’t forget to repeat on other side!)

Side Twist3 - Yoga Cancer

Side Twist2 - Yoga Cancer

Reclined Twist
Benefits: 
Helps blood flow to chest; lymphatic drainage
Modify: Lay on side, with pillow in between legs
Body Position: Lay on one side with pillow between legs – bottom leg straight, top leg bent. Place your hands on your hip, then slowly raise your arm up over head, then back to hip. Simply laying in this posture while deep breathing is also beneficial. (Don’t forget to repeat on other side!)

Side Twist 2 - Yoga Cancer

Side Twist Arm - Yoga Cancer

Side Twist_3 - Yoga Cancer

Savasana
Benefits: 
Helps release stress & muscle tension
Modify: Towel/pillow under back (not much to modify when laying on your back!)
Body Position: Lay on back with towel/pillow under the small of your back. Close your eyes and relax all muscles in your body! You can stay in this pose for longer than 5-10 breaths 😉

Savasana - Yoga Cancer

Hopefully this helps bring some relief for anyone going through cancer! There are a lot more poses that you can do, but I wanted to just give a few specifically focused on breast cancer.

For those who have had cancer or know someone who has/is going through treatment – have you heard of Yoga benefits for cancer? If yes, what have you heard? I would love to learn more!

PLEASE NOTE:

The information I have provided is not intended to be used in place of professional medical advice. This is information that I have gathered on my own through a variety of sources, and if you decide to use/apply any of the ideas from my site, you are taking full responsibility for your actions. This information is not meant to diagnose or to treat any medical condition. Please consult with your primary care physician holistic doctor to diagnose/advise of any medical condition if you have any questions. I am not liable for any damages or negative consequences resulting from any action by any persons reading or following the information on this site.

Sources:
http://breastcanceryogablog.com/
Being Her Rock
http://www.everydayhealth.com/pictures/yoga-exercises-that-help-with-breast-cancer-recovery
http://www.breastinvestigators.com/content/yoga-pose-breast-cancer-side-body-stretch-twist-%E2%80%93-extended
http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/diana-ross-uses-restorative-yoga-heal-breast-cancer-patients

ACL Post-Surgery 1 year!

1 YEAR!! 1 YEAR!! Today marks exactly one year since my knee surgery! Below is a summary of what’s been going on, the good, the bad, and concerns I have going forward

1 Year Post-Op Summary

  • Running about 2-3x a week on the treadmill – 2-7 miles each time **My knee cap/patellar tendon has been hurting to the point where I can’t run, so taking a hiatus from running until it starts to feel better – any tips from runners? I’ve tried icing, heat… nothing is helping!
  • Circuit/tabata workouts 1-2 times a week – with HIIT – sprints on the treadmill, ab work, etc
  • heated workout classes 1x a week
  • Yoga 1-3 times a week – mainly practicing at home
  • Still experiencing issues with my IT band, where it connects on the side of the knee. I feel a little bit of instability and there is clicking still happening behind the knee. I know my ACL is ok, so I am wondering if where my meniscus was shaved down actually caused more issues. I am using a foam roller to try and work out the band, so fingers crossed I find relief.
  • I read an article about the mentality of athletes coming back after knee surgery – and a lot of people never really fully go back. I know I still baby my knee and worry about stability, but it’s mostly due to my meniscus. Does anyone else still have doubts or fears post-op of going back 100% to a sport? I am not a professional athlete by any means, but I am nervous I will always be afraid to be fully active again like I was in high school. I really only feel fully comfortable if wearing a brace or taped up with KT tape.
  • There has been some cracking/popping inside my knee lately, and I am wondering if it is scar tissue breaking up. It’s not super painful – uncomfortable more than anything. Has anyone experienced this?
  • Tweaked my wrist doing yoga back in December, and it got to the point where it hurt to bend my wrist and put weight on it. Heat didn’t work, oils didn’t work… then I iced and put some Lavender oil on it – the next day, it was fine! I got X-Rays just to make sure nothing was wrong, and everything checked out ok 🙂
  • Stretching 20-30 minutes after every workout – more specifically, my quads & hips. I never realized how tight I was! My end goal is to be able to sit in hero pose – see below – without any issues. I still feel some swelling when trying to sit back, but after a lot of stretching, I am able to sit a little more comfortably. Has anyone ever experienced issues with this 1 year post op?

Virasana

  • With all of the stretching of my hips, I was able to get into pigeon pose and have my toes touch my head! this was after 1 month of stretching with a strap everyday 🙂

pigeon pose

  • I am almost finished with my Rolfing sessions! Here are the improvements  I have noticed so far:
    • breathing – running not as difficult, cardio greatly improved
    • feel more balanced – when i walk, when I stand
    • IT band issues – no problems on the right hip after running now
    • Tightness on right side of body – all up and down back/shoulder/leg – only experiencing a little bit of tightness in the upper part of my body now, which I know is from the way I sit at work.

I am signed up to run a half marathon this year with my awesome coworker, and I begin training next month for it! I’ve  signed up for Yoga Teacher Training in Belize in May and am incredibly excited for this!  I am also flying out to Florida for a weekend workshop in March & to visit family. And to top off all this traveling/training I’ve been doing, I decided to buy a guitar and learn how to play… and I LOVE it! I have so much free time that all I want to do is be active and learning new things. I’ve never loved learning growing up, and now I can’t get enough of it 🙂 I guess this is what happens when you don’t own a T.V. – more time and less distractions (minus the sex & the city marathons I’ve been having every once in a while on my phone ;)) Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could all stay in our 20’s forever??

This e-book was created as a guide to help everyone – Adults, Kids, Athletes, and Non-Athletes – recovering from ACL surgery. After reading this guide, you will have a better understanding of what to expect, surgery options, costs & insurance, and a detailed timeline for recovery.

Improve your range of motion, increase your strength, and feel more confident post-surgery with a 2 month yoga progression plan.

ACL Post-Surgery 10 Months

10 Months Post-Op Summary (11/13/2014)

  • Running about 2x a week on the treadmill
  • Circuit/tabata workouts 1-2 times a week – with HIIT – sprints on the treadmill, ab work, etc
  • heated workout classes
  • Yoga 1-3 times a week. Classes but also practicing at home
  • Trying to gain more flexibility in my knee to sit back – I can sit on my heels, but i can barely sit on my butt between my heels – the Virasana pose in yoga. I feel like after 10 months I would have been able to do this… anyone else still have trouble?

Virasana

  • I have not been running as long – between moving and the colder weather, I haven’t had the time or will to go run on a treadmill for long periods of time. I usually jump on the treadmill for 15-30 minutes, depending on how I feel. I know my cardio has definitely taken a hit, so I am working on building it back up.
  • Last month, I talked about Rolfing. So far, I have gone to 4 appointments and have seen a little bit of improvement:
    • easier to take deeper breaths
    • feel more balanced – when i walk, when I stand
    • legs felt lighter after the second session – not sure exactly what was done, but a lot of work on my lower legs. I feel like they have been really neglected, and now they are not so tight or knotty
    • IT band on left leg – feels stronger, doesn’t bother me except for the occasional meniscus issue

I am going for my fifth session (out of 10) this week, and am so excited. The fifth session works with the deep ab muscles, and is supposed to help with digestion as well. I will most likely be done with my 10 sessions by my next post, so hopefully I will have amazing results to share then 🙂

These past 2 months have been extremely stressful for me – emotionally, physically, mentally – but I somehow feel stronger than ever. I don’t worry so much about things, and my daily meditation practice has made things a lot more easier. I have a lot more time to workout nowadays since my commute to work has literally been cut in half, which has also made life less stressful… although, going through a breakup makes things about 10x harder to do, especially when you just want to lay in bed all day. However, I am thinking of getting my 200 hr yoga teacher training next year, so I know the training will be taking up a lot of my time then!

ALSO: I forgot to mention that I won a giveaway from willrun4pizza‘s blog! I have been wanting to try Nuun electrolyte tabs for a while, so I am so glad I got to try them 🙂 I got the tri-berry active tabs and the all-day grape raspberry. The active tabs had a type of fizzy/biting taste to it, which reminded me of drinking a soda. the all-day tabs had a vitamin-y smell to it, but tasted good! My only negative review would be the fake sugars and a few added ingredients like propylene glycol – are they really necessary??  I always forget to add the active tabs to my water when working out, but I like to add the all-day tab to my water at work. I feel like I drink too much water sometimes, and it really throws off my electrolyte balance. These tabs are awesome for helping with that! Has anyone else tried Nuun electrolyte tabs?

Nuun

ACL Post-Surgery 9 Months

9 Months Post-Op Summary (10/16/2014)

  • Running 2-10 miles a week
  • Circuit/tabata workouts 1-2 times a week – with HIIT – sprints on the treadmill, ab work, etc
  • Workout classes like barre and heated workout classes
  • Yoga 1-3 times a week. Classes but also practicing at home
  • Still a little swelling in my knee, it comes and goes. I can sit back a little more easily on my heels since last month
  • I have been running longer distances, usually 4-6.5 miles. I sometimes have to give myself a few days rest, as my knee (outside left) feels a little off/sore. This is an indicator that I need to strengthen my quad muscles more… meaning more squats!
  • Went to an orange theory HIIT class the other week, and my RIGHT knee started to hurt! I’ve been trying to build up more strength on the right side of my right leg – from my ankle to my hip – as there is some serious instability and weakness going on there. I have had soreness in my right knee/knee cap and all up and down my right leg for a while, and I am wondering what is really happening. I have never had knee pain like this before (in my good knee) – I couldn’t jump up or do a squat! This was after doing 30 minutes of sprint intervals on the treadmill (with an incline), so I am wondering if I just overdid it with my workouts.
  • I went to my first Rolfing session today! It is pricey (about $120-$130/session) and painful, but I have heard that it works wonders for athletes (or anyone in general!). You do a series of 10 sessions to re-align the body. I was evaluated standing up: my hips are tilted, my entire left side of my body is slumped lower than my right, my entire torso is tilted/shifted, and my right leg/knee is over-compensating. For my first session, my neck, lungs, shoulders, arms, hips and lower back were worked on. The only way to describe how it felt is that my skin felt like it was being stretched! I could feel the crystals being broken up under my skin, and it HURT. However, only a few hours after my appointment I feel like I have more space to breathe in my lungs (I have always had trouble taking deep breaths). I was told I might feel tired for the next day or so, and to drink lots of water, as the tissue/fascia is opened up, so more fluid is able to flow through. Below is a description of rolfing – has anyone ever tried? If so, what were your results?
    • Wikepedia describes Rolfing as “…an alternative medical treatment marketed by the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration (RISI). The Institute states that Rolfing is a “holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organize(s) the whole body in gravity.” Rolfing is essentially identical to Structural Integration, whereby a forceful technique is used in an attempt to re-position tissues under the skin.
    • “Rolfing is typically performed in a progression of 10 sessions, sometimes called “the recipe,” which is claimed to provide a systematic approach to address goals for the theorized alignment and movement of various body areas. The purported purpose is to educate the body to have better alignment within gravity. Rolfers manipulate the body to move the fascia until they believe it is operating in conjunction with the muscles in a more optimal relationship. In addition to physical manipulation of tissue, Rolfing uses a combination of active and passive movement retraining.”
    • “Skeletal muscles often work in opposing pairs called the “agonist” and the “antagonist”, the one contracting while the other relaxes. Rolf theorized that “bound up”fascia (connective tissues) often restrict opposing muscles from functioning in concert. She aimed to separate the fibers of bound up fasciae manually to loosen them and allow effective movement. She claimed to have found an association between pent-up emotions and tension in muscles. This claim of a muscular/emotional connection is not supported by scientific studies.”
    • Benefits of rolfing: “Rolfing Structural Integration has the ability to dramatically alter a person’s posture and structure. Rolfing SI can potentialy resolve discomfort, release tension and alleviate pain. Rolfing SI aims to restore flexibility, revitalize your energy and leave you feeling more comfortable in your body. The genius of the work rests on Dr. Rolf’s insight that the body is more at ease and functions most effectively when its structure is balanced in gravity. Athletes, dancers, children, business professionals, and people from all walks of life have benefited from Rolfing SI. People seek Rolfing SI as a way to ease pain and chronic stress, and improve performance in their professional and daily activities.”

I am seriously so.excited. for how I am already feeling after only 1 session! Back tightness, sinus issues, IT band tightness, lower back issues, breathing restriction, knee problems… I am hoping a lot of these issues are resolved after my 10 sessions.

So 9 months – not feeling much difference from 7 or 8 months… maybe a little more confidence, and not thinking about my knee so much. And my knee flexibility – never thought I would be doing a scorpion in handstand like this EVER! The human body’s ability to heal after surgery continues to surprise me everyday.

scorpion

Also – I ran my first race last month – 4 miles! Normally, I would have run at a 7:45/8 minute pace… however, I ran at an 8:40 pace. The course was awesome, but I was not feeling good. About 1.5 miles in I was ready to be done! I feel like I have really grown to dislike running because my pace times are not very good. I have to be patient with myself and realize that it will take time to get back to where I was! Besides, I am enjoying yoga and my heated fitness classes way more than running every day 🙂

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