Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yoga with my New Hip

Yoga has become such a part of my life that I’ve missed it dearly for the past 4 months.  One month because I really couldn’t do it with my old hip joint. 3 months because my surgeon restricted my range of motion so I wouldn’t dislocate the new hip gadgetry. He’d said I could resume yoga after 6 months if the x-ray showed my leg bone had grown in enough around the metal rod. Being the impatient exercise junky that I am, I emailed him – please could I start yoga and Pilates, NOW?

He wrote back yes, provided I don’t do anything that hurts or feels like it might dislocate the gadgetry. (Gadgetry is my word, not his.)

Yay! I went to yoga last Sunday.  I told the teacher. I’m not supposed to bring my thighs near my chest or cross my legs above the ankle.  Other than that, I can do yoga.  Child’s pose is out! Most twisted poses are out.  But I could do triangle and camel, and standing poses, and plank poses.  My teacher is trained in Iyengar Yoga and knows how to modify everything, use props, and make yoga possible.

Class starts with princess-on-the pea (not the yoga name). Every body sits on a stack of blankets high enough that the knees are no higher than the pelvis, with the ankles crossed.  Before surgery, I needed 4 or 5 blankets for my left leg, and the right knee drooped.  This time, 3 blankets were enough and both knees were level.  

Everything I’ve tried to do since the surgery has shown me how weak my left leg and hip are compared to the right.  But this time, both legs were equal.  This was something that the surgery had improved without my having to work at it.  Yay!  Of course my elation was short lived as the teacher talked us through the small muscles movements that fine-tune the pose.  But that’s just work – possible work – not my hip refusing to even try.

Everybody else tried revolved triangle.  I did regular triangle.  I didn’t fall. I didn’t bend to the side as far as I used to, but that’s not the point. I got the stretch. I got the balance work. I got that yoga feeling. http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/494  – regular triangle
http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/692 – revolved triangle

We did chaturanga, which starts as a front plank and lowers to a frozen mid-way pushup.  That’s a pose that doesn’t challenge my hip at all. This time it was my shoulder that grouched.  4 months of not doing it, took its toll.  But I can get back to it.  I can have my life back.
http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/469 – chaturanga dandasana

We did camel, which is a kneeling backbend in which the full pose has the person place hands on the ankles while keeping the thighs vertical, showed me that my hip flexors (both, not just the left) are stiff. I needed blocks up-ended beside my ankles.  Again – so what? I got the stretch. I got the feeling that I go to yoga class to get.  http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/688 – camel pose

Yay for yoga!


  1. In 8 days I am to have a new hip joint and I have practised Iyengar yoga for 40 years started in 1972. Each day I am losing asanas that I could once do easily - janu sirsan asana +
    all the standings it is so disheartening.

    I would love to hear how you are progressing now 10 months on?
    Bath U.K>

    1. As of 10 months, I can now put my head on the floor with my legs crossed. I can put my head on my knees. There are some things like sitting between my feet with knees together that will be impossible forever. But I can do about 90% of what I could do before my hip became unworkable. This new hip is giving me my life back. I walk without a cane. I ride my bike for miles and miles. And it's starting to feel normal, instead of like walking on a gadget. I think I could be a poster geezer for hip replacement.