Yoga for Knee Replacements
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Yoga for Knee ReplacementsHave you ever wondered how Yoga might help a loved one, who is recovering from surgery? Each case is different, but Yoga offers all of us the opportunity to have a complete recovery, as we feel the healing benefits of our practice.
Q: My mother just underwent knee joint replacement surgery last Tuesday. I have been doing a lot of studying on this and was wondering if there was a sequence that you recommend for knee replacement patients.
A: About your mother and knee replacements: She is going to have to go easy for a while, because her recovery from knee surgery will take some time. That time frame should be determined by her physician and physical therapist.
She should have a list of restrictions and contraindications from her physician. In fact, she should not practice Hatha Yoga until she receives the “go ahead” from her physician. Additionally, in relation to Yoga, she should approach it with moderation.
1. If she kneels at all, it should be on a cushion. Some people prefer a firm cushion. I have one student who uses a blanket; while another, uses two or three layers of mat, and another skips kneeling altogether. The expression, “time heals” is accurate because over time, she will have much less pain.
Many postures, like Camel, can be modified in chair Yoga. The back bend can be performed while sitting, instead of kneeling.
2. Anything that hurts, should be eliminated from her routine. Pain tells all and nobody should push through joint pain.
3. Knee folding postures should be approached with caution. Lotus and King Pigeon are definitely not recommended. Easy posture might be possible, one leg at a time; and she should not expect her knees to perform in the same way.
If her knees do perform the same, it is a “blessing.” I have a student who had knee replacement surgery five years ago. She comfortably sits in Easy posture. However, another student with similar surgery, may have less range of motion.
4. Extremely long stances, in a standing series, are not recommended.
5. Use caution in Chair Pose (Ukatasana). There is no need to go too deep, because this pose can be unnecessarily painful within the knee joints.
6. Go easy with balancing postures, at least, for 3 months; and be cautious with Eagle and Crane poses.
7. Absolutely no forcing of the knees while going in, out, or holding, an asana.
8. The alignment of the hips and ankles is very important, as it should stabilize the knee, while preventing strain or incorrect movement.
9. Props should be used for proper alignment, as they also help stabilize the knees and the entire body.
As long as your mother follows the above guidelines, she can do almost anything else in moderation, when she has her physician’s approval to practice Yoga.
© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Yoga For Senior Citizens
By Dr Rita Khanna
Life starts at 60, as you are passing through just another beautiful phase in life. The responsibilities are over & the time to be at ease has begun. In fact, it is a stage when you have so much more time to devote to yourself. This is also the time to do futuristic planning for a very healthy older life by initiating yourself into regular Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation & a host of hobbies like gardening, swimming, reading & writing.
The Physiology Of Aging
As we age, our bodies undergo a number of degenerative physiological changes in the skin, bones, heart, blood vessels, lungs, nerves and other organs and tissues. Ailments that are linked to old age are joints inflexibility, poor blood circulation, arthritis, vision problems, blood pressure, lower back pain, osteoporosis, digestive disorders, difficulty in breathing, stress-related problems, unable to sleep peacefully & chronic pains. The reasons of many of these problems may be insufficient exercise, unwise eating habits and shallow breathing. Three conditions that are very common in the older people are arthritis, osteoporosis & hypertension.
Arthritis is a medical condition that affects the joints and causes pain, swelling and stiffness. Two of the most common types that affect are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
RA is a chronic inflammation of the joint lining (synovium), which leads to weakness, loss of mobility and eventual destruction and deformity of the joints. Because RA is a systemic disease, it affects other organs in the body. Yoga improves musculoskeletal flexibility and range of motion (ROM) which helps to restore flexibility and improve circulation to joints. Systematic yoga exercise relaxes and softens contracted muscles, ligaments and other tissues and tones up those, which are weakened. Asanas such as the bound angle pose (butterfly) increase the space within the joints, cat pose provides both extension and flexion and the tree pose strengthens surrounding ligaments and tissues.
Osteo Arthritis (OA)
OA is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage in the part of the joint that cushions the ends of bones. This causes the bones to rub directly against each other, causing pain and limiting movement. OA affects the hands and weight-bearing joints, such as those in the knees, hips, feet and back. OA can lead to long-term joint damage, chronic pain, loss of function and disability. Yoga is a weight-bearing exercise that can help stimulate bone growth in people of all ages. By contracting the muscles around the bones, yoga poses create a force that encourages bone maintenance throughout all areas of the body. By strengthening the muscles supporting the joints and providing balance training, yoga can also reduce the risk of falls, a major concern for the old. Postures such as cobra, quadruped opposite arm and leg raises and modified camel pose increase muscular strength around the spine, improve posture and relieve spinal compression.
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers; the top value (120) is the systolic blood pressure, which measures the force of blood in the arteries as the heart beats, whereas the bottom value (80) is the diastolic blood pressure, which records the force of blood as the heart relaxes during beats. It is important to remember that blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day. However, when blood pressure stays elevated over time, it is classified as hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension is dangerous because it causes the heart to work too hard, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. A blood pressure level of 140/90 mmHg or above is considered hypertensive. Hypertension is usually the result of lifestyle factors, such as obesity, stress, high alcohol and sodium intake or genetics. Hypertension can be treated with Pranayama, guided relaxation, meditation, diet and exercise. Pranayama such as Anulome- Vilome, Sheetali & Bhramari are very good in hypertension. These techniques relax the mind & help in returning both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels to normal more quickly. Breath retentions (pausing at the end of the inhalation or exhalation) are not recommended for hypertensive participants.
Simple Yoga Breathing Practice
This simple exercise can reduce stress, teach mindfulness and relieve spinal compression. It is beneficial for people with arthritis, hypertension and osteoporosis.
- Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep knees and feet hip-width apart, hands by the side of the body and palms facing upward. Be comfortable (you can use a small pillow to support the head if you want).
- Close the eyes and observe your natural breath…
- You will notice that your stomach is moving up & down with each breath…
- As you inhale, it is rising… as you exhale, it is falling…
- Take slow, deep, unforced breaths…
- Avoid straining to increase the length of inhalations or exhalations…
- Keep watch on each breath…
- Do this practice 10-12 times …
- When ready to come out of this position, roll onto one side & sit up as slow as possible.
Duties Of Children
At this stage, the grown up children have to take proper care of their parents and they should not forget that these senior people have brought them up by facing many difficulties. These seniors have given them protection and education. Now is the time for them to shower all the love that their parents deserve. It will really help in boosting their confidence. If the future generation takes care of their parents, the old age will not be lonely, difficult or painful. In fact, children can take advantage from the experiences & treasure of knowledge of their parents and grand parents.
If you feel inspired by this article, feel free to publish it in your Newsletter or on your Website. Our humble request is to please include the Resource as follows: Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna’s Yogashaastra Studio. A popular studio that helps you find natural solutions for complete health and detoxification.
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Dr. Rita Khanna
Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in the field of Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into his discipline over two decades ago by world famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh.
She believes firmly that Yoga is a scientific process, which helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy. Over the years, she has been successfully practicing these therapies and providing succour to several chronic and terminally ill patients.
At present, Dr. Rita Khanna is teaching Yoga in Secunderabad. She has been treating and curing various diseases and disorders through Yoga, Diet and Naturopathy and has been achieving tremendous satisfaction in disseminating this virtue.