Yoga can have many health benefits, such as improving flexibility and muscle strengthening, which can help reduce joint pain in the short term. But getting back into the swing of yoga after hip replacement surgery is a progressive process that should be taken cautiously and gradually. You will need to avoid certain positions for a while after surgery, dictated by how your surgery was carried out, and you may need to make modifications to other positions and forms you use to ensure you do not injure yourself. However, over time, you will be able to go back to practicing yoga like you used to, just but perhaps with a few little tweaks.
The best yoga after hip replacement surgery
The best form of yoga to practice immediately after hip replacement surgery is upper body chair yoga. This isolates the movements to just your upper body and eliminates the risk of accidental strain or damage to your hip joint. If you’re feeling more confident, you can start to look at taking restorative yoga classes, which incorporate slow movements that focus on gentle transitions and relaxation. However, before attempting any yoga you should consult with your doctor and get sign-off from them to ensure it’s safe. There will be a certain amount of time you’ll need to wait for your hip replacement to fully heal before you can start pushing your range of motion, so patience is key.
Yoga poses to avoid after a hip replacement
A major issue that traditional yoga poses can have after a hip replacement is dislocation. Your artificial hip will be designed to function and withstand everyday activities but not necessarily more intensive physical exercises and yoga poses, and in the short-term certain movements can be especially risky.
If your surgery was conducted via posterior entry to the hip, then these movements and asanas can put your hip replacement at risk:
- Adduction (crossing your knees)
- Hip flexing (folding yourself forwards)
- Internal rotation (turning your thighs inwards)
- Balasana (Child’s Pose, incorporating hip flexing)
- Garudasana (Eagle Pose, incorporating adduction and hip flexing)
- Gomukhasana (Cow face pose, incorporating adduction and hip flexing)
- Uttanasana (standing forwards fold, incorporating hip flexing and internal rotation)
If your surgery was conducted via anterior entry to the hip, then these movements and asanas can put your hip replacement at risk:
- Abduction (moving your leg outwards)
- Hyperextension (flexing your hips outwards)
- External rotation (turning your thighs outwards)
- Back-bends (incorporating hyperextension of hips)
- Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose, incorporating abduction and external rotation)
- Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose, due to hyperextension of the back leg)
- Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pole, incorporating abduction and external rotation)
- Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I, incorporating hyperextension of the back leg)
- Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II, incorporating abduction and external rotation)
There are many different modified forms of yoga poses which exist, minimising the most intense actions which could result in damage to your artificial hip. After consulting your doctor about getting back into yoga, the next step is to speak with your yoga instructor to ask them about modified positions. They may be able to show you modified versions of poses or recommend that you find a yoga class specifically for those who’ve had hip replacements. If you’re considering a hip replacement and are concerned about how it might affect your lifestyle then book an appointment with one of our orthopaedic consultants who can guide you through what the surgery and recovery process will be and provide you with all the reassurance you need.