by Professor Lynn Basford
Preparing for Surgery
For those of you who feel there are other ways in which you can prepare for your forthcoming surgery, you might want to consider Yoga.
No we are not suggesting the energetic Hatha, or, Ashtanga Yoga! We are talking about the calming meditative kind that has been shown to be very effective at boosting your immune system, relieving stress and anxiety and improving ‘recuperative’ sleep.
For those of you new to Yoga there are many pathways. Primarily, Yoga is about balance and unity, an ancient art form that can be incorporated into our daily routines. Please note you do not need to wear ‘Yoga attire’ ,just loose fitting clothes that are comfortable. Nor do you need any equipment, just yourselves and a space where you can sit quietly without interruptions .
Primarily, most Yoga sessions start by relaxing and stilling the mind through the process of focused breathing. The technical term is called Pranayama- otherwise known as the art of yoga breathing. The art of focused breathing enables us to take in more nourishing oxygen and breathe away toxins that have built up in our system. It is a process that is life supporting without which we would die.
Unfortunately, when our bodies are stressed our breathing is shallow that limits our life giving respiratory function. Its like the gas button being on the slow burner, taking forever to cook something hot. We know its not functioning to full capacity, but forget its all blocked up and needs a good service. Learning how to breathe properly not only prepares your body and mind more fully, but will enable easier recovery from surgery.
How do you start ?
As stated earlier make yourself warm and comfortable in a quiet space.
- Close your eyes and place your hands near your belly button interlacing your fingers.
- Be mindful of your breath, follow the rise and fall so that your fingers gently slide apart.
- Now start to focus on each stage of the full breath cycle as follows:
Each complete breath has four stages:
The In Breath – Focus your mind on your breathe and take a deep breathe in filling your lungs and letting your abdomen rise gently,
The Out Breath – Expel all the air from your lungs,
Pause in what is known as, ‘still point’, no air in or out.
- Breathe like this 15-20 times as deeply as you can without discomfort or force.
- Now slide your hands up to your ribcage.
- Continue with focused breathing and visualise the breath filling in your body from the bottom up. First the belly, then the ribs. Feel the ribs expand in all directions– not just forward, but sideways and into your back.
- As you exhale, retrace the steps from the inhale. Exhale starting from the ribs, finishing in your navel. NB Do not force the breath, gently pull in your navel was you expel the air out.
- Repeat this process another 15-20 times. separate your hands and breathe normally and open your eyes.
- Note how much calmer you feel….
Remember we need to breathe to live!
Practice this twice a day prior to surgery and you will reap the benefits.
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