*all photos are still shots from Self-Care for Abdominal Adhesions
Did you know that yoga can really help with abdominal adhesions? Yes, indeedy.
Apart from the fact that a quality yoga class will ask the use of your spine in every possible direction (even if you have restrictions) in addition to strengthening your core muscles – which will very naturally give your internal belly a good workout – there are specific poses which can actively help to break up adhesions.
But, before I tell you what they are I will say this: Be mindful! Please DO try these, but don’t hurl yourself into them as if they were an oasis in the middle of your desert. Just like guzzling huge amounts of water after being severely dehydrated (or any time, really), overdoing these poses can be, let’s say, not good for you. Practiced mindfully, they are Very Good for You!
Here are three of my favorites. Favorites because you can get an incredible amount of mileage out of them belly- and low-back-wise.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana):Lie comfortably on your belly on a firm surface. Breathe into your belly. Touch your thumbs to the front of your shoulders and then lower your bent arms to the floor keeping your hands at that distance. Strongly press your hips into the ground beneath you. This will naturally float your head and shoulders. Don’t use your arms yet. Breathe into your belly, keeping your hips engaged all the time. When you are ready, bring your elbows underneath you, and lever up even farther into baby Cobra.
Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders in a straight line. Keep your hips engaged to float your head and shoulders even higher (don’t sink into your shoulder joints) and keep breathing down into your belly. Feel the stretch of your belly down and forward. If you want to lever up onto your hands for full Cobra, that’s great!
Just remember to keep your hips strongly engaged into the ground the whole time. Keep your breath in your belly and your belly moving down and forward. To lower out, keep your hips pressed down and your breath flowing until you are at rest once again.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana): Lie comfortably on your belly on a firm surface. Breathe into your belly. Strongly press your hips into the ground beneath you. This will naturally float your head and shoulders. Lift your arms off the floor at your sides and straighten them like you are reaching for your feet. Breathe into your belly. Keep your hips pressing into the floor at all times. Let your legs lift off the floor, keeping them straight. Continue breathing into your belly, letting your breath lift and lower your whole body. Hips still press down.
When you are ready, keep your hips engaged into the floor and lower your limbs and head back down. Breathe into your belly. This is unbound bow pose. If you want to bind it, follow the same procedure and then bend your knees and reach back to hold on to your feet or ankles.
As before, keep your hips engaged the entire time through the active part of the pose and as you lower out. Keep your breath flowing.
Leg Lifts: Lie comfortably on your back. Gently engage your low back into the ground. With bent or straight legs (you can use just one leg and alternate or use both legs at the same time), lift your legs toward the ceiling.
If you feel your low back go into a strong arch, stop and start again. Only lift as far as you can without your back arching. As you go, you will gain the strength to keep your low back “neutral” through the whole range of motion, so just keep practicing at a reasonable pace.
As you go, check in not only with your low back, but also with your neck to make sure you’re not holding any extra tension there as your core works.
Have fun! And let me know how it goes . . .
- Isabel Spradlin is a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and abdominal adhesion specialist in Portland, OR. She specializes in educating people about manual treatment (massage) for abdominal pain and dysfunction, especially when it is adhesion related. Please see the "Programs" page to see her offerings.