Weight Loss Surgery Recovery Made Easier: Bariatric Yoga

Bariatric surgery recovery can be made easier with gentle “bariatric yoga.” It’s helping many get healthy.

Weight loss surgery recovery isn’t easy, but bariatric yoga can help. Dr. Matthew Cook practiced yoga before he went to medical school and even taught it after he graduated. Later, while working in a hospital and helping coordinate a recovery program for bariatric surgery patients, an idea seemed obvious.

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“I realized at that point: Hey, I teach yoga and this is where I work,” he said. “I gotta bring ‘em together.”

With bariatric yoga, Cook guides recovering weight loss surgery patients through moving and breathing exercises that are simple, but work well. Through this technique, he said, the patient can relieve pain and feel he is doing something to promote health, even immediately after surgery.

“When you’ve had surgery, a couple things that happen,” Cook said. “One, the lungs get a little compressed, as a result of the anesthesia. And then there is a tendency to just feel you can’t do anything. And you’re lying in bed and a lot of times, you don’t feel supported. It’s a difficult situation for a lot of patients. There’s pain, you’re a little bit nervous. And what you need is something to make you feel good, feel confident and say, ‘Hey. I can do this.’”

When it comes to lifestyle, Cook said the practice of yoga is among the best a person can choose. It combines exercise with a sense of mental peace.

“That’s something that bariatric patients need a lot,” he said. “Because they are going to lose weight, but as they lose weight, they need to have something that gives them emotional calmness and helps them feel good.”

One reason for this is that yoga does a wonderful job on the mechanics of the mind. “When you lose a lot of weight, we have sort of a Google map that goes out from our brain out to our body so that we know what’s going on,” Cook said. “You know where your hands are, things like that. When you do yoga, you’re continually resetting the neurological map of your body. When you do this, the neurological map stays very intact and clean. And movement is going to be better. And for a lot of people who have joint pain and issues after the surgery? That is taken care of when they get into a program of activity.”

Through bariatric yoga, weight loss patients can do nothing but gain. “Little by little, you’re going to be on a journey of health that is going to make you so strong and so healthy, you’re going to be doing things you probably can’t even imagine,” he said.

2 Responses

  1. Sandy Haire

    Does this also work for hiatal hernia repair surgery and LES repair that in theory works a lot like the lap band surgery? I have been doing yoga flow and I’m two weeks post surgery. I want to practice slow yoga but I’m afraid to hurt myself. What do you recommend?

  2. Brenda

    The Kestel family is focisung on you and your recovery every day, Kevin! Your friendship to Steven has always been a blessing for our family. Be strong, have faith, and bathe yourself in the love of your family and friends to find that strength and will to create a miracle healing!