I am a long time yoga practitioner and teacher. In my late forties I chose to take an indefinite break from teaching classes and that was when I decided to go ahead with breast augmentation surgery. It was something I’d contemplated for a while, as I’s always wanted to feminize my lean and athletic frame which had never been balanced by curves – especially as my natural muscle tone over emphasized my bony chest.
Before going ahead with the surgery I thoroughly researched all the pros and cons. I was surprised at the lack of information available online for both yoga enthusiasts and athletes. I wondered how having the surgery and implants would affect my daily asana practice, and also my comfort when running, as I’d recently started doing social fun runs. (I’d loved running when I was young but health issues got in the way – and eventually lead me into a life long relationship with yoga.)
The surgeon I chose had no concerns about my ability to return to an advanced practice – however he did raise his eyebrows at some of the balance and backbend photos I showed him, and recommended leaving those poses until after the 3 month mark. His overall advice followed the standard conservative approach of other surgeons: no running for 6 weeks, and no upper body gym workouts for 3 months.
The blog posts that follow are a summary of my recovery journey, with specific focus on my progressive return to yoga asana and running. This may provide a helpful guide to other yoga practitioners and athletes who are contemplating breast augmentation and want to know what to expect. Please remember that you must listen to your own body when healing from surgery. Just because I have been able to return to doing a certain pose in so many weeks, this is not indicative of what you should attempt to be doing. (At the time of my surgery I had been practicing yoga daily for 20 years.)
Week 1 Post Op:
I asked the surgeon for an implant size that would give me a balanced figure without it affecting my ability to do yoga, run or other physical activities. My surgery was under the muscle, with incisions in the inframammary crease fold. My implants are polyurethane coated silicone gel, volume 315cc. This has increased my breast size from a small 34B cup to a 34D cup.
I was given a compression strap to wear across the top of my chest for 2 weeks to prevent the implants rising as I have well developed pec muscles.
For the first few days I didn’t feel like doing anything very physical. The pressure in my chest from the strap was very intense. I went for an easy walk every day, but didn’t attempt any stretching as my upper body movements were very restricted. Normal daily routines became quite challenging at times!
On day 4 I had a follow-up with the surgeon and he was very happy with the result. I had no pain anymore, but the compression strap was still very uncomfortable to be wearing 24/7.
On day 5 I stopped taking pain medication and I attempted a few cautious stretches. Gentle forward bends were possible, but only with arms resting by my side. No twisting or back-bending movements possible. Lying on my back was impossible.
On days 6 and 7 I attempted a few gentle forward bends. Other than the restriction in upper torso movement, I was feeling really good overall by the end of the first week.