Yoga Sequences for Recovery

Yoga can be helpful in recovering from anxiety issues.
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Whether relief from day-to-day stress or anxiety, returning from a sports injury, recuperating from a major surgery or ridding yourself of addiction, recovery comes in many entirely different forms. Each situation has individual challenges, and to help get through each, there are different yoga sequences.

Recovery From Everyday Stress

Karen Macklin, in "Yoga Journal," says, " A restorative practice can rest your body, stretch your muscles, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and calm your nervous system." A restorative yoga routine consists of poses that are held for several minutes at a time, using props such as bolsters and blankets, while focusing on deeply relaxing the body and mind. Try a sequence including Legs-Up-the-Wall pose, Reclining Bound Angle Pose and Corpse pose. (See Reference1)

Recovery From Addiction

Tommy Rosen, a recovering addict who has been studying yoga since 1991 and developed his Yoga for Recovery program in 2003, says "The energy of addiction and all its causes lives in the body." The work of yoga, he says, is to move that destructive energy out of the body's tissues and replace it with healthier energy. Rosen's program combines Kundalini and Ashtanga yoga to detoxify the body, along with meditation to learn to be present and centered. (See Reference 2) Try a sequence of poses that require deep breaths and powerful body movements, such as the Sun Salutation, followed by several minutes of meditation.

Recovery From Injury

A sports-related injury, such as shin splints from running, will benefit from gentle yoga stretches that work directly on the affected muscles. For example, shin splints, according to, are caused by too much force being applied to the shin bone and its connective tissues. (See Reference 5) Sage Rountree, author of "The Athlete's Guide to Yoga," says in "Yoga Journal" that over-use injuries, such as shin splints, may be counteracted by a sequence including the Half Moon pose, Low Lunge and Head of the Knee pose. (3) "Women's Health" magazine recommends the Monkey pose, or yoga splits, for this problem. (4)

Recovery From Illness

A serious illness saps energy and takes an immediate toll on muscle strength. A report prepared by the Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center for the University of Florida found that just seven days of bed rest resulted in a 10 to 20 percent loss of muscle strength. The report recommended progressive stretching and deep breathing as important aspects of the recovery process. (See Reference 6) Many yoga poses can be adapted for bedridden patients; for example, simply pointing the toes and then pulling them back toward the shins will stretch and strengthen knee joints and calf muscles. If the person is able to sit up with his legs over the edge of the bed, a yoga sequence may include seated versions of Knee to Chest pose, Spinal Twist, seated leg lifts and arm lifts to build strength in the major muscle groups, accompanied by deep, diaphragmatic breathing.

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