Can I Do Yoga With A Pacemaker?

A pacemaker cannot stop your movement. You can carry your daily routine as usual after getting a pacemaker installed. And if you are wondering can I do yoga with a pacemaker then we have got you covered.

Getting through heart surgery and having a pacemaker installed after that can cause a drastic change in your lifestyle. People who have got a pacemaker installed prefer to keep themselves fit and healthy and exercise regularly. 

Can I Do Yoga With A Pacemaker
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However, after installing a pacemaker, there might be some limitations to what sort of exercises an individual can do, one of them being Yoga, the ancient practice involving meditation, movement, and breathing techniques for physical and mental well-being. 

Regular practice of Yoga can lead to flexibility, strength, endurance, calmness, and well-being. In this article, we will discuss if Yoga can be practiced by those who have a pacemaker.

You might also like to read : How Long After Eating To Do Yoga?

What Is A Pacemaker?

Firstly, we need to understand what a pacemaker is.

A pacemaker generates small electrical impulses which help the heart muscles contract, thereby pumping blood into the body. Pacemaker functions as an electrical conduction system of the heart.

We now need to understand a bit about the design of the pacemaker and what doctors say about it.

Pacemakers consist of two basic parts: a generator and leads. A generator is implanted under the skin between the shoulder and chest, and the wires known as leads stretch from the generator to the heart. 

The design of the leads is such that it allows free movement. The leads flex when the shoulder or arm nearest to the pacemaker moves while performing daily activities.

Can I Do Yoga With A Pacemaker
Photograph: Canva Stock Photo

Doctors advise patients to exercise with caution while lifting weights, rowing, and arm strengthening machines. Doing them repetitively or every day can also wear out the parts of the leads. Any activity involving excessive extension of the arm nearest to the pacemaker should be avoided. 

This is applicable for yoga as well, where precautions need to be taken for activities involving arm extension. Yoga poses that involve excessive extension in the lead of the pacemaker, should be avoided.

Practicing Yoga after getting a pacemaker installed should only be done upon the approval of the doctor.

Further, body awareness is encouraged and should be approached slowly. There shouldn’t be any jerky movements while practicing the poses.

Modifications in Yoga Poses While Practicing Yoga With A Pacemaker 

  • Try shoulder stands with legs against the wall as an alternative to a full handstand
  • Instead of Wheel Pose (Chakrasana), try Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
  • Avoid doing deep back bends like King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) or Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
  • Perform Four-limbed Staff Yoga Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana) with a modified plank
  • Avoid stretches like Full Floor Bow (Dhanurasana). Instead make some modifications, like taking support of one hand
  • While performing Sun Salutations (Suryanamaskaras), ensure that you don’t over stretch your body. Typically Sun Salutations are done repeatedly, usually 5 rounds at a time. With each round, practitioners deepen their stretches. However, with a pacemaker, ensure that you don’t stretch your body too much
Modified Plank Pose (Phalakasana); Photograph: Canva Stock Photo

Things To Take Care Of While Doing Yoga With a Pacemaker

  • It is important to be mindful of your breathing as it can affect your heart rate. Most practices in yoga involving breathing practices are alright, but if you feel lightheaded or dizzy, you should stop the breathing practice and resume your normal rhythm of breathing. It is important to focus on your breathing while practicing yoga and be aware of it while on a pacemaker.
  • Deep backbend poses where arms undergo a lot of tension can cause them to pull out the leads, which could seem to be the biggest concern for active people with a pacemaker.
  • Being careful not to pull out a lead, the yoga poses can be adopted while being on the mat. Don’t be disappointed because you can always pursue other options in your yoga class since there are no expectations or judgments in yoga.
  • Understand your body and choose modifications or alternatives to your yoga exercise.
  • To avoid hurting yourself during practice, it is very important to inform your yoga instructor about your pacemaker as they can provide you with alternatives according to your condition.
  • While practicing yoga, using pre-recorded sessions, be mindful of how much you should stretch. Stop immediately, if you feel any discomfort and seek medical help.

You might also like to read : Why Do I Yawn During Yoga? Is It Natural To Do So?

Some More Tips

As far as practicing yoga is concerned, after installing a pacemaker, patients should begin slowly and then resume their normal motion with movements after three months of successful implantation. 

Three months after installing the pacemaker are crucial as the body is still adapting to this change. It is important to give time and understand how your body and heart respond to it. 

Moreover, the strength and endurance of the shoulder and the body gets restored slowly. It is important to be aware by poses that could cause discomfort or pain and refrain from such movements. A person’s performance in yoga is also dependent on their overall fitness, age and time period since they have been practicing.

Yoga is more than just a typical workout and is meant to bring balance to your body by being helpful and restorative.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana); Photograph: Canva Stock Photo

Answers To Commonly Asked Questions

What can you not do after a pacemaker?

After installing a pacemaker, stretching and strenuous activity should be avoided for 4-6 weeks, after which you can resume most of your activities and even sports.

However, while playing contact sports such as rugby or football, it is very important to avoid a collision as it can cause damage to the pacemaker. Wearing a protective pad is advised while playing sports.

Some of the other things to keep in mind and not do are, using an induction hob if it is less than 2 feet away from your pacemaker and keeping MP3 players 6 inches away from your pacemaker. Mobiles and cordless phones can be used but in the opposite ear of the pacemaker.

Can a person with a pacemaker exercise?

A person with a pacemaker should start with soft exercises. It is important to gradually increase the level of your intensity. Overtime, exercises such as strength training and aerobics could be performed by persons with pacemakers. Experts recommend physical activity as it contributes towards better health. 

Can I Do Yoga With A Pacemaker
Photograph: Canva Stock Photo

What exercises to avoid with a pacemaker?

Exercises to avoid with a pacemaker are moderate to vigorous exercises using the upper body such as bowling, weights, swimming, golf, tennis, etc., particularly for the first 4- 12 weeks. You can resume these exercises upon approval from your doctor.

Contact sports such as hockey and football should also be avoided. Exercises involving an extensive range of motion in the shoulders should also be avoided during the first six weeks of the surgery and even after that, as the pacemaker leads can get damaged.

Can I do pushups with a pacemaker?

Doing push ups using a pacemaker is not allowed as it can cause the lead wires of the pacemaker to get damaged. Because of which the pacemaker will not function properly since the wire leads are placed near the arm.

And an excessive extension of the arm nearest to the pacemaker can wear out the parts of the leads. It is advisable to check with your doctor to get into any strenuous activity of going in for stretching and extension activities.  

Can I do Yoga with a pacemaker?

Yoga can be done while you are on a pacemaker. Get your doctor’s approval before starting yoga and inform the yoga instructor that you have a pacemaker. This will help the yoga instructor to provide you with alternative yoga exercises.

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