There’s good news for yoga practitioners who are eager to get back into yoga after their double mastectomy.

My surgeon is familiar with yoga, so when I asked him when I can resume lower body yoga without the use of my arms or hands, he said to use my discretion – his word – when doing the poses.

In his office, I then got into a deep forward lunge (half a crescent pose, arms hanging straight) and asked, “So I can do THIS, then?”

He expressed concern that I might use my hands because he admitted that he needs to use his hands when he does the leg pose that I was demonstrating.

I said I don’t need to use my hands to hold onto anything; that it would be all legs.

He approved this. Thank goodness!

This follow-up appointment with him came nine days after my prophylactic double mastectomy.

Yoga soon after a double mastectomy must be HANDS FREE. Do not do anything for which you may need to support yourself or catch yourself with your hands or hold your foot with a hand.

For example, prior to my preventive double mastectomy I’d been practicing a few hands-free poses that made me prone to toppling, such as the pigeon pose.

I’d have to repeatedly catch myself from toppling sideways by placing a hand on the floor.

Well, those poses are OUT for six weeks post-op. I do not want to take any chances, even if I modify the pose by keeping both arms at my sides.

But the poses that are IN are the ones that I can confidently do without any balancing problems.

Ask your surgeon if you can do “lower body yoga poses without any use of the hands or arms.” Your written post-op instructions for mastectomy probably do not mention yoga poses.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.