Saturday, January 14, 2012

Something New

...And not just a new blog layout!

It's taken me a while to process the fact that it's a new year. I keep writing 2011 when I sign checks or write the dates on HW assignments. I'm not one who's big on making and then desperately trying to keep rigid resolutions, but I do like to take a moment to reflect on what changes I wouldn't mind coming my way ;-)

I think, if anything, I'm resolving to do more of the same. One is to keep settling into myself, allowing myself to be comfortable in my own skin rather than working so hard to fix every imperfection. The other is to be as open as possible to new experiences.

I started the new year with one of those: two weeks without a Bikram class--the longest it's been without being forced to due solely to travel! This wasn't by choice, though. The day I got back from Sedona, I got some sort of cold/sicky thing that hung around for at least a week. Since it's the new year and the room is packed, I figured I'd do my fellow yogis a favor and sit it out a few days. The anticipation--and the "I'm a bad absent yogi guilt"--mounted.

Breathing in
Finally, Friday a.m. came. With no morning classes to teach and no yucky symptoms to coddle, I confidently rolled out my mat. I breathed warm, humid air into my lungs during Pranyama and kicked my leg out proudly during Standing Head to Knee. And then.... I was just done. You ever work on a really tedious task, avoiding looking at the clock, thinking, surely, hours must be going by, only to find it's been about 13 minutes? That fun feeling hit me by Standing Bow.

I spent most of the class on the floor, trying to convince myself that I wasn't humiliating myself and that I shouldn't have stayed home. I tried to be a good yogi and just stay present, breathing the humid air into my desert-dry lungs. I slogged home, drank a bunch of juice, and spent the rest of the day in that occasional unpleasant post-yoga hangover: wrung out, headachey, unmotivated, yet unable to sleep. Ugh. It's not a fun combo.

Still, I dragged myself out to dinner, hoping that the warm glow of the pub and friends' faces (not to mention its greasy and delicious fried food) would snap me out of it. I wasn't halfway through a glass of wine when it hit: migraine! Crap. And I had been ignoring all the warning signs: post-illness, intense exercise, citrus, and now alcohol (both common migraine triggers). I excused myself early and dragged myself home.

Now, you migraine sufferers know that once it gets under way, it can feel like a full-blown attack in a war that lasts hours. I tried to resign myself to its course--fighting never seems to help much--and settled into bed, readying my iPhone to a Jack Kornfield talk should the need for his soothing words arise.

But not two hours later, I remembered seeing Deepak Chopra on TV not six months before, talking about a meditation-based/biofeedback-ish technique for easing the pain of migraines. The instructions are as follows:

"Put your hands out and then close your eyes. Watch your breath for a few seconds and bring all of your awareness into the middle of your chest. Listen to your heartbeat and tell it to slowdown. Now move your awareness into your fingertips, and focus on experiencing your heartbeat as a throbbing sensation that has moved there. This technique diverts blood from your brain into your limbs, reducing blood pressure and slowing your heart rate so your headache goes away."
From "A How-to Guide to Holistic Health"

I did this, more or less, in about five or ten minutes while lying in bed. And would you know, it worked! I actually fell asleep--something that doesn't happen for hours into the migraine cycle. I woke up a couple of hours later but simply tried it again and slept through the night. I woke up feeling relatively normal.

It could be a coincidence that I managed to interrupt the typical course of a migraine. But I'd rather chalk it up to being willing to try something new :-)

1 comment:

BikramYoginiRunner said...

Deepak Chopra to the rescue. I love him! I hope you had better Bikram classes since this post. I used to suffer from terrible migraines when I was in college.

Lots of love!