Pay Attention; Know Yourself

On Thursday, I dragged my sorry, tired butt into Rite Aid to pick up a perscription – flonase. I’ve been using it for several years (I’ll get to why in a minute). There I stood, trying to pay for my drugs, and being so tired that doing things like signing my receipt were confusing me. I looked at the woman and said, “I am so sorry. I just got out of yoga and my brain is not functioning properly.” She had a nice response, “Oh yoga! I wondered why you had been looking so healthy.” Of course I didn’t tell her I had gotten to the studio at 8:30 and left at 1:00. I was too tired to get into all that.

Buying the flonase reminded me of something very important about yoga. When I first started practicing, almost three years ago, I had a lot of problems with dizziness. I was always sitting down. At some point an instructor spoke to me about how much I was sitting out. It didn’t make sense, he said, that I was having these kinds of problems after coming for a couple of months. I should be used to the heat. We went over all the usual suspects. It wasn’t a hydration issue or a food issue. I wasn’t on any medication (not even the flonase at that point). Yet I really did have problems with being dizzy in the hot room (and only the hot room). It stunk that we couldn’t figure out why, but I knew what was happening wasn’t in my head.

Well, one day I got a cold. Then my nose got really stuffed up. Mark thought I had a sinus infection. I went to a doctor and found out I did not have a sinus infection. I, lucky me, had nasal polyps. I had them bad too. This explained a lot of symptoms I had outside the hot room which included not being able to smell very well. I had to have surgey to get them removed. Now I can breathe like a regular person (and smell things!). It is awesome.

But, here’s what I figured out. The nasal polyps effected my ability to breathe. When I was in yoga, I was never getting enough oxygen through my nose because of the polyps, and we’re only supposed to breathe through our nose. So if I was only doing that, then of course I was suffering from lack of oxygen and getting dizzy. However, I probably was also grabbing air through my mouth even if I didn’t realize it. That could have been making me dehydrated.

My point is this: The issues I experienced in class up to the surgery were real. No, they didn’t make sense to anyone on the surface, but they were real. Checking for nasal polyps isn’t what people normally think of when they have problems in the hot room. Instructors always say you know your body better than anyone else, and that’s true.  When you run into a problem in class, it may take awhile to sort it out. It is important to think about if it’s an actual problem or just your mind trying to talk you out of doing postures (lazy brain!). If it’s a real issue don’t shy away from it. Trust yourself that it’s real and work to figure it out.