I remember the day I was diagnosed in rather a blur. Two days before, I had been hospitalized after spending hours vomiting blood because of a Mallory Weiss Tear in my esophagus. Fortunately, much of that event still remains a blur. I do know that I spent the night in the ER and that I was released the next day once they determined that my internal bleeding had stopped. The night of my release I got my first brain MRI. The next day at 2:00 p.m. my doctor called to give me my diagnoses. His news barely registered but I remember thinking, “Will I still be able to walk?”
After several moments, my husband actually articulated the real question on my mind. “Can she still become a yoga teacher?” My doctor assured us that I could. While I reeled with the news of my diagnoses and tried to process what my doctor was saying, I reassured myself by thinking that I still had about six weeks to get healthy for yoga teacher training. Ironically, when we left for Kaiser to have tests run, I could not even walk without support. At the office, I gratefully allowed myself to be wheeled in.
Even after four days on 500mg of Prednisone a day, I could barely walk. I staggered from couch and bed to bathroom and back to couch and bed, clinging to the walls for support or crawling along the floor. I had never been so sick but still I dreamed about doing yoga. It was several weeks before I could get into any poses.
Asana (physical poses) have always come easily to me. Try as I might, I never could master the yogic breath though. It was only when I began to deal with the pain locking my entire body that the breath began to come. One night, I went to bed and found my body so tight and my vertigo so intense that I wanted to scream. Rather than screaming, I started breathing deeply through my nose like I had practiced in yoga. As I breathed, the pain began to lessen and my muscles relaxed slightly. Each breath brought more relief. I kept breathing, keeping my eyes open to orient myself in space. Finally, I forced myself to move around in bed and breathe into the vertigo.
For hours I breathed, moved and prayed, rubbing my aching limbs at every turn. At the end of two hours the vertigo was gone and most of the pain. During the night I healed. It was probably the steroids that finally brought me back towards health, but it was the yoga that brought me into the light.
To be continued... To read Part 1 click here.
Today I am thankful for my yoga practice.