Have you ever fallen down in Bikram yoga class? I recently did. It wasn’t pretty, but I survived. I had woken up that morning with a bout of vertigo and an annoying ringing in my left ear (this happens to me sometimes because of my hearing loss) so I knew it was going to be a rough day. I thought class might help reset whatever was out of balance. Maybe that was a mistake.
I got to class and all was well. I set up my mat, greeted my yogi buds and class began. The breathing exercise went fine, as did the first round of Half Moon, but the back bend knocked me out. The room began to spin. As I reversed into the forward bending portion of the posture, I lilted to the side. Luckily, I had my hands on the floor and caught myself as I crashed to my knees on the ground. I was relieved I hadn’t toppled onto my neighbor who was set up very close to me in the crowded class.
Well, that was surprising, but I thought it would pass so I decided to try the second set of half moon. I didn’t make it very far. As I leaned to the left, the room began moving again, my vision blurred and my legs teetered. Again, I was down for the count. This had never happened before. I have sat out postures many times, but never this early in class, and certainly not like this. I was lucky I wasn’t injured.
My mind started racing. Should I leave class? Stay, but remain seated the whole time? Give myself a real rest and try again? I decided on the latter.
I sat out all three parts of both sets of Awkward Pose and stood up for Eagle Pose. This time I was stable. After the water break, I felt fully recovered and was able to function for the rest of class. I skipped Camel Pose to avoid the back bend, which seemed to set me off the first time. I didn’t push myself in any of the postures, but I worked up a sweat and enjoyed class.
This experience was not pleasant, but it taught me an important lesson. When my body is trying to tell me something, I need to listen. I’m not sure if it was pride or shock or stupidity, but I tried to get back in too early after the first incident. I didn’t take the signals my body was sending very seriously. After the second miss, I finally listened. I took a real break to recover fully and was then able to rejoin class safely and productively. Next time I will heed the warning signals more quickly.
Readers, do you listen to your body during class?