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Emotional and physical issues arising after yoga??
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Posted: 21 August 2009 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Good morning All

I have just joined this forum, I find the posts extremely helpful.
I started Bikram Yoga about 2 months ago.. and needless to say I am addicted. I was going 4 times a week but now have dropped it down to 3 times a week minimum.

About 2 weeks ago I noticed I was having significant problems catching my breath during the floor series.  I thought I was just exhausted. At the weekend I was rushed to hospital after a rather frightening experience of inability to breath.  Heart and lungs checked out perfect so we know it was not physical.

My homeopathic Dr said he certainly supports yoga 100% as he said it is bringing emotional and physical ailments to the surface.

Has anyone experienced anything similar.  I am not sure how yoga brings those issues to the surface does anyone have any insight???

I am a proponent of balancing the body, mind soul and spirit, I am curious as to what is happening inside my body which is releasing the anxiety..

PS:  Last night I had another bought of inability to breath.. so I am just curious.

Thanks

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Posted: 21 August 2009 11:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Good Morning, UKYogi.

I read your post and thought I would reply.  Good for you for starting, working on and maintaining your practice for 2 months.  I am glad you went to the Dr. to rule out anything serious with your condition.
I remember once way back in my practice that I had a few classes where my “heart ran away from me”, it got really fast and it was very scary.  I was under a lot of stress at the time and wasn’t in the happiest place in my life.  I went to the Dr. and they did an EKG and laughed at me, my results were so good…they pointed to a number on my chart and said this number is so good *because* of your yoga practice.  I pressed and asked them what was wrong when my heart raced.  They said, “Well, don’t work so hard”.  It was a simple answer that changed my whole practice.  I am not sure it will work for you, but it did for me. I backed off some of the poses during the class that I was struggling WAY to hard in and never had the problem resurface.

I had a question re.the comment
“I noticed I was having significant problems catching my breath during the floor series”.
Many people have this issue.  Can I ask if it is during the Spine Strengthening Series or elsewhere in the Floor Series?
 
As far as the yoga bringing emotional issues to the surface, some of the forum threads below will help you see other people dealing with emotions during class or postures.  You can also just type emotions in the search tab and see some of the results.
camel pose - strongly emotional
Angry in Rabbit

Yoga allows us to peel back the layers of stress and protective armor we have built up over the years.  That process can make us feel a little or a lot vulnerable.  When we move through the world with more vulnerability, areas we once balked at feel more tender.  When we feel anxious our breath becomes less deep and we can spiral ourselves into a panic attack.  The yoga class teaches us to use our breath in class to work through difficult postures and sensations.  It is perfect training for “the outside world” when difficult emotions or sensations arise.  Return to the breath, that deep in for 6 counts out for 6 counts breath, through the nose deep into the chest and belly. Feel the centering, meditative, calming whatever you want to call it, effect.
I hope this helps.

Warmly,
Ame

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Posted: 21 August 2009 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Ame, thank you so much for your response, it seems like you had experienced a similar experience to me LOL!!! so now I don’t feel like its just me.. thank you. Everything you said made sense.

I have made a decision to just cut back on pushing myself harder now that I am at this stage in my practice, I am now pushing more into the poses and working to get them"just right” and fulfilling the 60 second timing..

the breathing “issue” is usually on the spine strengthening series.. actually locust pose..

I sit out and just do what I need to do now to catch my breath.

Thanks for the information, I will check back on the forum and look at some of the “emotional” posts as you recommended.

Janet

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Posted: 21 August 2009 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Hi Janet and hi Ame

Thanks for that interchange. I certainly agree with the concept to “use struggle as your guide” - which is what I teach (using those words in fact). Sometimes our expectations of ourselves can be quite unrealistic. This particularly happens in the first period of practice when we are relatively new to hot yoga. As a result the idea of being mindful can fly out the window as achievement takes its place. Awareness of that is usually all it takes to make the learning.

As far as locust goes, usually what happens is with all the effort involved (mostly with the double leg lift and it could be because you are face down) that often the breath is held. Could this be the case with you? Also don’t be concerned with how far of the ground your legs are, just keep them straight and strong and long and then lift them even if it is just an inch or 2. Let us know what sounds right.

Namaste
Gabrielle smile

PS after maybe 5-6 months of practice (so I wasn’t struggling or working too hard) I actually had to leave one class (and I NEVER leave class) because I was having palpitations and my heart wouldn’t slow down for about 40 minutes. I was a bit scared and lay out in the cool corridor til after the class finished. It never happened again. One of those strange anomalies with no explanation (was it physical? emotional? I will never know.

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Posted: 25 August 2009 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Hi Janet,

I’ve often found that the lines are very blurred when it comes to the emotional and physical aspects of the practice.  Just the fact that you are listening to yourself and your body are such huge steps.  This kind of self-realization is essential to growing in your practice.  I’m about a year into it myself and also teaching for the last few months.  Within that time, I have had several emotional and physical issues to deal with.  Each one has taught me a little something about myself both inside the room and out.  Maybe this is a good opportunity to look at the way you are inside and outside of class.  Personally, I found that I always felt like I had to be pushing - moving forward, never stopping, over-doing it.  I’ve started to accept the fact that I enjoy my practice (and life) so much more when I take the time to be present, relax and just breathe.  I’m still working on it, but it’s getting better every day grin.  Good luck to you on your journey as well!

~Sarah

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Posted: 17 October 2009 11:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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I am happy for this topic. I am probably on my 10th class and am new to yoga all together. During my first class, I got to Camel pose and lost it. As I leaned into my back bend I literally felt as though something was ripped from me through my chest and shoulders and I just wanted to curl up in a ball and sob. It totally came out of left field. I just sat there struggled to breathe and felt as though I would hyperventilate. The amazing thing was, that when I woke up the next morning, I woke up lighter and happier than I had ever been in my life. I am TOTALLY convinced that something did leave me that day. Since then, in my whole ten days of yoga so far, I’ve had two other emotional outbreaks that have interrupted my practice, caused dizziness and shortness of breath because I was on the verge of tears. I know that eventually, all of this will work itself out… that and I’ve signed myself up for therapy because clearly, something is there that needs work outside of yoga.

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Posted: 18 October 2009 12:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Hello Micherie

Welcome to the forum and thanks for posting all those posts!

I just wanted to say how wonderful your experience must be for you to feel so happy - and for no apparent reason. That is the stuff of life!

I also wanted to point out something that is amazing that you may or may not have had a taste of yet. In many cases it is not necessary to consciously work through your problems by analyzing the details of them. Case in point: you awoke the day after your first class feeling refreshed and happier than you have “ever been in [your] life”. And presumably you didn’t rehash your old hurts or emotional pain, or find it necessary to process them consciously.

It is totally possible to find emotional health and wellbeing by dealing with what you have in the present moment and without laboring on the past. It does depend on your beliefs. It is about moving forward from where you are right now.

I wonder what you think when I say that. I am not trying to talk you out of therapy (because that is not my place and no one can say if it would help you!) but rather encouraging you to enjoy the progress you are making and see where that takes you.

Namaste
Gabrielle smile

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Posted: 18 October 2009 12:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Hi Gabrielle!

Thanks for the welcome and kind thoughts. I did think of that and it makes total sense, but I do have some ‘mother’ issues to work out and I think the stress of that being in the now is also having an effect. I’m sure a lot of it is in the past… but, we’ll see! I’m just glad to have my desert space in that room. It’s worth every penny!

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Posted: 01 November 2010 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Hi—I know that this topic was active about a year ago, but I’m hoping that someone can still respond to my inquiry.

I’ve been practicing Bikram Yoga for about a year now, and a believer of all the benefits and blessings that it brings. I do get the occasional panic that occurs inside the hot room, especially when I become overly aware of my heart rate. I’ve been able to manage those moments alright when they do come up during class.

But last Wednesday after class when I arrived home, I started to get the worst anxiety attack I’ve ever had. The peak lasted 4 hours. It’s so hard to describe how I was feeling - but I was definitely scared for my life. I fought desperately with myself not to go to the emergency room. I ended up taking an anti-anxiety pill to help calm down; but it didn’t help much. It lasted through the next morning.

I have gotten anxiety attacks in the past, especially during very stressful times and when flying on a plane. For these emergency situations, I will take anti-anxiety medication, but this probably occurs 3-5 per year. I work as much as I can to not resort having to take a pill, but sometimes I must.

Having gone through that last one on Wednesday, I am now fearful of going back to class. I don’t understand what happened. The class itself wasn’t very hard. In fact, I got pretty distracted during the class. I even stayed for an extra long last savasana to help get my heart rate down before leaving. I don’t want to stop my bikram practice, but I never want to experience that again. I don’t know what to do.

I’ve tried looking for sources online about this, and it’s been pretty hard. Any references I’ve found of “bikram yoga” to “anxiety/panic attacks” is that yoga helps with managing the attacks. Nothing really talks about attacks occuring AFTER class, and what to do.

Any thoughts/advice you have would be great. 

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Posted: 18 November 2010 10:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Hi Flora

My apologies for leaving you to your own devices. I have an excuse! raspberry Anyway I will stay away from the drama of my own story!

Can you give me an update please? Have you managed to get back into the room? Have you managed to leave that episode behind you?

I don’t really want to psychoanalyze anyone because that’s really not my place so I am not going to come up with why that happened after class.

Sometimes stuff happens and it doesn’t need a reason for happening. Sometimes the acknowledgment that it was a one off event is all that is needed.

[As an aside: I am not sure if I have ever had a panic attack but one time for sure DURING class within the first year of practice I had an episode of such great effect, that I had to leave the room (for the only time EVER) and it took at least 20 minutes for my heart to stop palpitating. I can no longer remember how long I felt differently after the fact but it was definitely scary at the time. It never happened again.]

Of course the irony of the situation is that the meditative aspects of the yoga, of being in the now, are exactly what’s required to get over that kind of problem, because by definition to be anxious about something, you are worrying about something that has happened or that might happen (whether or not it’s a conscious issue).

I have a lovely quote that comes to mind: “Worry is praying for what you don’t want to happen.”

Namaste
Gabrielle smile

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