Farewell Yoga?

Had I known this was the last inversion I could practice, I would have asked my students to take pictures!


And glue them in the family albums, so the kids could have a proof of how strong I once was.

I have discovered Iyengar yoga in Hanoi and fell in love with the practice. Especially for all its variations of inversions. Hanging like a bat on the wall or head in between chairs, I would be the first one to take the ropes the moment our teacher would say the magic words “sirsasana, any variation you feel like doing today“.

The love feeling did last a few months. Until this evening I could not lie down in bed. My head was spinning non stop, I felt nauseous, totally out of control. It lasted for a while, I couldn’t tell how long it took before I could calm down and totally collapse in bed, exhausted.

The good news is that BPPV is much more fear than harm. But it is lots of fear.

I am good now, touch wood!

But yoga wise, no more inversion for me. No more position with my head down “that would jeopardise your sense of balance” – as my osteo said, like all the head stands; even this brave down dog is off limits. Adios Surya namaskar and its cousins.

Limited Yoga Teacher.

Took a while for my ego to digest the news.

To finally practice what I preach: listen to your body. Be humble. Do you good. Be your best friend. Your body needs you, treat it with love and care and respect.

I know, it is not the end of the world and many people live happily ever after without even knowing the meaning of “pincha” and I would give up on any sport if I had the guarantee that it would vaccinate me of any vertigo.

Honestly I am not yet sure whether I would practice as often as I used to. This crisis made me remember how bad I had felt after a day of inversions during my Yoga Teacher Training. I never experienced such headaches before. I did not pay more attention though, had a massive dose of paracetamols, and totally collapsed to bed. First thought in the morning was “Give me a few weeks and I’ll nail this Scorpio!”.

This episode taught me one thing: pay attention to your body. Only bad teachers will push you hard and over adjust you. If you listen to your body more than your ego, it will tell you when it has enough. One of my favorite yoga teachers used to say “no pain no gain translated in yoga is Bullshitasana“.

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Don’t look at yoga in a Instagrammable way. There are counter indications, yoga can be bad to your health. There are many poses absolutely forbidden for people with high or low blood pressure, ear or eyes conditions. To name a few. Yoga can be therapeutic, for sure. As long as you remember that you only are the pilot of your body.

I have been off the mat for about a month. I can’t get myself to go back yet, unless I do yin or restorative. I need a bit of time to adjust, to trust my practice again. It will come back, in a different and probably more fulfilling way.

I have a chance to work on Trust and Letting go from a different perspective 🙂

Open mind, open heart

7 thoughts on “Farewell Yoga?

  1. This resonates with me so well at the moment…And I have been meaning to post a similar article based on my experience. I am also a Yoga Teacher, I was pushing myself through marathons, getting up at 5am the next day to “just surf”, as part of my marathon recovery, take on every yoga teaching post that I could possibly get, while working a rather demanding full-time job during the day ( and night), until one day, 6 weeks ago, just flicking out my yoga mat to go over a sequence of forearm balances for my upcoming class, landed me in hospital an hour later, after collpasing and blacking out for a while, with a herniated disk in my lower back 😦 And here I was, preaching to my yoga students ; “listen to your bodies! Yoga is not a race, it is not a competition with the person next to you, let go of your ego, just do what the body is telling you that it feels it can do today, do not push to the point of pain or exhaustion”.. meanwhile, I was doing that to myself everyday. No more inversions for me, due to the compression on the spine, for now.. I am out of Comrades Marathon, which I had been training so hard for…and worst of all I cannot surf yet, which is my ultimate escape, and “happy place” ..but all of the little niggles and aches, numbness etc that I had been feeling after every run, suddenly made sense… I had been ignoring the signs all the time, for weeks before life eventually forced me down! Since the incident though, I have been forced to explore different Yoga postures that I would usually have left out of practice, I have had to calm down my own practice, and have learnt to take more time to meditate in between. Suddenly, the work pressure doesn’t seem as heavy to deal with as it did, I am sleeping so much better at night, and I have learnt to appreciate my body, and taking time for myself to rest.

    I wish you well for your recovery, don’t underestimate the power of more restorative yoga. Thank you for making me feel like I am not a bad or hypocritical Yogi, I had a good solid week of beating myself up for being a bad yogi, by not practicing what I was preaching, But I am also grateful, in a way, for the experience, that I have learnt lessons from, which I can apply to my own teachings.

    Bright blessings and strong recovery to you, Namaste’

    1. Heartfelt thanks for your message ! I do hope you are feeling better by the day, and I can feel that your newly found energy is definitely driving you up 🙂 You are stronger than you know !
      Your message really warmed my heart, you made me feel better. It’s not often that someone’s words resonate like a genuinely “I hear you”. Thanks so much for that. Just know that your words had an impact, and a very positive one.

      I am writing in a cafe nearby our house. After I send this message, I’ll reopen the great book of Bernie Clark on “the complete guide to Yin Yoga” and draft a sequence for my next class. This time I’ll be yang and yin, with a 10 mn meditation at the end. Never taught those kind of classes before, good to be in the student chair again. Next class is on Tuesday morning Vietnamese time, we ll dedicate our practice to your speedy recovery and all the great opportunities coming our way. Stay tuned! Till then, take care my friend and keep on shining.


      1. Thank you so much 🙂 It is a heart warming feeling, when you know that you are not alone 🙂 I am also teaching a more Yin based class this eve, let me know how your class goes!

  2. If anyone could take a situation like this and make it positive and a learning experience, it is you! I’m so sorry your newfound love/career has hit a setback, but I’m sure you will find the silver lining.

    1. Thanks dear! Those last weeks have been pretty emotional and I am working not on getting back to my old self, but to a better one.
      I find it fascinating to realise how our body, mind and spirits are so connected. It’s one thing to know it, but another to experience it. And how challenging it is to simply relax and trust when we have so many distractions at our fingers tip.
      Btw, thanks for gracing us with your beautiful pics of Italy. We are planning 4 days there this summer, and the calm and the beauty that emanates from your shots are so inspiring ..
      Have a lovely day and thanks for being such a caring friend 😉

  3. Oh, ouch! Maybe just stick to more gentle yoga? 😀 A yoga teacher once told my class that when we have a headache, our body is telling us something, so instead of shutting it up with painkillers, try to ask your body what the problem is and fix it without painkillers. I’ve been hanging on to that mantra ever since! 🙂

    1. Thats a great one indeed. Our body has lots to tell you if we take the time to listen 🙂 he knows better !

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