“Yoga allows you to find an inner peace that is not ruffled and riled by the endless stresses and struggles of life.” – BKS Iyengar
As my last week was quietly coming to a close, I sat with my love as we enjoyed our evening rituals alongside our laughter until I was distracted by a sensation in my face. I chose to stay quiet and remain in our pleasant moment summing up this new sensation to a muscle spasm. As we started discussing our accomplishments and disappointments about the week gone by, I tried to defy the impulse to react, but couldn’t remain focused.
As we continued to reflect, I realised how much had actually taken place, not only in the last week, but also in the last several, and maybe I hadn’t downloaded everything I needed to process. When you are in constant motion and frequently feeling overwhelmed, we invite the inevitable into our body…STRESS. Stress isn’t always negative either. Maybe you are one of those people who perform better under pressure?
Stress is a message that comes directly from our nervous system. Often we are completely unaware our body is in a heightened state of stress, which can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. My left side lip-twitch was no muscle spasm but a loud and clear message.
By next morning, I was experiencing a mild paralysis on the right side of my face. Fear and anxiety became more present signs of my stress. I knew I had to reach out to my health care practitioners that I have as part of my support team. As I had to wait the night to be seen, I turned to my mat. It was the movement through my practice, the meditation in action, the release of tension on my cranial spine behind my neck, which allowed me to begin to begin the healing process.
Now, I just needed my practice to calm myself and my overactive imagination. I knew this was neither stroke nor heart attack. I hadn’t lost any cognitive abilities, but my symptoms did match up to a viral attack. I went down to my studio and placed the back of my neck, at the base of my skull (aka the occipital ridge) on my Trestler and I hung out, stretching the last few vertebrae of my spine.
The one thing I know from my practice is that if my spine is misaligned my central nervous system is not going to perform at its peak. Listening to the body's complaints, signs and gut feelings are skills that can lead to early detection. My yoga has taught me how to manipulate the minutia in my body to help bring alignment into my body. It has also increased my awareness to be receptive to feel on a sensational and cellular level. And I am ever-grateful that I was listening. As it turned out, I was diagnosed with a minor case of Bell's Palsy.
Listen to your body, don’t discredit the messages, and find time everyday to meditate for what you are grateful for. This doesn’t mean you have to turn into what one might think of a stereotypical modern yogi…It means finding an inner quietude through movement, breath, solitude and time, to allow for the mind and body to connect and find balance. Namaste