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Migraines and yoga

A week ago I woke up feeling fine, had a quick walk to the shop which was lovely, fresh and peaceful, the birds singing, which was lovely to hear.

I started my piano practice but then had to stop almost immediately, nausea, dizziness, another migraine attack. They run in cycles and I had one the previous week.

I sat quietly in a chair, wondering what to do. Inevitably, whenever I get symptoms I sit feeling frustrated thinking of all the stuff I want to get done. Reading is not usually possible, I need dim lights, very little noise.

I had my yoga class booked, due in 3/4 hour.

I decided to sit quietly till then.

I went to yoga and we start the class by talking about how we all are so I had already decided to say I was having a migraine and I was hoping it would pass. I hate revealing that vulnerability about myself so that was the first thing.

I had tucked myself in a dark corner and started taking part. The yoga teacher said how this class was all about listening to our bodies, I’ve heard that lots of times but today I REALLY had to listen It was an unusual experience. I had to be very very gentle with myself, move slowly, do everything softly, I had to watch out for dizziness and nausea which came over in waves and then receded. At times I wondered if I was a fool for coming and would have to leave, but made it to the end.

My therapist had said to me that I needed to ask what messages my body was giving me. Well that morning it was “be gentle with me” and I recognised that that was an alien concept for me. I am far more used to wanting to push my body a bit harder, and if it fails, as it often does, being disappointed with myself.

By the end I felt quite tearful as I for the first time, truly gave myself permission to be really “soft” in yoga, not to try hard, not to do every pose to the maximum.

As I came out, I was glad I had gone, a lady made a sympathetic comment which was nice. I still had a headache but I was through the incapacitating stage.


As I write today, I have had the usual week of the hangover effects of a migraine episode. That means I have recurrent, mini episodes of headaches and nausea. A couple of days have had to be very low key, other days fine. It is tedious but I am used to it. I am in a cycle of migraine, a severe episode and then in the past, a week of “after shocks”, this time over 3 weeks! Hopefully it will take it’s course and then not revisit for a while. In the past I have gone a few years without any attacks, so looking on the bright side, this will pass.

Two hopeful thoughts to carry with me: firstly, the trigger is usually a release of tension, so theoretically, this could be me letting go of a significant amount of nervous tension?? A reduction in hyper vigilance?? Secondly, once I stop being quiet and taking time out, I often have a rebound or surge of creative energy, so the time resting is not wasted.



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