Have you ever felt ‘Not-Quite-Right’ (NQR)? Suffered from consuming migraines? Or had that ‘out-of-body-disconnected’ sensation for no known reason?
Imagine living in a constant brain fog, migraine state – sometimes described as similar to a never-ending hangover that was not triggered by a big night out.
Imagine feeling lost in your own body.
Imagine being told by multiple specialists- There is nothing we can do.
Imagine being medicated for anxiety and depression when your primary complaint is that you don’t like the unusual and odd sensations that you feel in your head or body?
Do you, or your yoga students, suffer from migraine, vertigo or tinnitus?
This is one of the most common complaints and concerns I see in my global vertigo and tinnitus clinic, Seeking Balance. I am a senior yoga teacher and vestibular audiology (inner-ear) specialist. I have seen countless people go on a goose chase for answers to their symptoms of vertigo, dizziness and tinnitus:
“Why do I feel this way? Why did it happen so suddenly? And how long until I get better, if ever?”
These sensations are invisible. Non-one else can see them or relate to them.
Many clients report feeling lonely, isolated and that they have not known who to talk to or where to find support.
Many yoga students stop attending classes because they feel distressed when they close their eyes and feel into their body. It is too unpleasant or at times overwhelming. They say:
“I am worried that I might burst into tears in the middle of class and everyone else with think I am crazy”
If this is you, you are not crazy. You have sensations that you don’t understand, and that doesn’t feel good. You are frustrated.
You are allowed to feel the way you feel.
The current medical system cannot accurately answer the details of why we feel odd sensations because it is too dependent on a complex interaction of internal experiences.
Your inner world is a rich place where you feel everything: emotions, sensory perception, ideas, your genetics, your mood, your memories, your muscular-skeletal imprints and your desires.
All of these little pieces create your inner experience and your neural mapping as represented in a brain scan. While a doctor cannot understand your inner space nor tell you what to do about it- a doctor can inform you whether your brain appears healthy or not on an MRI scan.
So, you have a normal MRI scan… Then what?
My role is to teach people how to better understand the sensations that they are experiencing in daily life. They go through a supportive and intensive ‘svadyeya’ process of listening within and developing insights about their inner world. They learn the mechanisms behind their symptoms.
What yoga practices can help?
My vestibular migraine or persistent postural perceptual dizziness (PPPD) clients learn how to feel into their body, observe the patterns and habits of their mind, and, honour and acknowledge their desires/fears. They learn how to begin a daily practice without judgment. Ujayi 5, tadasana and savasana are often an integral part of their daily practice. Being within. Observing, allowing, exploring their sensory realm without expectation.
Vestibular migraine (VM) has been described as a silent migraine, without headache. VM clients typically report lingering pressure in their head, vague types of intermittent dizziness, tinnitus sounds in their head and NQR.
This is also seen in PPPD clients who report constant dizziness and feeling out-of-body. These clients are often distressed about their body sensations and can become highly medicated because of it. They are eager to know exactly why they feel, what they feel. They fight it. They struggle with it.
The search for their answers can become expensive and debilitating.
All body sensations, yours and mine, are present within us for a reason. The body is inherently intelligent. So what are these sensations indicating? What is their function? And what is their underlying message?
Learning to read the language of your body and all the passing myriad sensations, pleasant or unpleasant, is a life changing skill. This is something that the art of yoga and the science of vestibular audiology combined, can give us.