As of last week, I have had vertigo for a year. Initially, my symptoms interfered with my activities as a triathlete, a rock climber, and a yogi, but by using modifications, I gradually have reintroduced most of my cherished sports, and my symptoms are chronic but manageable. (Until this month, when things have gotten markedly better. Let’s hope it holds!)

Still, Stand Up Paddle (SUP) is not something that would typically be a good choice for a person with vertigo. After all, moving around on a paddle board takes a great deal of balance! A friend of mine tried SUP last summer and even competed in a race. I envied her for being able to try something radically different and challenging, so when I had the opportunity to try a SUP fitness class, I enthusiastically signed up. Instead of paddling, we would do circuit training on the boards, and I knew the various positions–prone, supine, twisting, etc.–would be a problem if my symptoms were flaring up. But I really wanted to try it! I figured if my symptoms were under control then the class would be the ultimate test of my balance.

And so, there I was yesterday, doing a side plank on a paddle board–no joke!!

Three women practicing yoga on Lake Wingra 07-20-2012 094

This isn’t me, but I did a more difficult version of side plank yesterday!

I still can’t put my right ear down, so I could only do plank on one side. Lying flat on the board to do crunches was fine. (When I lay flat for my MRI this month, I also didn’t get symptoms. That was a huge surprise!) During rail rockers I focused on the logo on the front of the board, and I never never looked around at my classmates. I took extra time to change positions and very deliberately focused my eyes on a series of targets that led me to the next exercise. In the end I stayed on the board, got a great workout, and didn’t have any symptoms–not even the next day!

I am getting hopeful that there may actually be an End to Vertigo for me. But if not, I am really really enjoying these weeks of feeling good. Who would have thought that I’d be on a PADDLE BOARD?!

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