My vestibular physical therapist told me in no uncertain terms that I was to never do backstroke again. She recommended against handstands and back bends. These are the movements that most reliably triggered nystagmus for me.

A year has passed. A few days ago I did a short yoga practice at home. (A co-worker recommended the Runner’s World Yoga Center, and I’ve found the online workouts are short, simple, and easy to modify.) I felt steady. I had the luxury of several days at home, so it wouldn’t matter if I triggered BPPV. I eased up into Urdhva Dhanurasana or upward bow pose. It looks like this:

Nina Mel doing the upward facing bow yoga pose

I don’t think I need to say that this is not me!

I didn’t stay upside down but for a moment, and then I eased back down. Success! Hard to believe it has been two years since I’ve done one of those.

Since I have a few days off of work, I was able to return to my favorite yoga teacher’s class. (I used to attend her evening classes, but now she teaches only in the morning.) I told her I had done a little back bend earlier in the week, so she worked it into the class. Again, I felt steady, and I had plenty of time. The first time I pushed up with too much vigor and felt disoriented. I came down quickly. I did the pose three more times, each time with no symptoms. I moved into the pose more gently, stayed for no more than about 4 seconds, and gently returned to the mat. I had no vertigo the rest of the class or the rest of the day. More success!

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