dorothean: detail of painting of Gandalf, Frodo, and Gimli at the Gates of Moria, trying to figure out how to open them (Default)
[personal profile] dorothean posting in [community profile] sun_salutation
I had what I think was a PTSD reaction in a yoga class, triggered by a pose. Putting the description of my reaction under a cut, although I'm not describing the original trauma itself at all.

I've been taking a beginner's-level asana yoga class for a couple of months. My teacher is not very experienced at teaching, but I like her a lot and she seems to be very careful about watching everyone in her small class and making sure we're not about to break our necks.

I know from past experience with meditation (in therapy) that my body is capable of forcing some pretty powerful emotions on me -- whether I'm being very quiet mentally and just paying attention to my body, or whether I'm making some extraordinary demand of it. My therapist has told me I have PTSD, but it's been getting a lot better lately, so I wasn't really expecting what happened.

Yesterday we did a lot of variations on this low lunge pose, which requires a bit of balancing while opening up the front of the hip. My hips are pretty inflexible compared to the rest of my joints, and (despite my teacher often saying "Hip-opening poses are good for the ego!") I've sometimes felt this odd panicky frustration while trying, e.g. cow face pose.

Anyway, yesterday I got scared (?) while in this lunge, and when the teacher put us into child's pose, I started crying. She always says "stay in child's pose as long as you need to," so I did, which was at least five minutes. Then I was okay (although wet) for the rest of class, although something the teacher said after savasana -- about being grateful to our bodies -- set me off again. (No, I was not grateful to my body!)

Afterwards I stuck around until the other students had left, and told the teacher, "Sorry, I've heard that exerting the body can bring out bad things, and I guess that's what happened to me, hope it wasn't too awkward." She said no big deal, that happens to lots of people, it's not necessarily a bad thing to be so connected to your body.

That wasn't what I meant by bad thing, but I was all out of words then. I am going to have a private session with her pretty soon, so I will try to talk with her more about it then. I think she ought to know more about my situation, and maybe she can suggest ways for me to feel safer in class and to be less awkward if I do need to go cry somewhere (given the arrangement of human sinuses, child's pose is not really great for that).

What I am looking for here is some (gentle) advice, ways to think about this, and to see if anyone else has experienced this kind of thing.

Here's what I'm already thinking of trying:
+ practicing the scary poses on my own, outside of class, so I can get used to how they feel
+ ditto practicing meditation
+ seeing if my dialectical behavioral therapy notes have any useful ideas
+ talking to my teacher about it
+ talking to my therapist about it (if it keeps happening)
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