(117): Lessons in Self-Care: Yoga After Illness

Image (cropped) by Rachel + Micah via Flickr. License.

Last weekend, I had a fast and severe illness that seemed to recede as fast as it had blown in. I mean, last Thursday, I managed an hour long yoga class without problems, even though I felt like “allergies” were knocking me down slightly. By the next morning, my throat was being drilled from the inside and I had to cancel any plans in favor of a date with the bed. Even nice warm tea was painful. By Sunday morning, it seemed my difficulties had sailed out to sea with the morning breeze. Except for a slight, nagging cough, I felt almost completely better. I’m not sure what it was — flu, strep throat, the cold from Hell, who knows?

That nagging cough has held on in a small way, more an annoyance than a real hindrance, that is, until I tried to do this week’s Thursday morning yoga class. My lower back was in a heightened state of distress, but I’m used to that. I wore my heavy duty girdle and figured it’d be ok. What I didn’t count on was the residual fatigue of my illness creeping back up on me.

I couldn’t hold Downward Facing Dog very long, my usual 20 second planks were now 20 millisecond planks, and I got dizzy during twisting poses. Amazingly, I managed to pull off Eagle Pose without falling over, but I required a couple of hearty swigs of water to ward off the lightheadedness afterward. I could tell by then that I was not at 100%, or even 90%, and my seeming full recovery from illness was not as full as I had thought.

So, right now I am lying in bed on my heating pad (not for very long lest I end up with burns). I’ve promised an amazing stir-fry dinner to my husband tonight and a lovely fresh tray of doggy treats for Kamikaze, and I wonder if I’ve promised too much too soon. It is times like this that I understand that there are consequences to getting older, that the body doesn’t always bounce back like it has in the past. I also realize that the creeping escalation of my chronic pain also makes everything feel worse and that I have to pay close attention before I crash utterly — that’s why I’m lying on the heating pad instead of still standing up and cutting vegetables.

Remind me to file this one under the tag Self-Care. A clear lesson I need to learn here. At least my father-in-law bought us a pepperoni pizza today, which I can default to if things go south and I can’t manage the full stir-fry experience. Unfortunately, I can only eat the toppings, while my husband will curse that he has been poisoned by the sweet siren song of store-bought pizza (I can hear the conflicted tone in his voice in my head even now). But he’ll eat it all the same, lament how he loves it, while at the same time cursing his father for setting temptation in his way.

‘Night y’all! Time for some restorative sleep. That pizza was doomed from the moment it set foot in the house (if pizzas have feets).

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