Always digging on the Savasana…

When we last spoke, I was getting ready to dive into the world of Daily Medication. My headache doctor prescribed Effexor as a migraine preventative, and BONUS: Effexor also serves as an anti-anxiety medication! It almost feels like it was invented JUST FOR ME!

Anyway, last Tuesday I took my first Effexor. Within an hour, I was experiencing what I believe was my very first panic attack! (Pull out the baby book, Mom!) My heart was racing. I couldn’t settle down. I was sweaty and nervous and I couldn’t sleep and my stomach was in knots and I kept trying to use meditation to settle myself but it wasn’t working and I couldn’t catch my breath and I was crying in the middle of the night and desperately trying to slow down my head and on Wednesday I was unable to drive. Hazy. So hazy. It was horrible.

I haven’t yet called my doctor because I’m afraid she will say, “Yeah. It gets better.” If she says that, I just might need to switch doctors, and that would feel like a really sad high school break up, because I once made a shawl for her.

Along with taking my first (and final) Effexor last week, I also took my first yoga class! It’s a beginning class and the average age in the room is probably somewhere in the 60s and I LOVE it, although I sort of wonder if it’s really yoga. I have an idea in my head of what yoga should be and I know I’m horribly inflexible so what yoga should be is Challenging (I think), but this class isn’t particularly challenging. Hrm. (I went back today, and I was slightly more challenged because I’m unable to touch my heels to the floor during Downward Dog, and should the palms of my hands and wrists be hurting as I do Downward Dog? Because throughout the entire class, my wrists and palms hurt more than anything else.)

At the end of yoga class, we relax. Some people actually cover themselves with blankets. Today I heard snoring.

As I left the studio, I was approached by a 382 year old man.

Mr. 382: What were you guys doing in there?

Me: It’s yoga!

Mr. 382: YOGURT?! HA HA HA!!!

Me: I WISH it was yogurt!

Mr. 382: Honey, if you want yogurt, I’ll take you out for some right now.

And then I grabbed the back of his head and Frenched him because it was the very first time a random guy at the gym hit on me.

Any beginning yoga feedback would be appreciated. Also, a big bowl of butter beans. Lightly peppered. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

17 thoughts on “Always digging on the Savasana…”

  1. Good decision on the Effexor. I know it helps some people a lot, but it’s famously brutal to stop taking… it affected me much like it did you, but I soldiered on for a while, and then tapered off and felt like that times ten for like a week. Seriously, any movie depiction you’ve ever seen of a junkie trying to get clean? Now you can experience it without breaking the law!

    I hope you find something that works for you soon.

  2. I had a friend who once boasted of the time a very short senior gentleman offered to get her a cup of coffee. From the freebie coffee urn. In the grocery store. When you’ve got it, you’ve got it!

    Let your yoga teacher know about the hands/wrists thing, she might be able to modify a couple of poses for you so they’re not so strained.

    Sorry the Effexor was a no-go. :(

  3. You should let your doc know that you had a bad reaction though. If her response were “but keep taking it, it gets better” then you say “no way Jose, that was a bad mamajama trip there and I’m not going again thanks, what else ya got?”

  4. Hello there! Yoga Beginner here–I started practicing yoga about 6 months ago and I love it! I have never “done sports” and have never considered myself to be athletic in any way–but I simply love yoga. It is completely non-competitive–you’re just focusing on yourself and what your body can do. (I can’t get my heels to the floor in Downward Dog either, but that’s OK! I’m closer than I was 6 months ago!) No one is paying any attention to what anyone else looks like (thank God–the Happy Baby pose feels great but I’m sure it looks quite ridiculous!) because everybody is either focused on watching the instructor, watching themselves, or remembering to breathe (that’s a big one!). I honestly have started having a whole new respect for my body since I started.
    Yes–be sure to let your instructor know about any physical issues you may have–any pose can be modified to meet individual needs.
    And–I’ve heard that you haven’t truly experienced the full effects of a yoga class until you’ve fallen asleep during Savasana!

  5. One thing to remember with yoga is that it all depends on the day. I have done yoga for 15 years, and some days my heels touch in downward dog, some days they don’t. It’s all good at long as you “listen to your body.”

    The wrist/hand thing shouldn’t be happening. It could be hand positioning, or it could be that you are putting too much weight on your hands when it should be evenly distributed between hands and feet.

    Hope the yoga has some effect on the migraines. That would be an extra bonus!

    Also! Doing yoga makes having dogs so much more entertaining. Amazing that that they really DO downward dog and upward dog!

  6. I had the same reaction to Effexor with a bonus side order of vomit. Anxiety is a nasty affliction. It’s so hard to get help when you feel too anxious to ask. Ablations, anxiety, migraines, periodic periods, gray hair, cat whiskers (not on the cat) what is this middle life crap, anyways?

  7. Angie, I seriously take marianne’s advice, your doctor needs to know that is what happened and it is nothing you want to do again.

  8. What Marianne and MJ said — tell your doctor. She needs to know how it affected you for your own good, and how do you think they get those lists of “possible side effects” to warn others about?

    If every person who has that reaction tells their doctor, and it turns out to be a lot of them, it could result in docs concluding this isn’t such a nifty drug after all, and sparing others the same experience. If it’s just you, it tells your doctor not to prescribe anything in that same category for you.

    Yoga is nice. Perhaps it will help you with the migraines. My daughter and husband suffer from migraines, and they both practice yoga because it helps some. It’s not a competition — let the instructor know if something hurts.

  9. First of all, woo hoo to yoga! It is the next thing I am going to try, right now I am too hung up on the zumba bandwagon! But I have also yet to try a spinning class – someone told me you could download them on your ipod – who knew? On the migraine front – hmmm – good call on stopping the meds – did you ask about topamax (generic is topamirate)? My neuro pairs it with an evening dose of amitriptaline (sp?) so an added bonus with my anxiety issues. I think I also mentioned about 400 mg of riboflavin – and my new thing now has been drinking more water and lowering my gluten intake. I read the book the plan, and didn’t “do the Plan” but took some good tips away from it – it helped many things besides my headaches – just some thoughts. And by the way – so many of the comments sound SO fascinating – I want to know when the first coffee/ tea “clutch” will be – I would love to meat these fabulous people – I would even drive from Wisconsin to do so! BTW – one of the teachers at my new school was in band at U of Missouri – not sure which one, but she said the band rocked! Being a music teacher – I found this to be awesome – as a bassoonist, I was only in the colorguard, and seeing as UW Madison did not have one, that meant I was a staff member – boo hoo. Hope all gets better – watch out for the fronts and barometric pressure changes as well!

  10. My sister in law used to suffer from regular, horrible migraines. When she started doing yoga she noticed they were less frequent. So she did more yoga. And now she hasn’t had a headache in many months. She does yoga every day, and is so transformed by the whole experience, she now might completely disregard the PhD she’s about to finish and become a yoga instructor.

  11. I do a lot of yoga (like 5 times a week) and I’m about to start my yoga instructor course. a lot of people (I hear) get wrist pain and what my teachers tell me is because they’re not distributing the weight properly through their palms. You might want to try gripping through your finger tips (like you had some kind of spider man web glue on them) and also making the action like you’re trying to turn your pointer and middle finger towards each other – but the stickyness of your mat should prevent your hands from actually moving. If that makes sense?

  12. I don’t do yoga very often but whenever I have, my wrists/palms always hurt like crazy, too! Oh, and my heels don’t touch during downward dog either.

    So yeah…I have no useful advice to offer. Weak wrists and inflexible hammies unite!

  13. I haven’t read all the comments so I’m sorry if I’m repeating, but my yoga instructor says spread your fingers wide and press them all actively into the mat, and that helps reduce the strain on your wrists. I have the opposite? inverse? doppelganger? of your palm pain – aching feet/cramping soles of feet (!) during Warrior pose. And the Down Dog thing – someone just asked my instructor the other day if the goal was to have your heels touch. She said “Yoga isn’t really about goals. Let’s not do goals. Do the pose in the smoothest strongest way your body allows.” So take that for what it’s worth.

  14. My heels do not go down. I’ve been doing yoga daily for about 15 yrs. This is how I teach down dog: Start in child’s pose. Stretch your arms out straight, shoulder width apart. Think of your palms as squares. There are four corners. Think of pressing those four corners into the mat. Lift your fingers to really get a feeling for that. You don’t want to ever gripe with the fingers or toes in any yoga position. Shrug your shoulders up to your ears, then press them up towards the ceiling and then roll them down the back towards your tailbone. You should feel your chest open a bit here. Firmly pressing into those four corners of the palm, inhale and curl the toes under. Exhale as you begin to straighten the legs, lifting the tailbone up. The trick to taking the weight off the wrists is to think of actively pressing the mat forward with the palms (while keeping those shoulders pressed back and away from the ears) and back with the feet like you’re going to rip the mat in two.

    Savasana is the most important and most challenging yoga pose. The idea is to come into full relaxation without falling asleep. You will fall asleep every once in a while, but I have a student that does it every time, I have a talk with them about sleeping habits.

    Yea! Yoga!

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