We all have them. The dreaded poses that make us feel uncomfortable, self conscious, and downright miserable. Some people may have an entire clan of poses that they can’t stand. During my Intro II apprenticeship and teacher training, that pose for me was Parsva Halasana (side plow pose.) To preface, I had an unknown diagnosis of Benign Hyperplasia of the Prostate (BHP) for the first half of my training, and required surgery. Prior to the procedure, I was not able to evacuate without pain and discomfort and felt bloated most of the time. Hence, any forward bend, twist, or inversion was extremely uncomfortable. The combination of all three (Parsva Halasana) was pretty much unbearable before the operation.
Because of all the pain before the procedure, I was hesitant to try the pose for a few months. When I got into again, there was no pain like before, but a dreaded sense of anxiety. Coupled with Karna Pidasana, I felt claustrophobic. In short I hated Parsva Halasana! My fellow trainee, Azi had a similar dislike to Parivritta Parsvakonasana. One day after a difficult teacher training session, I asked Azi about the poses she hated on our syllabus and why. I also asked myself the same question and wrote down the responses:
- It hurts like hell!
- It makes me feel fat!
- I want to vomit while in the pose!
- This assessment process sucks, why do we have to do poses we hate?!
- It makes me feel self conscious!
- I don’t want to shit or piss myself while in the pose!
The exercise was cathartic. I started crying. All the buildup of pain and frustration in the pose, coupled with the stress of a demanding teacher training had taken it’s toll. Once I let it all out, the pose magically stopped hurting both physically and psychologically. One year after the surgery, I took and passed my Intro II which involved holding Parsva Halasana for one minute each side. I did not have any discomfort at all!
Asanas are excellent diagnosis tools for health. If you have extreme discomfort in certain poses, you may want to investigate with your doctor. That is not to be confused with getting injured in class or just being stiff. I am talking about chronic discomfort that arises from poses that previously did not give you a hard time. When I realized I needed to see a doctor about my BHP is when I lost control of my bladder during Parivrtta Pasrvakonasana. I made an appointment the next day and was on the operating table within a week.
Other symptoms may include:
- Nausea after back bends
- Eyesight problems after inversions
- Losing circulation, feeling numb well after the asana
The list can go on and on. When you become seasoned in your practice, you can assess pretty quickly that there is a problem in your body. Asanas are like a lab in which you can spot a problem well before the doctor can. Use your yogically honed instincts and get those problems checked out.