Tag Archives: Prostate

I am a BHP graduate! (Trigger Alert)

baddha konasana

Warning! I will be talking about urine and man parts in this entry. About two and a half years ago, I was in constant agony. I could not properly empty my bladder when urinating.  Asana was painful, and I had difficulty doing certain poses that put pressure on my abdomen. I can remember the final straw that made me see a doctor was when I was taking a workshop with a senior teacher. As I had to use the bathroom, I did not want to sprint out of class in order to cling to every thread of teaching. The pose was Parivritta Parsvakonasana. Next thing you know, I wet myself.

parivritta parsvakonasna

Within the week I was in my doctors office and within the next two weeks I was on the operating table. I had a condition know as Benign Hyperplasia of the Prostate (BHP). In my case, the prostate, which is donut shaped, was bulging on one side and acting as a flap which would not let any urine through when I was trying to use the bathroom. I constantly had the urge to use the restroom without being able to empty my bladder. My doctor asked me to provide a urine sample and just a few drops came out. He ordered an ultrasound. The nurse came back with a large pitcher about the size of a wine bottle. “This is how much urine you have retained in your bladder that you can’t empty,” she said. The doctor then scoped me through the urethra. “Therein lies the problem, he said after showing me the said flap my prostate was forming. “You need surgery right away.” Very scary words to a 41-year-old healthy man who has a family history of prostate cancer.

I had a procedure called a TURP, or transurethral resection of the prostate. You can click on the link for all the gory details. The short of it is that they rotor rooter your urethra to clear the blockage from the prostate, or as my doctor colorfully put it “you’ll be able to write your name in the snow again.”

I could not do any asana one month post surgery. It was painful. My mentoring teacher Ray gave me the simple instruction to do Baddha Konasana as often as I could, coupled with Supta Padangushtana I and II. He also advised rope sirsasana with baddha konasana as I healed more. I still do these asanas as often as I can in my home practice.

rope sirsasana with baddhakonasana

Today I had my two year doctor visit since surgery. My doctor was surprised that I did not take any medication at all. My PSA count, which is the trigger for prostate cancer, is markedly lower. I evacuate urine like a race horse and was able to provide a good sample. No pain or blood in my urine. My doctor said “you can graduate and not return unless there are further complications.” That is as close to a “clean bill of health” as you can get. Asana heals profoundly.

Poses you dread…getting to the deeper problem


Parsva Halasana (Side Plow Pose)


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
  • Vertigo

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.