11, Nov. 2021

“Yoga”

I have just had an experience I did not expect.

Not my dog

First, let me say that from time to time, I like to learn something new, something a little out-of-the-blue—something that is genuinely novel to me, maybe something I’ve been curious about for a while, or something I’ve intended to do for a while, but occasionally something that’s only recently struck my fancy.

Once, as a kid, after years of being a terrible swimmer, I took and passed the Red Cross Swimmer’s Badge program. Another time, in my 30s, and this may not seem novel, but believe me, it felt that way, I decided I was going to conquer that math I could not pass in college (I did pass a class for graduation, but it wasn’t the “standard” calculus intro course most people took). So I took two classes at the community college—pre-calc, and then the calculus that transfers to my university as the class I couldn’t pass. I got an A- in the first, and a B- in the second. While a B- isn’t exactly acing it, it is well above “passing.”

In 2017, I decided to learn to speak Spanish. This is something I had wanted to do for years, but had never had the time. Now, I did, and thanks to a little money inherited from my mother, could afford; my mother had been a linguist, and I think she would approve. 3 semesters, and six weeks of intensive classes in Costa Rica later, I can have conversations. I do not have interpreter fluency, and cannot talk about really complicated subjects, but I can discuss more than the weather. The maintenance people where I work, save for one, all speak better English than I speak Spanish, but they kindly speak it to me so I can practice. They tell me I speak it well. Either they are just being nice, or it’s a comment on the fact that no one else who works there speaks a word of it, except one person in management who actually is Hispanic.

Anyway, two months ago, I started doing yoga. Maybe “practicing” it is a better verb, because so many people approach it like a religion. I don’t. I like my religion. However, I think I understand the mindset of the people who do.

Last weekend, I attended (for lack of a better verb), a conference, or retreat, over Zoom. Three classes a day, Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Attending Saturday was a tough decision, because it meant going online on Shabbat, but I decided that I’d Zoomed so much on Shabbat to attend Jewish events, what was another event, more or less, when there were no other options. That’s how COVID has changed my life. I now have a laissez-faire attitude toward online communication on Shabbat.

Anyway, the yoga classes were challenging, without being strenuous, if that makes sense. I’m a tiny bit stiff through the shoulders this morning, but I don’t feel like I’ve had a workout, in terms of sore muscles. I did in terms of exhaustion. I have not fallen into bed so tired since I was in army basic training. Maybe I was more tired when I had a newborn, but that was sleep-deprivation, not exhaustion.

On Friday night, I took my daily meds, but no PRNs, and slept from 4pm to 7pm, when my son woke me up, then again from 9pm to 4am, without interruption. I slept seven hours with no interruption. That never happens.

Saturday, I completely forgot to take bedtime medication altogether. Not even my daily medication. I fell asleep around 7pm, and woke up at 1am. I was hungry, because I hadn’t eaten dinner. After eating something, I fell back asleep for a few more hours.

A night’s sleep like that is a deep breath to someone just pulled from under water.

I started yoga out of mild curiosity, and because a few friends were sold on it. But wow, I did not expect this. It did occur to me that there might be some effect on my sleep, but nothing so immediate and profound. I need to figure out now how to keep the momentum going.

And yes, I get that this could be like a half-dozen medications that work for a while, until they don’t. But for the time-being, I’ll take what I can get.

Published by Chava Freya

Insomnia is a brain-based disorder I’ve had since I was at least 16 years old. Anti-anxiety medicine doesn’t help, except when there’s external anxiety exacerbating the problem. Sleep hygiene is irrelevant, because it’s not the problem, although I have submitted to it five different times, including having sleep specialists actually come to my home and advise me on rearranging furniture, buying special pillows, forbidding TVs in the bedroom, telling me the bed was for nothing but sleep, sex and reading, and when that didn’t work, then nothing but sleep. Period. That was the biggest failure of all.

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