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All that breath control’s gotta be good for something other than kumbhaka, right? And yes, it is!

It’s fantastic for when you find yourself lying half-naked on a table and wearing one of those flimsy paper gowns, all squished up into a coffin-like machine to get an MRI of one’s left shoulder. Yes indeed folks – that was my Friday night last week!

All on account of that pesky shoulder injury of mine. Hopefully, it’s met its match now and won’t defy diagnosis much longer. I’m grateful for that. But I’m not grateful for the non-rebate-able $280 bill! Apparently I can’t even claim it on my health insurance (and for the US folk, here in Australia we do actually have affordable health insurance that’s usually pretty good at rebating medical services).

So. The MRI is one heck of a weird experience. One of the first questions they ask you before getting started is whether or not you suffer claustrophobia. And hey, even if you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll dislike being inside an MRI machine while being strapped to the table/bed. It probably isn’t so bad if you’re getting the lower half of your body scanned. But when it’s your head or shoulders, you get ferried head-first into the roundish un-spacious innards of the machine.

And being a yogi helps because you’re instructed to breathe from the diaphragm (long and slow), to make sure the pictures don’t come out blurry. I can only imagine how tough it might be to manage this task if you’re finding the whole thing rather anxiety-inducing!

As for me – well, it’s not been too many months since my last panic attack, so I played it safe and mostly kept my eyes shut, focusing on breathing and repeating my mantra. I was given headphones to wear in a (failed) attempt to block out the really loud noises the machine makes – it sort of sounded like road works with lots of banging. More practically, the headphones allowed the technician to communicate with me while I was entombed (it definitely felt a little tomb-like when I did open my eyes for a few seconds). But I really could’ve done without the bland GOLD FM music streaming through them at the same time.

The interesting part about it was that I could feel the magnetic forces as the scans were in progress. All up I had about six scans and each one took around 6-8 minutes. The sensations were quite varied – everything from heat to prickly-ness, to feeling like lasers were radiating through me. The weirdest was feeling as though my body was being pushed around at a particle level and from the inside. Which was probably all of those big magnets in the MRI machine I guess…

Anyhow, I see my physio this Thursday. Fingers crossed I don’t need surgery. Though I guess if I do… argh! More $$ I don’t have but will have to find because while I can cope for a bit, I don’t really want my repertoire of asana to be limited on a permanent basis if I can help it. And it’d be nice if that pain thing could be taken care of, too. 😉

The rest of the weekend was much more fun! Kirtan and after-kirtan dinner on Saturday night followed by Yoga Balance (a form of AcroYoga) on Sunday…

I had no idea how much energy this kind of thing takes (prompting a late afternoon nanna nap)! I got to be both the base (person on the bottom) and the flier (person balancing on top of another person). No photos from my session though, but maybe next time. It was So Much Fun!!

Woke up yesterday still feeling sleepy and tired, so it was a very mellow start to the week. Perhaps that’s why I had a bit of a musical flashback to just over ten years ago, when I was working as the office manager of a chiropractic/natural health business in Sydney. We used to like playing beautiful and uplifting music and one of the chiropractors who worked there introduced us to the Lighthouse Family.

It’s not so much my musical taste now, but I did LOVE these guys back then. And listening to them yesterday made me feel really great. Enjoy!!

~Svasti

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