From double vision to seeing things clearly: What I learned in the MRI machine

breathe mindfulness Feb 23, 2022

Two weeks ago, I had a brain MRI to figure out why I was experiencing double vision when I drive or watch TV.

While looking for a good vein to start the IV contrast, the technician asked if I have ever experienced trauma.

I knew she was referring to physical trauma – such as a concussion or other head injury – but the word trauma triggered me for other reasons. I immediately thought of the emotional trauma I had endured during my marriage, events that led to its breakdown. Her routine question brought forth a powerful emotional reaction. I started to cry.

My emotional response then triggered a physical reaction: My vein shut down. The technician could not insert the IV and she was concerned I would not be able to do the MRI because I needed to lie still with my eyes closed.

I summoned the tools that I often share with clients: I practiced the deep breathing that I teach in my and in my . I calmed myself down so that I could begin the MRI.

With an eye mask and headset playing classical music in place, I was ready to proceed.

This was my first time doing an MRI and I was told it could be a claustrophobic, challenging experience to stay still for 45 minutes.

I chose to take this on as a mindset and mindfulness experiment.

So throughout the extremely loud, banging noise from the machine – which reminded me of marital disputes filled with yelling, swearing, name-calling and arguments – I focused on the classical music filling my mind, which steered me towards thoughts of the calmness and unconditional love I experienced with my dog, Benji. I was then able to stay calm, grounded, centered and still in my body.

Being mindful in a cramped MRI tunnel and able to summon that tranquility reminded me of a quote I read recently:

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

I was able to be present, connecting my mind with the body through the breath.

I had applied the same practice when Benji was nearing end of life and then died, practicing yoga four times a week.

I channeled my inner warrior strength into yoga and breathing, which helped me stay calm, balanced and focused.

The sadder I felt, the more flexible and agile I became.

The more I found my drishti – my focused gaze, where I chose a focal point on the wall in front of me – the better I could maintain balances like tree or dancer pose.

When I leaned into my emotions, I was able to express myself through challenging poses I never thought I could do. I mastered inversions – headstands and handstands – and arm balances.

The studio became my Cirque de Soleil playground, and a new kind of therapy: Certain poses like pigeon pose, a hip opener, evoked emotions that led to crying. It was very therapeutic, cleansing and healing for me.

Heart opener poses like fish pose, dancer pose, upward dog, camel, cat/cow and bridge released painful emotions and evoked joy.

Yoga and targeted breathwork can help you through all kinds of challenging situations.

I'm a 200-hour Yoga Alliance accredited yoga instructor and I built a large library of curated mindfulness, breath awareness and yoga videos that also include downloadable resource sheets.

Looking to keep your participants engaged and revitalized during meetings/conferences and work days?  to discuss, and visit my Virtual Wellness Lounge, where you’ll find:

MINDFULNESS BREAKS help calm the mind, reset, refocus and revitalize while admiring nature and beautiful scenery.

OFFICE YOGA BREAKS classic yoga poses - adapted for business or casual attire - provide a needed mind-body break.

BED-TIME YOGA PRACTICE includes yoga poses to wake up the body and mind to kick-start the day, and wind-down stretches to relax and promote stillness before bedtime.

These self-care resources can also be found inside , my online wellness self-coaching program that’s now available for personal use.

Be Well,

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