The power of inversions make my dream come true

Five weeks of antibiotics, a port removal, shoulder surgery and port implantation later. I finally managed to hang my swing in our new apartment. After doing rope Sirsasana for the first time in month, I felt immediately different. Something in my body has shifted and my energy started increasing. I’m so relieved to be finally home more then a few hours at the time, my nausea has completely disappeared since I have stopped taking Novalgin.

Being at home also allows me to cook more nutritious food. I even managed to drill holes and hang my ropes. Still I have to figure out where to place my wooden props so that I don’t have to shift everything around whenever I want to practice but this is a task for later. Important right now is I can practice with my ropes and my swings and I have my props. I can practice a bigger range of asanas which enables me to manage my pain with yoga. My practice involves supine poses, U-rope Adho Mukha Svanasana, chair Purvottanasana, rope Sirsasana, supported forward bends with high support for the head, Dwipada Viparita Dandasana – cross bolster or padded bench, chair Sarvangasana, Ardha Halasna, Sethu Bandha Sarvangasana, Viparita Karani, Savasana. The asanas I chose on the day depend on my emotional, physical state and my energy level. Some days I still suffer from reflux so I cannot practice inversions or take my head down.

Before I was diagnosed I had planned to go to Pixie’s yoga retreat in Dolcedo but with everything being not as it was supposed to, the chance to attend was small. And finally a 10 days before the retreat started I booked the flight. It was a dream coming true. My husband was a bit concerned about the journey but I convinced him, that what I would gain from intensiv yoga would increase my wellbeing more then what I would lose on the journey.

I have my treatments at the Clinic in Bad Trissl, which is a specialised oncology facility. My doctor Peter Holzhauer is specialised in complementary therapies to minimise side effects. The clinic is located about 100 kilometres from Munich and I usually travel there by train, which takes me about 90 minutes door to door.

I had a Chemotherapy treatment on Wednesday and had my complementary medication drips very early on Thursday morning so that I would get back to Munich on time. My plane to Genova was leaving at 4pm. The leg from Genova to Imperia I travelled by train before changing to a Taxi for the last 15 minutes of the trip. I finally arrived in Dolcedo by 8pm and Cath and Tiffany came to meet me at the parking lot. Dolcedo is a typical charming, small Italian village with really narrow streets.

The retreat had started in the afternoon the day before with a restorative class. For me it would start on Thursday morning at 6.15am with a Pranayama class.

As soon as I heard Pixie’s familiar voice it was like coming home, I nearly cried it was such an overwhelming feeling. It was so nice taking a class with her after half a year. I only did lying pranayama as I didn’t have the energy to do it sitting. The two hour break that follows pranayama is usually quiet time so you don’t talk, which means you stay quiet until 11am when the asana class is finished. I had brought my light on the yoga sutras book to work to some of the sutras during that time and I had a light breakfast, before the asana class started at 9am.

Everyone who has ever attended a medical class in Pune, or at any other Iyengar Yoga Studio around the world who offers those classes, knows how many props you use for this purpose. So luckily Anat’s yoga studio was very well equiped. During the asana class I worked on my own sequence. I could easily work through a restorative practice plus work on my shoulder during the asana class. My apologies to all the other participants for the disturbance when shifting wooden props and chairs.

Lunch was served at 11.30am, the food was catered by Diala who took a weeks annual leave to spoil us with wonderful creations. We cannot thank her enough. It was not an easy task especially the logistics of cooking in 3 different kitchens. I hope to see you next year again.

After sleeping and reading during the afternoon break I joined the others for the afternoon restorative practice with only a few asanas to modify, it felt so good being part of a class again.

I started feeling stronger every day and towards the end I even managed to do sitting pranayama with my back supported against the wall.

The effect the retreat had on my physical and mental state was amazing and I felt full of strength to face the future on my way home.