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November 2017 - My Holiday Practice

Dear Yoga Friends,

Have you ever heard of a chalazion? It's a blocked oil gland in the eyelid that causes a benign bump. Sometimes they go away on their own, or if your home remedy of warm compresses, teabag compress, coriander water, etc. works. If as in my case nothing seems to work, and you wait too long before seeing a doctor, you end up with a swollen lump on your eyelid that needs to be surgically drained. Though simple to perform, this entertaining procedure is best left to a trained professional so that you can sit back and enjoy it.

Nothing better to get you in the holiday spirit than some topical anesthesia in the eye, a 2-inch needle entering your peripheral view with a load of local anesthesia, your eyelid turned inside out, some pleasant cutting sounds, and voila, it's all over in ten minutes of pure bliss. The real fun begins when you look in the mirror and see someone you don't quite recognize who appears to have been roughed up in a bar. The throbbing and stinging then reminds you that this person is you. If you happen to get a chalazion don't let this scare you. Mine was probably in the top one percent of bad cases for people who procrastinate treatment.

What's a yogi to do? The great thing about yoga is that there is always something you can do even when there are things you shouldn't do. Going upside down with eye problems is not the ticket. For me even dog pose and uttanasana, though I can hold them briefly with some benefit, lead to an increased sense of pressure that does not feel right. My beloved poses like adho mukha vrksasana and pincha mayurasana are to be avoided like the plague until the drainage and sensitivity is gone.

I have found comfort in supported forward bends and restorative poses. Although head wraps and eye bags might be good for my condition, I am avoiding them because the idea of something foreign touching my eyelid feels wrong. Two poses that have been a boon are supported paschimottanasana and setubandha sarvangasana on a bench (photos below). It's great to make friends with a wide range of poses so, like arrows in your quiver, they are there when you need them.

Namaste and Happy Holidays,



Chad Balch